Borough Planning Committee U-turns on 'Women-only' Tower

Approval given after changes made including solar panels and e-bike charging points

A visualisation of the proposed building. Picture: Wood Lane Real Estate LLP/Women's Pioneer Housing/Alford Hall Monaghan Morris
A visualisation of the proposed building. Picture: Wood Lane Real Estate LLP/Women's Pioneer Housing/Alford Hall Monaghan Morris

November 14, 2022

A new tower block is set to be built in White City specifically for women. Women’s Pioneer Housing (WPH) has been granted permission to build 270 new homes across an 18-storey tower block and two seven-storey blocks on Wood Lane.

The “much needed” accommodation will only be available to women who cannot afford rent in the capital and WPH has spent four years designing the site.

WPH own around 1,000 properties across West London and was first set up by suffragists in 1920. The company aims to “challenge gender inequality and provide much-needed homes for women”.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s planning committee previously rejected the plans for the tower blocks due to the building’s height and the impact it could have on the surrounding area on Tuesday, October 11.

The meeting was held in public and part of it was live-streamed but much of the debate was lost due to a technical error.

WPH CEO Tracy Downie told the council there are over 600 single women on the housing waiting list in the borough and the new homes at Wood Lane would only be offered to existing residents in the area.

She added, “We specifically choose to develop in areas where women feel safe and increasing the homes in this borough is incredibly important to us.”

After it was initially refused, WHP amended their application to make the site more energy efficient, reduce its environmental impact and ensure lift wait times were shorter, among other minor changes.

The planning committee documents said, “On the basis of the clarifications and the additional information outlined in this addendum report, including confirmation that the applicant is prepared to make specific changes to the proposal in response to some of the proposed reasons for refusal……. officers consider the proposed development to be acceptable assessed in the round against the development plan as a whole.”

Examples of changes included adding solar panels on the roof, providing e-bike and e-scooter charging points in the basement, and putting in additional kitchen facilities.

The new project includes an 18-storey tower with 60 affordable flats, a workspace, a gym, a launderette and a roof terrace. The development wlll create 46 new jobs (24 in Hammersmith and Fulham) and pump around £1.6 million into the local economy through spending from the new residents, according to a report by an agent for the developer.

The flats will replace a block of 36 one-bed flats and WHP’s office building at 227 Wood Lane.

WHP previously applied for permission to build a 29-storey tower on the site with space for 80 apartments, offices and 350 shared living spaces in January 2020. But the plans were changed to make the building 11 storeys shorter after complaints about the height of the building.

Hannah Neary - Local Democracy Reporter