Transport for London staff car park at ‘Bat Corner’ turned down

Image above fox at the “wildlife reserve” in the Gunnersbury Park Garden estate

Local residents “delighted” with the outcome

LB Hounslow’s planning committee has turned down an application by Transport for London to make a bit of scrubland, described as a “wildlife reserve” on Princes Way in the Gunnersbury Park Garden estate into a staff car park with 65 spaces.

Residents near the site, known locally as ‘Bat Corner’ campaigned against it on the grounds that it had become a haven for wildlife over many years and the habitats were irreplaceable, but LB Hounslow planning officers recommended the development should go ahead.

Image above: LB Hounslow planning committee, Thursday 12 January

“Groundswell of opposition”

TfL’s environmental report claims the land is unused and effectively empty, but local residents, supported by environmentalists, told the planning committee on Thursday 12 January there was plenty of wildlife living there, including bats, birds and ground-dwelling animals such as foxes, and building a car park there would effectively destroy a ‘wildlife reserve’ and restrict biodiversity in the area.

Members of the Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate Residents Association sent in their objections to the committee. Chairman Richard Barden told The Chiswick Calendar there was a “groundswell of opposition from local residents.”

The Chiswick Calendar reported on the opposition to the car park plans on 2 January. An ITV journalist who reads our newsletter picked up the story and ITV sent a crew to cover it. ITV News broadcast a piece about it on 8 January.

Video above: ITV News, 8 January

READ ALSO: Planners recommend approval for TfL car park on ‘wildlife reserve’

The triangle of land used to be part of Gunnersbury Park. It was sold by the Rothschilds but there are restrictive covenances which apply, which affect how the land can be used. Heritage England named the site as a Heritage at Risk site and the Council declared it as official conservation area in 2018.

During the planning committee meeting local residents Stephen Peiris and Jonathan Elliott explained some of their key objections. The car park proposal was rejected by 9-1.

Image above: Stephen Peiris and Jonathan Elliott putting their case at the planning committee

The Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate Residents Association are delighted with this outcome and the preservation of this much-used green space as a habitat for local wildlife such as bats, Hedgehogs, birds and many other creatures” said Chairman Richard Barden.

This is not the first time the planning committee has turned down a recommendation from planning officers. In January last year they refused developers permission to build luxury flats on Hartington Rd in Chiswick, which has similarly become a haven for wildlife. In that case at issue also was how vulnerable the site was to flooding from the River Thames.

READ ALSO: Development of luxury houses at Hartington Rd turned down

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: 24-storey building at Chiswick Roundabout approved

See also: New diagnostic building at West Middlesex Hospital approved

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