Lobbying letters and latest news

The deadline for responses to Imperial College’s consultation exercise has now passed, but this need not stop local residents writing in with views on the proposed further buildings on the Woodlands site in Wood Lane.  The best people to email (while a planning application is awaited) are as follows.

John Anderson, Chief Executive of the College Fund at j.anderson@imperial.ac.uk

Councillor Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council at stephen.greenhalgh@lbhf.gov.uk

And the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson at mayor@london.gov.uk 

If you want  to send a message with objections to the proposals, these are points you may want to make.  More details of potential grounds for objection are under the planning context tab on this website:

  • A 34 storey 110m high tower of expensive flats which will forever blight the open western skyscape and encourage a cluster of other towers at Westfield and thence to Paddington
  • No affordable housing for local people
  • A development more dense than Paddington Basin
  • Which is 30% greedier in energy in construction and maintenance through its high rise design
  • Provides an ill conceived central square which will be overshadowed, wind blown and unsuited to ‘community use’
  • Is predominantly commercial with a hotel, private flats and business premises
  • Puts 2,500 extra people on the site, putting a strain on infrastructure (drains, sewers, air, water) and particularly the already congested traffic in this area.
  • Despite huge public objections at all planning stages and ‘consultation ‘exercises to date, the local objections have been ignored, and information has been misleading with use of ’visual assessments’ which do not give a true picture of what is already being built and what is planned for the next stage.
A copy of our October to the members of the Imperial College Council is on this site under Imperial College at this link

Our October letter to Hammersmith & Fulham planning department is posted under Planning Context at this link
The replies that we received do not answer our questions, and correspondence continues.  We are now expecting a planning application for Phase 2 of the development to be submitted in December, a month later than previously.  There will formal consultation period lasting several weeks and this will be the time when we will need to maximise a write-in campaign by local residents, registering their objections to the proposals.
More information on the discussions within the Imperial College Council, taken from recently published minutes of these meetings, is available under Imperial College


One tower leads to another…..

One of the main concerns of K&C residents has been that the proposed Imperial tower of 34 stories will swiftly be followed by planning applications for other very tall buildings in the area, each claiming that a precedent has been set.
Things are moving faster than expected.  LB Hammersmith and Fulham have recently advertised on their weekly list a planning application from Network Rail, who want to put up a 100ft advertising tower, beside the railway track between Latimer Road and the Woodlands site.  Consutation letters were due to go out on 10th October – but has anyone this side of the borough boundary received one?
If permitted by the council, this would join the ‘Tower of Terror’ built on land held by the Westway Development Trust.  Kensington and Chelsea council originally refused this application, but it was allowed by a Planning Inspector on appeal. 
Following a campaign by local residents, the council has committed to withdrawing the planning approval when it expires, in three and half years time.  We remain very clear that we want the ‘Tower of Terror’ to come down, and no more successors to follow it.  The Association will be making objections to Network Rail’s proposals.
Meanwhile, what will be Imperial’s reaction to the proposed second advertising tower, so close to their land?   If it gets built, future occupants of their expensive high-rise flats and their proposed hotel will be greeted with a view of not one, but two shimmering stuctures.  They will suffer (as local residents already suffer) huge illuminated images of David Beckham in his underpants, or M&S bra adverts, not once but twice over.
But if they choose to object to this new application, on what grounds will this be?   Unsuitable height (when a 100ft tower will be only a third of what they propose themselves)? Or light pollution, when their own grandiose proposals will create plenty of this?
One tower leads to another…. and the first who builds will find that their plans can come back to haunt them.
Residents living in the surrounding area who wish to object to the second advertising tower can email or write to H&F planning department (case officer Denuka.gunaratne@lbhf.gov.uk ) or find the application at  http://www.apps.lbhf.gov.uk/PublicAccess/tdc/DcApplication/application_detailview.aspx?caseno=LR7CNTBIGX000 and register an objection online.  It will only take a moment.

Feedback from Imperial’s consultation sessions

The four sessions held by Imperial are now over.   A brief summary of issues raised is given below.

The deadline for returning pre-paid forms (or sending emails) is 28th October, so there is still time to comment to pdimoldenberg@quatro-consults.co.uk

Please copy responses to sthelensassn@aol.com so that we have an up to date feel of local views.  Comments added to this website are also welcomed.

There were varying levels of attendance at the four consultation sessions, with the one at St Helens Church on Saturday attracting the highest numbers.  The exhibition material showed plans and elevations of the Phase 2 buildings, and the background to the development.

Main points raised by local residents were

  • height and scale of the proposed buildings – many people are still surprised and angered that a development of this kind should be proposed in what has hitherto been an area of low rise residential housing
  • no design concessions to the Oxford Gardens Conservation Area (e.g. stepping down of buildings as has been done onShinfield Street)
  • loss of views and open skyline to the west (the visual images provided by Imperial’s architects were questioned — see ‘views’ section on this website) 
  • will the proposed open space in the centre of the scheme prove an asset?  Is it really needed when Wormwood Scrubs is close by?  Will it feel truly ‘public’ or dominated by Imperial staff and students?   Why not trade off open space off for reduced building heights?
  • traffic implications.   Imperial point out that there will be fewer parking spaces than when the BBC had the site.  But that was before  Westfield opened and traffic levels on Wood Lane/North Pole Road increased greatly.  
  • overall intensity of the development, with an extra 2,500 people ultimately on site leading to increased pedestrian traffic through the surrounding streets and cyclists cutting through Eynham Road. 
  • potential noise and disturbance to nearby residents. 
  • concern about the consequences of the proposed underpass through to Oxford Gardens
  • extra demands on public transport (already seen as an issue in rush hours)  
  • pressure on infrastructure, especially drainage and sewers given the history of Chelsea Creek 
  • loss of privacy, daylight, sunlight in the Eynham Road area and nearer parts of Oxford Gardens Conservation Area  
  • precedental effect on development sites south of Westway (‘one tower leads to another…’) 
  • concerns over the architectural finish to the buildings
  • risks from contaminated land  
  • risks of wind tunnel effects from very tall buildings

Overall, there was anger that this consultation exercise felt like a waste of time.  There was no indication that Imperial or their architects were prepared to consider a serious rethink of the proposals.

This was pre-application consultation. Imperial College could (if it chose) revise their plans substantially before submitting a planning application for Phase 2 of the development.  If they stick to their present timetable of an application in mid-November, the timescale for revisions is very short. 

There will be a stage of formal consultation on the application, once submitted.  Local residents will have a final opportunity to give their views.  On Phase 1, over 50 people wrote in to the council, along with this Association and the Hammersmith Society.  Our views made no difference to the outcome.   This time we will need many more residents to make their feelings known.



Latest campaign news

Imperial’s consultation sessions

Imperial College are holding a series of public consultation sessions, from October 6th – 10th on their plans for the Woodlands site in Wood Lane W12.   Please be aware that the consultation leaflet circulated by Imperial does not give the full picture of what is proposed.   The proposed Phase 2 buildings include a hotel and 34 storey residential tower, alongside large 11 and 12 storey academic buildings (the Phase 1 buildings under construction are 10 storey).

These sessions are part of the formal ‘pre-application’ consultation process.   A planning application for Phase 2 of the Woodlands development (ImperialWest campus) is due to be submitted in mid Novermber 2011 to the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, as planning authority.

The dates and locations of the consultation sessions are as follows:

Thursday 6th October 11am-5pm and Friday 7th October 2pm – 8pm at The Common Room, Women’s Pioneer Housing Association, Du Cane Rd

Saturday 8th October, 1pm – 5.30pm (proposal presentation at 3pm) at St Helens Church Hall

Monday 10th October, 12 noon-8pm, at The Harrow Club, 187 Freston Rd

It is very important that as many local residents as possible make known their views on these proposals, either by attending the sessions or by completing the Freepost form on the Imperial College Update circulated to local households.   More details of the ‘Fight the Height’ campaign being undertaken by the St Helens Residents Association are on this website.

Second meeting between St Helens Residents Association and Imperial College

A second meeting was held on September 20th between John  Anderson (Chief Executive of the Imperial College Fund), Imperials’s architects and consultants, and members of the St Helens Residents Association.

A copy of the minutes can be found here

Imperial’s architects have made some minor modifications to the elevations of those buildings that will be seen from Oxford Gardens.   But there has been no reduction in the proposed height of the residential tower on the south-western corner of the site, which stands at 34 stories (over 100 meters).   The academic buildings in Phase 2 are also planned to be higher than the 10 storey postgraduate blocks, already visible from the St Quintins Estate.