Massive development near Chiswick roundabout approved despite objections

A massive development proposed for the B&Q site near Chiswick Roundabout has been given the go ahead by LB Hounslow planning committee.

Given approval on Thursday, 2 December, the ‘Fourth Mile’ when completed, will comprise of 234 flats, a 197 room hotel, a ‘technology showcase’ building and a new public square.

There will be five buildings in the development, linked by a three-level podium and arranged around a public square (Hudson Square) in the centre.

The ‘technology showcase’ building will extend parallel to the A4 and elevated M4 alongside the western boundary. Three main blocks stretching from east to west and would be eight, nine and ten storeys high respectively.

A 12-storey hotel building will be located in the southeast towards Chiswick Roundabout, with this forming another side of the square. There will also be three residential blocks that are located at the east and northeast part of the site facing Gunnersbury Avenue, with these forming the other two sides of the square. These will be two 12-storey and one 13-storey residential blocks of which 40% of the units contained would be classed as ‘affordable’.

Between 15-25 technology companies are expected to occupy the showcase building, including new entrants into the market. The applicant, Reef, says that the hotel is a key part of the overall scheme, supporting anticipated business conferences and tourist demand.

CGI rendering of Hudson Square from the developer

Critics attack development’s height and environmental impact

The application received various objections regarding the the height and mass of the building, which will be visible from a number of conservation areas and listed buildings including Strand on the Green and Gunnersbury Park. The latest design reaches a maximum of 13 storeys high, lower than an earlier proposal for the site which was 17 storeys high.

The West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society criticised the ‘scale, height, and density’ of the proposed development’, claiming it was ‘far too high’ and would impact local heritage sites, as well as leading to an increase in air pollution locally.

Hounslow Green Party’s planning spokesperson, Tony Firkins, claimed that the embedded carbon of the building and development could exceed two and a half times the Council’s CO2 current emissions, which would breach Hounslow’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.

After the plans were approved, Stephen Clark, the Green Party candidate for Brentford West in 2022’s local elections, said:

“The Council were unduly impressed by the promise of a so-called ‘Technology Showcase’ – a very vague scheme without any apparent backing from educational institutions or businesses. It’s a vast expenditure of money and carbon for an uncertain return.”

Image above: CGI showing how the scheme would appear from Gunnersbury Cemetery

‘Some harm’ will occur to Chiswick’s conservations areas

Hounslow planners acknowledged in a report, prior to the development’s approval, that there would still be ‘some harm’ to the Strand on the Green Conservation Area and Gunnersbury Park Conservation Area and Cemetery, even though the plan as passed is lower than the original.

Addressing various criticisms prior to the development’s approval, Hounslow planners said:

“Taking all these matters into account, and balancing the benefits of the development against the harm, approval is recommended, as positive social, economic and environmental impacts would outweigh the harmful effects of the development.”

The developers say that the scheme will lead to 1,500 jobs and apprenticeships with in excess of 2,000 jobs during the construction stage.

The development is anticipated to be completed in 2025/26.

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