Council Postpones Vote on Imperial "Folly" on Wood Lane

Campaigners fighting plans for 35 storey tower claim "real success"

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Campaigners fighting plans by Imperial College to build a 35 storey tower on Wood Lane - a plan they have dubbed Imperial's Folly - are claiming victory after Hammersmith and Fulham Council postponed plans to consider the planning application.

The application will not now be considered until at least mid May - after the crucial London Mayoral Election on May 3.

The proposed tower is part of the Imperial West development being built on the former BBC Woodlands site.

The campaigners say: " We learnt this week that Hammersmith & Fulham Council will not be considering the Imperial West application at their 11th April Planning Applications Committee.   The decision has been postponed until mid May at the earliest.

" This is a real success for the growing campaign to persuade Imperial to change their plans.  The postponement is likely to have been triggered by the GLA '‘stage 1' report on the scheme.  This found that the proposals do not conform in all respects with the 2011 London Plan, and that changes are needed.  Boris Johnson has also asked that the height of the 35 storey tower be reviewed.

" So thank you to all those who have written in to Boris and to Sir Edward Lister to protest about the present proposals for Imperial West.  The campaign is having a real effect.

" Imperial College will be very unhappy at the delay, not just because of extra costs but because this disrupts plans to have building work underway and the rest of the site in a reasonable state before postgraduates arrive in the autumn to occupy the student housing blocks.  But we did warn them over a year ago that they should not dismiss lightly the views of residents living around the Woodlands site.

" The College was very keen to get the decision made this side of the London Mayor elections, to take advantage of 'the favourable planning environment' (their term) in which a Conservative-led H&F Council and GLA have been giving the scheme every encouragement.  The new GLA report still strongly supports the scheme as a whole,  but had to acknowledge areas of non-conformity with the London Plan.  

" The position now is that by the time the Mayor takes a decision on the application at ‘stage 2′, it may not be Boris who is Mayor."

The campaigners also add: " Potential over-development and tall buildings in H&F will now become a lively issue in the electoral campaign, for Mayor and for the London West Central seat.  

"The campaigns against the riverside development at Hammersmith Town Hall, the Earls Court/West Kensington controversy, the Westfield 2 proposals, concerns over the Helical Bar proposed ‘twin tower’, as well as Imperial West, are all likely to feature in the Boris v Ken tussle."

Imperial College London says it is developing a new campus on the old BBC Woodlands site in Hammersmith, just south of the Westway. Currently known as Imperial West, the new campus will be a mixed use development, combining research and teaching space with postgraduate accommodation, new homes and retail and leisure uses.

March 23, 2012