Disquiet on the Riverbank

Developers unveil plans for a �landmark� building on the riverside by Kew Bridge

Residents have voiced concerns that Kew Garden�s bid for World Heritage status will be made vulnerable by plans to build a high rise building on the opposite banks of the river. The proposed plans were revealed by the development company St George�s at a meeting on 10th April of Brentford Community Council for an eleven storey construction containing 256 residential flats.

The plans are to be developed on the site of the old Scottish Widows building adjoining Kew Bridge. Originally the developers had wanted to erect an 18 storey building which prompted wide spread local opposition. Research ordered by the Council found that a building of such stature was not appropriate and would not contribute to an area that boasts a number of fine examples of listed buildings in addition to the internationally renowned Kew Gardens.

The research also recommended that a limit be set for prospective developments of no more than eight stories in height however it should be noted that these were only recommendations and not binding. The St. George�s project is planned to be 11 storeys high with the top two levels being for �penthouses�.

Brentford is, at present, undergoing an extensive rejuvenation programme with wide-ranging schemes for new housing and commercial premises. Its enviable riverside location and proximity to attractions such as Kew Gardens makes it an appealing place to live and work. Inevitably with land at such a premium developers will look to exceed planning constraints however, St Georges to not believe they have.

Reservations have also been voiced by English Heritage and the Grand Union Community Development (formerly Brentford Regeneration Partnership) with regard to the increase in traffic the new building will create.

English Heritage are eager that the site be developed to �successfully celebrate its extraordinarily fine riverside location whilst protecting or enhancing the acknowledged special architectural, historic and landscape interest in this part of Brentford.''

April 25, 2003