Plans for a pair of twin residential towers in Chiswick have been submitted, promising to see the development of a long empty site alongside the elevated M4 in west London.
Galliard Homes has proposed the 32 and 25 storey towers, which would rise from a podium office block on the triangular site that abuts the M4 and the North Circular Road just off the Chiswick Roundabout. The development would deliver 320 homes, of which 96 are proposed as affordable.
The site, which belongs to London & Bath Estates, has seen many abortive attempts at redevelopment over the last 15 years. In 2000, a 26 storey development called The Pinnacle was proposed, but was withdrawn after being called in by the Secretary of State. In 2002, The Citadel, a 13 storey office development also designed by Livesey O’Malley won approval after referral to the mayor, with conditions satisfied in 2008. Officially, work on site did commence, so the project remains a live permission. Then, in 2012 the Octopus office development, designed by Make, received consent. The design was shrouded in a structure containing LED lights, that would potentially have created a massive billboard alongside the heavily trafficked route.
Named Chiswick Curve, the latest proposal was submitted by Galliard subsidiary Starbones, with DP9 as planning consultant. “Whilst the development consists of only one structure, however the architectural language enables the building to be read as having multiple facets and varying heights, creating visual interest through its ever-changing sculpted design,” say the applicants of the design by Studio Egret West.
The design of the facade mixes vertical and horizontal fins, wedged balconies and opaque panels on the north elevation. Noting the previous approval of a substantial advertising hoarding around the exterior of the Octopus, the project proposes an advertising wrap around the five floors of office podium.
Homes are a proposed mix of studio, one, two and three bed units, with over 40% being one bed flats. Communal external spaces are provided on floors 5, 25 and 32, with the highest amenity space proposed to be open to the public on ten days a year as a viewing platform.
The site is part of the Kew Gate area, one of four identified in Hounslow’s Golden Mile masterplan, which is being worked up currently, to help dramatically improve an area stretching west from the Chiswick Roundabout along the A4. Speaking last autumn, as architect Will Alsop was commissioned to provide designs for a key site, Hounslow Council leader Steve Curran commented: “We have an ambitious vision for a strategic regeneration of the Golden Mile, making it fit for 21st century working and living. We welcome high-profile architects like Will Alsop bringing forward imaginative design and strong investment in our borough.”
LPA Perspective: In the 15 years since the site owners first tried to develop out this site with a tower, there have been many more developed in the mile or so to the west of this site, alongside the elevated M4; so much so, that the Chiswick Curve will barely make an impact on travellers heading into London.
The scheme appears to have plenty going for it, and few causes for objection. The question remains as to whether Galliard, which likes to pre-sell its apartments wherever possible, will hop on a plane to Hong Kong and persuade off-plan buyers to purchase, rather than offer locals the opportunity to buy.
The only other issue at hand, is whether Hounslow planners see this project as clashing with their vision of the Golden Mile redevelopment masterplan. Bearing in mind the site’s long standing as a derelict chunk of land, it would be churlish of them to turn down an opportunity to, finally, see something get started.