Chiswick Curve Decision To Be Challenged in High Court
|Developer claims Secretary of State's refusal was illegal
Starbones, the company behind the planned 32-storey development at Chiswick Roundabout, is taking action in the High Court over the blocking of their scheme by a Minister.
James Brokenshire, who was the Secretary of State at the Department of Local Government and Housing, overruled the Planning Inspectorate’s decision to allow the scheme earlier this year. The inspectorate had in turn overruled Hounslow Council’s planning department who had rejected the plan.
Starbones claim that the Secretary of State’s decision is unlawful because he “failed to have regard to the relative impact on heritage assets of either the implementation of an existing planning permission, or the development of the Site in accordance with the Second Defendant’s (Hounslow Council) emerging policy for the area”. They say the Minister did not give due reasoning for rejecting the Inspector’s recommendation on this matter.
The existing planning permission referred to is for the Citadel which was approved for the same site back in 2002. This could now be considered as a fall back option and Starbones say it would have a more severe impact on local heritage assets because of the design.
In addition they say that the Minister failed to give weight to the requirement in the plan for increased provision of housing and affordable housing. The Secretary of State said that ‘limited weight’ should be given to the DRLP, the plan which increased the Council’s housing requirement to an average of over 2,000 dwellings per annum and identifies the Great West Corridor as an Opportunity Area.
The development Chiswick Curve would be a mixed use building of two towers, one 32-storeys and one 25-storeys, that would contain up to 327 flats.
After rejection by Hounslow Council an appeal was made to the Planning Inspectorate and Paul Griffiths held a 15 day inquiry in June 2018 at which he concluded that the proposals complied with the development plan for the area. He said, ‘the Chiswick Curve is a quite brilliant response to the difficult problems presented by the immediate context of this site.”
The inspector noted that the Council had published a Local Plan Review for the Great West Corridor which conceded that buildings of up to 65 metres in height could be appropriate at this location providing a landmark for the eastern gateway to the area.
The Chiswick Curve from Strand on the Green
It was also noted that ‘implementable planning permission’ was in place at the site for the Citadel tower which was 60 metres tall and this might be viewed as a fall back option. Originally it was deemed to be non-viable but it was proposed that it could be made viable by the addition of advertising hoardings. No payments would be need to be made to the local authority or the Mayor’s Community Infrastructure Levy is this scheme was revived.
The Inspector said that concerns about the impact on the views over the area particular across the Strand on the Green conservation area would already be affected by planned developments in the area including the Brentford Stadium development and the Citroen site at Capital Interchange Way. He added, “it would be far better for that stratum to be properly articulated, and designed, and for there to be a clear hierarchy, and a ‘marker’ on the appeal site.”
With regard to Kew Gardens he said, “the idea that Kew Gardens can be completely ‘protected’ from further visual intrusions of the city beyond is a battle that has been fought and lost.”
The Secretary of State disagreed with these conclusions on the basis that the harm to heritage assets such as Strand on the Green, Kew Gardens, Gunnersbury Park and the Kew Green Conservation Area outweighed any benefits provided by the scheme.
At this point it is not known when this appeal will be considered by the High Court.
September 3, 2019