Hounslow Pushes for a Golden Renaissance for the A4

Needs to support light industrial as well as global landmarks


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Hounslow’s regeneration of the Golden Mile will gather pace if proposals to link nearby rail stations to the HS2 and Cross Rail at Old Oak Common are approved by the Government. 

Proposals to link the Hounslow loop to the proposed west London rail hub will have huge benefits for the Golden Mile stretch of the Great West Road, which is home to major blue chip multi-nationals such as BSkyB and Glaxo Smith Kline. 

Speaking at a business conference held at Hounslow this week, and hosted by Hounslow Council, Cllr Steve Curran cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “If we can get our plans to connect Brentford, Syon Lane and Hounslow rail stations to HS2 and Cross Rail agreed, it will make the Golden Mile even more of an attractive location for business.” 

The conference included contributions from Harvey McGrath, Deputy Chairman of the London Enterprise Panel, Nick Green of BSkyB, Angus Michie, Managing Director of Berkley Homes Urban Renaissance, Mary Harpley, Chief Executive of Hounslow Council, and Debbie Jackson, Assistant Director - Regeneration from the Mayor of London’s Office.  

Urban Initiatives consultant director Kelvin Campbell described an exciting range of projects that could be delivered along the 2.25 mile-long stretch of the A4, now dubbed the Golden Mile:

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  • Sky Line - an overground route from Southall to Chiswick Park via BSkyB's headquarters, on existing rail infrastructure, using a DLR-style shuttle.
  • Golden Link - making use of existing links from the Great West Road to Old Oak Common to connect Hounslow to HS2.
  • Boston Boardwalk - travelators or walking routes, perhaps even  a cable car, linking Chiswick Park to Boston Manor.
  • Improving a range of links to create a strategic network and make routes more coherent.

"Hounslow has always been a focus for London's blue chip companies but the single biggest issue has always been the saturated road network and poor provision of public transport," Campbell added. "A lot of knowledge and skills from the Chilterns and along the M4 corridor find it difficult to get here."

Suzie Betlem, President of Brentford Chamber of Commerce commented: "While we support the regeneration of the Golden Mile and the potential transport development, it's imperative to retain existing business and provide land space for new small and medium scale light industrial and manufacturing companies.

"We need to create more employment potential to balance the growth in residential development. Companies such as Brompton Bicycle and Octink amongst many other established smaller companies, need room to grow.

"It's vital to make available plots of land off the A4 that don't command the frontage to these small enterprises. The state of the Allianz and Mille buildings demonstrate the lack of need for generic office space and have been somewhat redundant for a number of years. We deplore the use of invented descriptions of existing areas like Kew Gate, and North Gate and wish to celebrate Brentford".

Kelvin also identified key opportunity areas along the Golden Mile, including "Kew Gate", near Kew Bridge Station, which could become "London's next Earl's Court" using Brentford Football Club's new stadium as a catalyst, although the name did not go down well with Brentford businesses present.

Christine Doel, director of research consultant SQW Group, noted that of the borough's 176,000 working age residents, only 40,000 worked in the borough; and of the 127,000 people working in Hounslow, the vast majority were attracted in from elsewhere by major businesses such as GlaxoSmithKline, Brompton, BSkyB and others.

Cllr Curran added: “Brentford is buzzing with regeneration plans and the local football club is riding high. We also have one of the country’s largest ever infrastructure investment projects with £800 million being pumped into revamping our roads and pavements across the borough.”

Slides from the event are available in a 75MB pdf here.

February 19, 2014

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