White City's Twin Towers "Will Destroy Skylines across West London"

Anger from residents as H & F planning committee approve 2nd tower on Wood Lane

Local residents have accused Hammersmith and Fulham Council of destroying Shepherd's Bush's skyline, after the Planning Applications Committee rubber stamped plans for a second high rise tower in White City on Tuesday March 12.

The 32 storey tower is part of Brickfields, a development by Helical Bar and Aviva on the former Dairy Crest site on the east side of Wood Lane.

This site is adjacent to Imperial College's campus Imperial West, which was given the go ahead last year by both the council and London Mayor Boris Johnson and includes an even higher 35 storey tower.

Last week the Mayor and Hammersmith and Fulham Council Leader, Cllr Nick Botterill were among guests at an event showing off Imperial College's Vision for Imperial West

Residents who have fought a long battle against Imperial College's plans have dubbed the two buildings the Twin Towers.

The residents, let by St Helens Residents Association, have issued this statement about the two proposed developments:

" Imperial College has been promoting in recent days its new 'research and innovation campus' at White City. While this big development may help London’s economic growth, it is not all good news for those that live in the area.

" The development includes a proposed 35 storey tower, of mainly private housing, christened last year by the Evening Standard as the Poor man’s Shard.

" The building will destroy skylines across West London. As predicted, one tower leads to another, and developers Helical Bar have now got planning approval to a second 32 storey tower, on their next door site on Wood Lane.

" These two towers will be as tall as Trellick Tower, and in an area of West London which currently has nothing approaching this height.

A long campaign by local residents failed to stop approval by Hammersmith & Fulham coun-cil to the Imperial West development, or even to reduce its height. Since the council ap-proved the planning application, the College has received a £35m government grant of extra public money for the scheme.

" The College has not answered questions on how this extra public money will be used, and why it cannot lead to more affordable housing or reduced building heights inn the scheme. Nor will it reveal what profit the College is making from the development as a whole.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has pushed through a series of planning decisions on major developments in White City, before there has been statutory public consultation on the White City Opportunity Area Framework.

" So far, Boris Johnson has endorsed these decisions, and developers remain keen to get their schemes through the system in what they see as a fa-vourable political environment. After Borough elections in 2014, there may no longer be Conservative leadership at Hammersmith Town Hall as well as at City Hall."

Chair of the St Helens Residents Association Henry Peterson adds: " Short of a successful legal challenge, the twin towers are coming to White City. A once in a lifetime opportunity to rebuild this part of London on a more human and sustainable scale will have been lost. Residential land values continue to drive the greed of developers.

" It is not even that these towers will provide many real homes. Estate agents Savills estimate that with new build apartments in this part of London, 37% are used as a second home and 27% for investment purposes and not lived in. Up to 70% go to overseas buyers, so great are the current distortions in the London property market.

These towers will destroy the skyline and stand as monuments to a planning system and housing market which is doing nothing to meet the needs of ordinary Londoners."

The Helical Bar/Aviva plans for the former Dairy Crest site on Wood Lane are for a mixed use development including 1,150 housing units, with building heights from 8-32 storeys.

The Imperial College proposals for the former Woodlands Site at 80 Wood Lane, London W12 includes office buildings, a 35-storey residential tower and a 13-storey hotel, along with the Colleges new research and innovation hub.

March 13, 2013