CHRAG and Lend Lease – meeting notes

Below are minutes from CHRAG’s meeting with Lend Lease about the current plans for Empire House, Chiswick High Road.

Thanks to Paul Dimoldenberg for putting these together.

Minutes

Meeting:  Chiswick High Road – Design Principles Community Consultation
Date:  21st May 2014 at 19:30
Location:  Chiswick Town Hall
Attendees:  Adam O’Neill  (AON)Marie Rabouhans (MR)
Rebecca Frayn (RF)

Colin Aldridge (CA)

Chris Chauncy (CC)

Nick Atkinson (NA)

Gerald Smith (GS)

Janet Kidner (JK)

Susie Wilson (SW)

Hazel Cameron (HC)

Loren Trauberman (LT)

Paul Dimoldenberg (PD)

Vice Chairman WCGSChair WCGS

Chair Friends of Turnham Green

CHRAG

WCGS member and Acton Green Resident

WCGS and community member

WCGS

Lend Lease (LL) Project Director

Lend Lease Head of Community Development

Lend Lease Assistant Development Manager

Assael Architecture

Quatro Public Relations

 Distribution:  As above, plus:

Conor McCormack                       Lend Lease

Richard Cook                               Lend Lease

Pete Ladhams                              Assael Architecture

Taniem Mueen                             Quatro Public Relations

Gareth Jackson                            Quod Planning

Chris Jones                                  Plinke

Chris Elliot                                    Vectos

 

 Next Meeting:  Monday 2nd June at 19:30 at 424 Chiswick High Road

 

 

Item No. Item Date
1.0 Purpose of meeting was to offer a preview of what will be shared at the public exhibition, to get comments and views on the initial thinking at the design principles stage and to see what is important to the community  Note
2.0 JK opened the meeting with introductions and an overview of Lend Lease company.  Note
3.0 Dates for the public exhibition in 424 CHR are 5th, 6th and 7th of June, and flyers will be distributed and adverts placed in the local papers and websites.  It was suggested that the Acton and Ealing community groups are made aware of the consultation dates.  Quatro
4.0 The plots that are to be developed are Empire House and the 7no retail units, Essex Place car park, Acton Lane car park and Essex Place adopted highway (area within red boundary line).  Market area and highway leading past Bikram Yoga is not included.  Chiswick Terrace is not part of the development, although the boundary wall along Essex Place is. Access will be maintained for Chiswick Terrace and the boundary wall will be enhanced to improve the immediate area  Note
5.0
  • LL will look to improve Essex place highway and public realm.  As an adopted highway, this will be maintained by Hounslow Borough Council.  It won’t be blocked off or made private, but LL are looking to create a more pedestrian feel with landscaping and improving the boundary with Chiswick Terrace.  Sainsbury’s delivery entrance will remain.
  • MR would like improved landscaping to the area.  Extant permission on site involves felling of more than half of plane trees but it would be preferable for any removed trees to be replaced with mature trees and the area made greener. Trees will be introduced that are more suitable to the area and to increase biodiversity.
  • MR suggested that, as the area was at one time used for orchards, apple trees could maybe be considered.
  • MR would like better access for cycles down EP as this is a problem with parked cars.  Dedicated cycle parking will be provided for the retail units and residential units.
  • There will be minimal parking as it is an accessible area PTAL 6a, covered private parking on the ground floor of Essex Place and Acton Lane is mostly for disabled spaces but the scheme will promote a car free environment in line with policy.  Cycle storage and Zip car club will be incorporated.
  • It was confirmed by LL that a transport consultant is appointed and is producing a transport assessment and travel plan.
  • Townhouses may have permits for parking depending on agreement with Hounslow Borough Council.
  • MR suggested that consideration in the transport assessment should be given to the Brentford stadium development that will be completed before spring/summer 2016.

 

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Plinke/LL

 

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LL

6.0
  • A team of consultants are employed on the project including daylight and sunlight, ecology and heritage, multidisciplinary engineers, landscape architects.
  • From heritage photos, displayed in the meeting, Essex Place had residential buildings and the plan is to incorporate some of the heritage features from the surrounding area into the design.  Input from the community would be valued.  Materials and characteristics already used in the area, such as red and buff brick and stone, will be considered during the design process to incorporate into the proposed development.
  • AON suggested looking at the Amy and Navy store as a successful refurbishment project which is a large brick building in a low rise area.

 

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Assael/LL

7.0
  • There’ll be approximately 150 units in total for the development, with around 75 on Empire Tower, between 40 and 50 units on Essex Place and around 20 on Acton Lane, but this is under design development. The proposed development will be residential with retail remaining in the existing units.
  • Empire Tower won’t be demolished but the facade will be replaced to be more in keeping with its surroundings.  Plant on the roof will be removed, and penthouses included predominantly within the existing mass.
  • Quod to review and comment on whether the allocation in the Local Plan is for a hotel in Empire Tower, although Hounslow has approved the change of use to 62no residential apartments.
  • AON thought the base of the building on a podium currently makes it look fat and squat.  Assael explained that they are looking to ‘ground’ the building to look more elegant and less heavy on a podium. AON felt a strong base would be a benefit providing a top, middle and bottom.
  • Additional dual aspect units on the ‘wings’ of the tower are proposed by LL, with an additional 2 levels on the west compared to one on the east
  • RF asked about extra height on the ‘wings’ but LL confirmed it would be no higher than the pub and will be in line with the character of adjacent buildings.
  • All facades will be replaced, taking into account the interface with the adjacent pub. LT confirmed that the design principle will be for the Empire Tower to have its own identity as this will be the entrance for the apartments, although it will still be in keeping with the adjacent ‘wings’.
  • MR concerned about the effect of poor air quality on Chiswick High Road on residential apartments.  Assael stated that specialist consultants are carrying out air quality and noise assessments.
  • RF queried contemporary frontage of residential above the retail.  LT said that it would be simple without decoration of old features, but there may be stone features to reflect those that were included on Empire Theatre.
  • AON suggested incorporating a gym for residents on the ground floor, but space will be used for plant, bin and cycle storage and may not be possible.
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Quod

 

 

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8.0
  • Essex Place proposals to include townhouses to reflect those that previously existed.  Townhouses were considered a positive feature.
  • LT stated that the three floor townhouses will produce an active street frontage, with the larger adjacent building set back to avoid a ‘canyon’ effect.
  • Essex Place building will be set away from the Sainsbury wall, with plant positioned on the ground and first floor and residential fronting on these levels.
  • MR raised concerns that Essex Place would not result in a quality building due to constraints on daylight and sunlight and noise. Sainsbury’s deliveries are mostly at night and this will be a constraint for residences along Essex Place.  The development will be designed taking all surveys and constraints into consideration and it won’t be as high as Empire Tower. Concerns were raised on height due to ground and first floors being used predominantly for plant and service provision and whether Essex Place will be as tall as or taller than the tower.  Consideration will to be given to how it would look from the Essex Place highway.
  • Dewsbury Crescent built in early 20th Century on Chiswick Road was considered an acceptable maximum height.  Duke’s Gate was felt to be a building with sympathy for its surroundings, incorporating an archway to beyond providing permeability, built in brick.  WCGS thought offices would be a more suitable use of Essex Place due to constraints imposed by Sainsbury service yard.  However, the proposed development is for residential/retail to extend a community and reinvigorate this end of Chiswick.
  • LL are exploring proposals for the height of Essex Place.  A further meeting will be held on 2nd June at 7.30pm to give more detail on building designs.
  • AON suggested covering over the service yard, but it was highlighted by LL that this is a large area and is unlikely to be possible.

 

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Assael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9.0
  • A strong opinion was that the retail shops should be in keeping with surrounding area.  Very modern plate glass and lots of bright internally lit signage is disliked e.g. Metro Bank and Foxtons.  Assael are looking at bay windows, keeping proportion of the high street so the units remain largely the same as they currently are, with the addition of awnings.
  • Community input on retail is sought by Lend Lease.  It was thought by CA that small and big shop frontage dimensions work, but medium size does not.

 

 

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10.0 MR highlighted that there is an amenity space deficit in the area and is concerned that there will be greater pressure imposed on usage.  HC explained that green roofs would provide amenity space for residents on the wings on the tower for residents to utilise, along with green roofs on the other buildings  Note
11.0 Verified view 02 was shown by Assael.  It was felt by community groups that they didn’t want to see Essex Place building from Turnham Green. Assael said verified views of the whole site will form part of the planning application and are giving consideration from all angles.  Note
12.0 As the development borders onto Ealing borough and Chiswick Park underground is within this borough, it was suggested by MR that contributions should potentially be considered to the Ealing Council.  Hounslow Borough Council have raised this with Lend Lease and will be investigated   

LL

13.0 JK said LL are looking at options to improve the area of Essex Place up to the market area but as this is out of the development area, research is being carried out to identify the owner and it is not part of the current plans.  Note
14.0 Sainsbury’s are being involved in consultation and have already been contacted by Lend Lease  Note
15.0 JK gave broad dates on construction.  The programme is to submit for planning in summer this year, with construction commencing (dependant on planning decision date) early in New Year 2016 and completion Spring/Summer 2016.  Note
16.0 MR has highlighted three areas that need to be retained, but all are outside the development area  Note
17.0 LT requested to find out the height of the Empire Theatre relative to Empire Tower Heights of tower, Sainsbury’s and proposed buildings to be provided in metres by LL LTLL

 

 

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