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SimpsonHaugh scraps approval for Chiswick Roundabout tower

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The Manchester-based practice became the latest architect to secure planning permission for the 0.28ha site, which lies south of Gunnersbury Park, after Hounslow Council’s planning committee approved the scheme by seven votes to five last week (January 12). .

The plan follows four previous attempts to build on the site dating back to 1998: two plans by LOM Architecture, standing at 26 storeys and 13 storeys, Make’s ‘Chiswick Octopus’ scheme and Studio Egret West’s 32-storey plans for the ‘Chiswick Curve ‘ ‘.

SimpsonHaugh’s plan, called Holly House, will create 252 homes and £586m.2 office and retail space on its lower levels and public realm improvements around the site. The homes will be 32 per cent. affordable.

Councilors approved SimpsonHaugh’s design on the condition that vertical ‘conservatories’ were included. This followed an environmental impact assessment which found the scheme would have better air quality if the gardens were added.

A separate entrance to the social and private homes was also contested at the meeting.

But the committee heard that the separate entrance for affordable social tenants would be ‘of the same quality design as the market segment’ and was requested by the future social housing provider to make the homes easier to manage.

Planning officers at Hounslow Council recommended the scheme for approval, acknowledging that ‘damage [would be] caused by the determination of various heritage assets’, but adds that ‘the substantial public benefits… outweigh this harm’.

Historic England told planners it appreciated the ‘significant reduction’ in the height of the 90m Holly House to the previous 120m Chiswick Curve plan, but argued: ‘The proposed building would still cause significant harm.’

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However, Hounslow planning officers said that ‘a number of developments had recently been approved for the Chiswick area’ at a similar height and that Holly House is an improvement on the previous Chiswick Curve plans as it is eight storeys shorter.

Chiswick Curve plans for a 32-storey, 327-home scheme by Studio Egret West were thrown out by former communities secretary James Brokenshire in 2017 after a successful appeal.

Historic England said, among others, that the Chiswick curve would have ‘intruded into views and dominated precious historic sites’ and nearby Kew Gardens.

Councilors on Hounslow’s planning committee acknowledged the difficulty of finding the right solution for the site.

Makes’ Chiswick Octopus, a 50m tall office building enveloped in an LED shroud, won approval in 2011 before being shelved by the developer three years later.

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