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.

 

 

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