Image above: the approved 20 and 11 storey towers
Two tower blocks of 20 and 11 storeys will reshape the landscape of Bollo Lane
In a recent planning meeting held on 19 October, two new developments have been given the green light, promising to reshape the landscape close to Bollo Lane. The proposed developments, set to bring a mix of residential and commercial spaces, have been approved to address the growing demand for student accommodation in the South Acton area.
The first of these developments is a striking 20-storey tower block, soon to be built on the corner of Stirling Road and Colville Road on the former Chiswick Auctions site. Designed by architects Hawkins Brown, this structure will boast 429 purpose-built student flats, along with light industrial spaces at the lower levels.
Residents will have access to a rooftop garden, shared social spaces, a gym, a cinema, and a games room. While towering, this building will not surpass the nearby Bollo Brook House development, which will reach 25 storeys when completed.
The second approved development involves the demolition of the two-storey industrial buildings at 67-81 Stirling Road. In their place, an 11-storey residential building named Bollo Yard will be built.
This project, also designed by Hawkins Brown, will include 95 flats, with 38% of them classified as ‘affordable housing’. Additionally, the building will provide light industrial and warehousing space on its lower floors, fronting Bollo Lane.
The planning application for these developments highlighted a significant increase in the number of students living in the South Acton area, a staggering 48% growth since 2015. It was argued that purpose-built student accommodation was lacking in the vicinity, and these new developments would help reduce the reliance on privately rented housing for students, freeing up housing for local families.
Image above: CGI of the Bollo Yard development
Occupation of student units not permitted until affordable housing built and ready
A similar design was granted planning permission in April, but without the residential portion in the taller tower designated for students.
Joel Holland Turner of the planning department presented the findings during the meeting, asserting that these developments featured well-designed buildings that would elevate the local area. He also agreed with the developer’s assertion that student accommodation was in short supply in the region.
Not all were in favour of the new developments. Neil Sheppard, an objector, argued that the buildings’ height was incongruent with the Acton Gardens Master Plan, which advocated building heights in keeping with local structures, most of which are around six to eight storeys tall. He also raised concerns about the insufficient local facilities and infrastructure to support an increased population.
On the developer’s behalf, Harry De Lotbiniere explained that the proposed changes were necessary adjustments to a scheme approved in 2021, as economic, technical, and regulatory changes had rendered the previous plan unfeasible.
He emphasised that the application was part of the broader Hawkins/Brown masterplan for the area, aiming for a phased mixed-use redevelopment of the surrounding region across 10 sites. De Lotbiniere underscored the urgent need for student accommodation, revealing that there were currently five students for every student room in the borough.
Councillors were assured that couriers delivering to the development would be instructed to avoid using Bollo Lane, as it was a busy road.
The committee voted in favour of approving the scheme. But it was determined that occupation of the student units would not be permitted until the affordable housing units were completed and ready for occupancy.