Hounslow Council expresses ‘significant concern’ over future of Treaty Centre

Image above: Treaty Centre in Hounslow

New owners criticised for neglecting the shopping centre, as retailers abandon it

Hounslow Council has expressed ‘significant concern’ over the management and future of the Treaty Centre, the retail and community hub in Hounslow town centre. Hounslow town centre is designated a ‘Mayoral Housing Zone’, with 4,000 new homes being delivered between 2015 and 2025 and redevelopment of the shopping centre is a major part of the plan.

The ‘vision for Hounslow’ includes new leisure, cultural, community spaces and workspaces that ‘will make Hounslow a more desirable place to live and work’, but in an unusually public move, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, Cllr Tom Bruce, has issued a statement criticising BYM Hounslow Limited, the new owners and operators of the Treaty Centre, accusing it of overseeing the decline of the shopping centre.

Originally opened in the 1970s, the shopping centre it has been the economic heart of Hounslow town for decades. Built on several levels, the Centre hosts a variety of retail outlets, including many of the well known high street chains such as Next, H&M, River Island and Wilko.

Complaints from retailers and the public about a lack of security, maintenance and cleanliness have meant that retailers are beginning to leave and seek alternative premises.

“The community is quite rightly concerned about the future of the Treaty Centre. It should be an integral part of a thriving high street and local economy with businesses and community organisations providing goods, services and employment for local people”, says Cllr Bruce.

“Moves to secure vacant possession of the centre by the new owners and operators seem premature and risks harm to the town centre economy. I urge them to speed up their plans to regenerate the Treaty Centre”.

Cllr Tom Bruce

 ‘Little has been done to reassure the Council that the current operation and planned redevelopment of the Treaty Centre supports the businesses and community of Hounslow’

Cllr Bruce’s statement says:

‘We have expressed significant concern with BYM Hounslow Limited, the new owners and operators of the Treaty Centre, over the future of the shopping centre and their redevelopment plans.

‘Despite meeting with representatives of BYM on several occasions throughout the summer and autumn this year, little has been done to reassure the Council that the current operation and planned redevelopment of the Treaty Centre supports the businesses and community of Hounslow.

‘It is deeply concerning that a halt in meaningful pre-application engagement with the Council has coincided with an apparent decline in the operation of the centre with increased complaints about a lack of security, maintenance and cleanliness and retailers beginning to leave and seek alternative premises.

‘The community is quite rightly concerned about the future of the Treaty Centre. It should be an integral part of a thriving high street and local economy with businesses and community organisations providing goods, services and employment for local people.

‘Moves to secure vacant possession of the centre by the new owners and operators seem premature and risks harm to the town centre economy. I urge them to speed up their plans to regenerate the Treaty Centre.

“While regeneration of the centre poses a fantastic opportunity for the town centre and could realise a host of benefits including providing vital new homes for local people; I have always been clear that development in this borough does not happen for the sake of development.

‘It must always be right for the community and unlock the full potential of the area, creating thriving and sustainable neighbourhoods. We are keen to actively work with any developer that shows this commitment.

‘The Council has expressed these specific concerns directly with Directors of BYM Hounslow Limited and urged them to swiftly re-engage in pre-application discussions to deliver a realistic timetable for development.’