Brentford Chamber Met with Essential Living
Where do you house a temporary supermarket in Brentford?
Essential Living are the developer who have bought the land currently occupied by Morrisons. Last week they met with the executive of Brentford Chamber of Commerce to hear about their priorities for the area. It is refreshing to talk to a developer about options for a site before plans have been firmed up and there is little left for negotiation.
Essential Living is a developer and operator of private rental homes in the UK. Unlike many developers they retain and operate their buildings, investing long term in the areas they develop. They currently have three schemes on site in Archway, Bethnal Green and Maidenhead. They hope to submit a planning application for the Brentford site by the end of the year.
The intent is for the site to have a supermarket, apartments for rent, possibly additional retail units (for independents), as well as public open space. Car parking will continue to be provided for the supermarket, and a car club for residents will be encouraged. Essential Living are in dialogue with Morrisons as to whether they wish to stay.
A prime concern expressed by Brentford Chamber was that Brentford should not be without a supermarket for the construction period. The development site is relatively small so it could be very difficult for a temporary supermarket to be provided throughout the construction period. Any practical suggestions would be gratefully received as Essential Living are keen to come up with a solution. The height of the development was also raised.
Brentford Chamber also expressed concern that these flats may not be affordable. At Essential Living’s Greenwich site, 25% are available at discount market rents to people in full employment, with candidates put forward by the council. They are distributed among the site without the ‘poor doors’ frequently used in mixed residential developments. Any such arrangements could be made here as part of S106 agreement with the council.
Adam Shailes, MD of Red Routemaster said “we have a problem recruiting staff as none of them can afford to live locally and developments like these don’t help resolve the issue. Brentford also suffers from a lack of commercial spaces where people go to work rather than commute”.
Suzie Betlem, President of Brentford Chamber said "We welcome the opportunity to discuss proposals with Essential Living at this early stage of development, and the intent to hold public consultations before designs are finalised. We firmly need a temporary solution so that we don't lose a supermarket in Brentford and made our concerns clear. While we appreciate having flats for rental rather than sale we are concerned that local people will still not be able to afford them. We would welcome a discount market rent scheme similar to that used in Greenwich that is managed to ensure that Brentford benefits first. Additional retail units would enhance the site but priority must be given to local businesses".
Matt Lamb, Development Manager at Essential Living said: “We appreciated the opportunity to listen to members of the local business community in Brentford. We will undertake a detailed public consultation process over the next few months to ensure that residents have a chance to input into our proposals as they develop. We hope to meet other community organisations over the next few weeks to gain an understanding of their priorities.”
May 4, 2016