Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s planning applications committee gave the green light for the £150million regeneration scheme, from King Street Developments Hammersmith Ltd (KSD) – a joint venture between Helical Bar plc and Grainger plc, at a meeting on 12th November.
Subject to verification by the Mayor of London the planning approval now paves the way for KSD to regenerate the area around and including the ugly town hall extension with a new cinema, new public spaces, shops, homes and offices.
The package of improvements includes: 196 high quality new homes; a three-screen community cinema, to be operated by Curzon; new retail, restaurant and cafe space; replacement offices for the council and a new town square.
The Grade-II listed town hall will have its former ceremonial stone steps reinstated to link up with the new public piazza while the replacement council offices will be built to the west of Nigel Playfair Avenue. KSD will also provide £5.25 million towards a regeneration fund to boost the surrounding area and refurbish the Grade-II listed town hall, which was built in 1938.
A previous development, which included taller buildings, was referred to the Mayor of London but then withdrawn in December 2011. None of the new buildings in the new scheme will be taller than the current town hall extension. The council received just eight objections to the development and a further five responses in favour during the consultation.
Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council Leader, said:
“We listened to residents and ditched the less popular elements of the previous scheme and I now believe we have a scheme that Hammersmith can be proud of. It’s been hard work but we finally have a plan that will kick start the much needed regeneration of the west end of King Street. The developers can now get on with the important work of breathing new life into this rather rundown area.”
If the project had not received planning approval taxpayers would have been hit with a bill of around £18 million to move council staff temporarily while the extension was brought up to standard. The new modern building is expected to save around £150,000 in reduced energy costs and the council is retaining the freehold of the land.
David Walters, Development Director at Grainger plc said:
“We are delighted with the decision of the planning committee. This is a fantastic opportunity to deliver nearly 200 new high quality homes designed by local architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands in the setting of the handsome listed town hall and in the centre of Hammersmith, with its excellent transport links and proximity to the Thames.”
On the retail and cinema aspects of the proposals, Helical Bar plc Director Matthew Bonning-Snook said:
“We are very excited to be introducing a new Curzon cinema to Hammersmith complemented by new retail and restaurant space as well as a landscaped public piazza. This will create an environment people will be proud to live, work and dwell in, and will contribute to putting King Street firmly on London’s cultural map.”
Meanwhile further along King Street the Lyric is currently building a two-storey extension behind the theatre to house state-of-the-art facilities. The Kings Mall shopping centre is enjoying a renaissance as high-profile new shops like H&M open and a modern new look entrance is built and aluminium cladding fitted. Hammersmith Grove’s nine-storey office block has opened and its 11-storey counterpart, to create new student accommodation on the site of the former Hammersmith Palais is starting to take shape. 1,000 new jobs are also set to be created in the old Access Self Storage building opposition Brook Green when ‘customer science’ specialists dunnhumby move in from 2016. The council is also mid-way through a feasibility study to explore options for replacing Hammersmith flyover with a tunnel. The final report is due to be presented to TfL, who own and manage the A4, in March 2014.
Cllr Botterill continues:
“Hammersmith is being reborn before our eyes with a series of once in a lifetime regeneration projects that will contribute to the future prosperity and vitality of our town centre.”