Kew Bridge development appeal rejected

Back to drawing board as scheme slammed as badly designed

Full text of letter explaining reasons for rejecting St. George's appeal

Architects drawing of plans)

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Local residents' groups are celebrating the news that an appeal against the rejection by local planning inspectors of a major scheme to develop a site at Kew Bridge has itself been rejected. The scheme, proposed by developer St. George’s on the Scottish Widows site, was condemned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as badly designed and inappropriate for the area.

The application was for a mixed use redevelopment of 238 residential units, (including 97 affordable units), 1,965 sq m of retail/commercial floorspace, 170 basement parking spaces and access from Kew Bridge Road, public piazza and improvements to Thames Path to provide new boardwalk and wetland/flood storage area .

The enquiry concurred with the planning inspector's view that the proposals, as they stand would be harmful to the Kew Bridge Conservation area. However, this decision leaves the door open for the submission of revised plans for the site which is the plot to the right as you travel towards Kew over Kew Bridge.

The response noted the support of Mayor Ken Livingstone for the plans but pointed out that a revised scheme could provide a similar boost to housing stock without being as unsuitable as the existing one.

It was also recognised that the scheme would have caused 'substantial harm' to the Strand on the Green Conservation area and said that in general there was little understanding shown of the river's character or use. It was concluded that the scheme would urbanise the river frontage. The piazza which was presented as a centre piece of the original design was deemed likely to be a 'rather gloomy place' and 'not a pleasant place to sit out' due to lack of natural light.

Councillor Barwood , ward Councillor for Chiswick Riverside praised the commitment of local people to protect their environment saying, "This appeal was very strongly supported by a wide range of residents. The Strand on the Green Association was very prominent, but many other groups and individuals put in long hours at the hearing and devoted extensive efforts to researching and preparing their evidence. Planning Appeals are not for the faint-hearted."

A letter from an officer at the ODPM explaining the decision states, "Given the very few physical constraints and excellent opportunities the site offers, the quality of the design of the appeal scheme would fall very far short of what could reasonably be expected for the site and would cause considerable harm to the Kew Bridge Conservation Area and further harm to other conservation areas, listed building settings, the World Heritage Site and the riverside. "

The developer is likely to be submitting revised plans for this site following this decision.
Councillor Robert Kinghorn said, "We will be working with residents in scrutinising any new proposals, it would be wonderful to receive one on which everyone could agree, so that this area would come into use, in a way that would safeguard our amenities,?"

March 14, 2006