Minister Gives Green Light for Watermans Relocation

Permission granted for development of riverside flats

Police Site
Visualisation of the new Watermans


Planning Committee Approve Watermans Arts Centre

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What may be the final roadblock in the way of the relocation of the Watermans Arts Centre has been removed following a decision by a Minister to allow the development of flats on the riverside.

The scheme to construct 193 flats on the site of the centre and the former Max Factor offices received planning permission from Hounslow Council in 2018. The land is owned by Hounslow Council and the development by London Green has been dubbed ‘Albany Riverside’. However, it was called in by the Secretary of State following objections from Historic England over the visual impact the building would have on Kew Gardens due to the height and massing.

Albany Riverside will be arranged over three blocks. It will be 6-7 storeys high and there will be 33 car parking spaces.

A virtual inquiry was held in October of last year and on 31 March the minister informed Hounslow Council of his decision to allow the scheme to proceed. This will mean the existing arts centre will be demolished and moved to a new location on Half Acre in Brentford on the site of the former police station. 105 flats will also be built at this location in a seven storey high block. This building will have no parking other than two on-street disabled bays.

The affordable housing component of the scheme would be provided at the Half Acre site with the total provision across the two sites at 20%

Albany Riverside
Albany Riverside

In a statement the Watermans says, “We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a step change in what we can offer: to create an inspiring artistic and social hub for West London, with Brentford at its beating heart. The proposals for Watermans’ relocation are not simply about a new building but about the kind of arts and creative scene we want in this area for the future.

“The opportunity is to deliver a world-class arts centre that will put Brentford on the cultural map, ignite its economy and inspire its residents, as well as the visitors we attract from around West London. We have a vision for a venue that will simultaneously present an inspiring, high-quality
artistic programme, and be Brentford’s living room, a community hub underpinned by Watermans’ continuing ethos of inclusivity, diversity, humanity and a welcome to all.”

The new centre will have a larger theatre, two cinemas with a large gallery to enable film festivals to be hosted as well as space for a café/restaurant. The total space of 2,776m2 will be approximately equivalent to its current size.

Watermans added, “We recognise that there are concerns in the community about Watermans moving to a new site, such as losing the river views and car park. But we must look to a sustainable future for Watermans that allows us to keep pace with changing audience expectations and to provide a truly world class arts centre for Brentford. “

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April 6, 2021

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