RBKC oppose Imperial West proposals

The Royal Borough’s Planning Applications Committee on April 3rd discussed the planning application for Phase 2 of Imperial West.  Councillors came out strongly against the proposals, and the officers report to the committee was critical of several aspects of the plans.

The committee report can be seen here.   A copy of this will have gone to Hammersmith & Fulham as the planning authority for the application.  How much notice LBHF councillors will take of it remains to be seen.  But it should have at least some influence, and will add to pressure on the next Mayor for London to review the scheme at Stage 2 of GLA consideration.

RB Kensington & Chelsea operate an independent Architectural Appraisal Panel.  This looks at proposed major developments affecting the Borough.  This Panel has also reviewed the Imperial West application, and its report can be seen here 120314_AAP_Report.

The Panel on this occasion was chaired by distinguished architect Will Alsop. Its members were not impressed by the quality of design for the scheme, saying that ‘there was no attempt at placemaking and promoting a built form that felt it was part of a university campus’

We would strongly support the Panel’s views that ’the proposal was more the result of a commercial masterplan’ and that ‘overall… there was more to be done to overcome the sense that much of the development was not university related’.

We have asked Imperial College for the opportunity to attend the next College Council meeting, to try to persuade College Council members that they could come up with a far better set of proposals.  If the College is willing to lower its commercial expectations for the site, to reduce mass and height, and to plan a coherent set of buildings with the genuine feel of a university campus, then there would be a chance of creating a real asset for this part of London.  If nothing changes, we remain of the view that Imperial West will prove a ‘Folly’ for decades to come.

Residents may have noted a feature in last Friday’s Evening Standard magazine, reflecting on the number and size of current commercial developments in West London.  This included comments on the Imperial West proposals, as the ‘most contentious’ of current applications.  It shows that we are not alone in thinking that the scheme will be dominated by what looks like ‘a rather dated tower block’.  The whole article can be found here.

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