Drill House plans recommended for approval

Image: Drill Hall in Chiswick

Planners recommend approval for proposals

A proposal for alterations to the historic Drill Hall in Chiswick appears likely to receive approval.

Last year, an application (P/2023/2880) was submitted to Hounslow Council to repurpose the Drill Hall on Heathfield Terrace.

The nineteenth-century building stands adjacent to a former warehouse and is known as the Independiente building, as the name of the record company which was once based there is still visible on its facade.

Constructed circa 1892, the building holds local listing status and is part of the Turnham Green Conservation Area. Internally, it features a single-storey configuration with a double-height hall space showcasing vaulted ceilings.

Situated south of Turnham Green, the site has remained vacant for some time and the refurbishment work has been hidden from public view by tall hoardings. The planning proposal seeks to refurbish and expand the premises, intending to accommodate office spaces tailored for creative industry start-ups.

Sergison Bates Architects has developed the proposed alterations on behalf of Exelenz Ltd. The plan includes a basement extension, a slight elevation of the roof, removal of rooflights, and the felling of a tree in front of the property. Additionally, the redesign includes the installation of a new sign above the main entrance bearing the inscription ‘The Drill Hall’.

Image: Inside the building from the planning applcation

Objections addressed in application

Seven objections have been raised against the proposal, citing concerns over harm to a listed building, loss of outlook, view, and light, as well as the removal of the tree.

Following an assessment by Hounslow Council planners, they concluded the removal of rooflights offset the increased building height, and that the tree identified for removal was showing signs of decay. A report endorsing approval will be presented to councillors at a planning meeting in the near future.

Originally serving as the headquarters for the 1st Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps, the Drill Hall was designed for military drills and exercises. Over the years, it hosted various military units, including the Territorial Army and the Home Guard, alongside community events such as dances and concerts.

During World War II, the site functioned as a storage facility for the Royal Air Force. Subsequently, it was utilized by Chiswick Polytechnic and the Chiswick Arts Centre. In the 1980s, the building fell into disuse until a restoration effort in the early nineties, spearheaded by Independiente, transformed it into a soundproof recording studio.

While planning permission akin to the current proposal was granted in 2018, work was halted due to the pandemic.

Hounslow Council’s planning website will be inaccessible for search and comment functions between 3 May and 15 May. Consultations and review timelines are extended by up to two weeks to facilitate this transition.