Tesco/Homebase Inquiry Hearings Delayed Until September
Heritage expert witness not available until that time
The sessions of the public inquiry into the Tesco/Homebase development that were to look into the heritage issues raised by the scheme will now not take place until September.
This is because an expert witness that was due to give testimony is not available. Therefore sessions that were due to take place this week will now be held provisionally on 26-28 September and closing statements will be presented on Friday, 30 September.
Other sessions in the inquiry are continuing this week but the heritage sessions which were due to take place from 21-23 March did not take place. Roundtable discussions about public transport, roads, infrastructure, environmental aspects, character and appearance, housing mix and living conditions have continued. Next week a number of site visits are taking place.
The updated inquiry timetable is available online.
The Osterley and Wyke Green Residents’ Association (OWGRA) says it feels that the hearings have gone well for them so far in what it describes as a ‘David vs Goliath’ contest with opponents of the scheme not having the legal resources available to its supporters.
On the fourth day of the hearing last Friday (18 March) OWGRA presented its only expert witness, Mike Spence, an independent consultant in photo visualisation (PV).
He told the inquiry that it appeared that much the PV submitted by the applicant was produced with inappropriate lenses, tripod and positioning, without geographic software, and not following current guidance. He had produced his own 3D aerial imagery which showed the dramatic extent of the development. He dismissed the assertion in the Townscape Visual Impact Assessment (TVIA) that, apart from during construction, any impacts would be beneficial or neutral and focused on the so-called ‘Canaletto View’ – the view of Syon House from across the river at Kew – showing that the views submitted by the applicant minimised the mass of the development rising above the roof line of the House. He defended this assertion when it was queried by the QC representing the applicant saying that there was limited or no evidence regarding the applicant’s methodology. The applicant’s two PV consultants were not present at the Inquiry to defend their technical methodology.
A discussion of the trees planted in Syon Park followed concerning the extent to which they would screen views of the development.
If the inquiry decides in their favour the applications would see 16 tower blocks built with the tallest 17 storeys high. These would include over 2,000 flats and are expected to increase the population of the area by over 6,000.
There were over 800 objection received to the proposals and over 4,000 people signed a petition asking the Mayor to block the application which he declined to do.
March 25, 2022