Neon Advert For Brentford Towers
Skyline for sale, roofs for rent
The Sustainable Development Committee last week approved controversial plans for illuminated advertising on the top of Boulton House.
This was despite numerous objections from civic amenites and a recommendation of refusal from the planning department who said
"The proposed advertisement would be harmful to the appearance of Boulton House and would have a significant adverse impact on the regeneration, character and appearance of Brentford, as well as the setting of a number of significant and important local, national and international landmarks. The proposal would have a significant adverse impact on amenity. Refusal has been strongly recommended."
Readers may also remember a complaint back in January that the residents' consultation was arranged far too speedily to be of any use.
Marie Rabouhan, vice-chairman of West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society, attended the meeting and wittily comments as follows:-
"Roll up, roll up, its bargain time in Brentford’s closing down sale – everything must go. You are already too late for any planning policy – that all went last night. Never mind, Brentford will soon be even more brilliant – lit up like a brothel. On Thursday 14 June, Hounslow’s Sustainable Development (Planning) Committee approved the installation of illuminated signage on the top of Boulton House, one of the six 65 metre (23 storey) residential tower blocks in Green Dragon Lane. These buildings are owned by the Council and managed by Hounslow Homes. This decision was taken (6:5) despite objections from several local residents groups, English Heritage, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the London Borough of Richmond and from individual residents and despite the planning officer’s clear recommendation for refusal.
"Paris is apparently the town planning role-model – the advert-strewn blocks of the northern approaches were invoked by the developer as an appropriate model for Brentford. I was not aware that the banlieue of northern Paris was known for engendering a sense of place. What next you may ask - why not an M4 by-pass snaking above the Thames from Kew to Windsor?
"Apparently the M4 and the Golden Mile are to be the defining features of our borough used to set the context and character of all neighbouring areas. Any building that can be seen by motorists travelling on the M4 is an “appropriate” site for placing illuminated advertising. Perhaps one of the six towers on Green Dragon Lane could advertise itself “Hounslow Homes –nice places to take Ad-vantage of”. It certainly gives a new meaning to Affordable Housing. If it is necessary in these difficult economic times to derive income from these towers, why not install solar panels – a truly sustainable solution?
"My plea to the Committee on Thursday evening emphasised the harm that permitting illuminated signage on one or more of the tower blocks would do to the character and visual amenity of sites within the borough and further afield. These included sites of London-wide, national and international importance -including the World Heritage Site of The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Such signage would compromise the regeneration of Brentford and of Gunnersbury Park - two of the important regeneration projects currently being undertaken by the Council. I concluded by saying “The London Borough of Hounslow has the good fortune to enjoy a wealth of natural and architectural assets including those associated with the River Thames. This richness should be celebrated and the potential of these assets harnessed in order to retain and, wherever possible, increase the Borough’s attractiveness for residents, workers and visitors alike. It is thus vital for the Borough to protect these assets from damage by inappropriate development.” My plea fell, alas for us all, on ears more attuned to the siren song of advertising revenue. "
June 22, 2012