ĎItís gold, itís crass, itís out of placeí

West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society unhappy with Hounslow Council's approval of 'Octopus' on Chiswick Roundabout

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How can Hounslow Council’s Sustainable Development Committee justify a decision that not only flies in the face of current policy but that would also undermine its emerging vision for the future?

Thus speaks the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society which has written to Hounslow Council concerning the decision reached by the Sustainable Development Committee (SDC) on Thursday 27 October 2011 with respect to the proposed development on land at Chiswick Roundabout at the Junction of Gunnersbury Avenue and Great West Road (the development dubbed the “Octopus”)
Look back to the plans

WCGS believes that the decision is contrary to the Council’s own planning policies, those of the London Plan and national planning statements. As far as the future is concerned, the London Borough of Hounslow’s Preferred Core Strategy (the subject of recent consultation) includes objectives relating to the promotion of local character, reducing carbon emissions, promoting and improving green spaces and heritage assets.

The Society believes that, if the development is allowed to be built, it will have a severe negative impact on the quality of life of local residents (in terms of well-being, environment, amenity, local character and sense of place) and on the neighbouring heritage assets and green spaces of Gunnersbury Park and Gunnersbury Cemetery. WCGS is supporting the current regeneration project for Gunnersbury Park being managed jointly by the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Ealing. One of our committee members, Marie Rabouhans, met in Parliament recently with local MP Mary Macleod and Angie Bray, MP for Ealing who endorsed the efforts of the groups involved . http://www.chiswickw4.com/default.asp?section=info&spage=common/congunnsprk033.htm

How will the “Octopus”, a massive, permanently-lit, alien intrusion pay respect to our heritage or enhance our enjoyment of this beautiful green space?
The power generation system for the development will add to air pollution (by
 increasing nitrogen dioxide levels). This part of London already has “shokingly” low air quality. http://www.chiswickw4.com/default.asp?section=info&page=eair007.htm

Siting such an unsustainable, energy-demanding, permanently lit construction in this prominent location will seriously damage the reputation and green credentials not only of Hounslow and London but of the UK more generally. Over 40% of the energy needed to run the building will be for the LED lights of the media screens and the rest of the shroud.
 What message will this give? According to Kim Gottlieb, managing director of London and Bath Estates ‘It’s bold it’s brash it’s in your face’. http://www.hounslowchronicle.co.uk/west-london-news/local-hounslow-news/2011/10/28/octopus-building-at-chiswick-roundabout-gets-green-light-109642-29680564/

Another interpretation might be ‘It’s gold, it’s crass, it’s out of place’. The Society is adamant that neither of these messages is one we wish to communicate about London in the 21st century.


November 15, 2011