Councillors at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham have postponed discussion of the planning permission for the new “Imperial West” campus for a second time, following the case officer taking unexpected leave. This follows on quickly from a recent High Court judgement that found that the Borough acted unlawfully in a planning application for the redevelopment of Shepherds Bush Market.
The new campus is to be built on the location of the BBC’s former Woodlands offices, now vacated. Nearby properties include Television Centre (also to be sold) and the new Westfield shopping centre.
The Planning Applications Committee was due to meet on 13 June to discuss the proposals, though with this meeting cancelled it is likely the next opportunity for the proposals to be discussed is in July or beyond. The application was previously due to have been considered in April.
Criticism of the site has been mounting; with a group of residents forming the St Helen's Residents Association having been a driving force behind the campaign. The Member of Parliament for Hammersmith, Andy Slaughter, has also written a letter to the Borough’s planning department in March being highly critical of the plans, saying many of the buildings proposed in the plans “will be an oppressive presence in a neighbourhood of traditional two-storey houses in a conservation area”. This is in addition to a report by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who objected to the “height, bulk and design” of three of the proposed buildings (including a 35 storey tower).
This delay only affects “Phase 2” of the Imperial West project, which includes teaching and research facilities. “Phase 1”, which consists of postgraduate accommodation and demolition of the existing BBC buildings, has already been approved, and construction is expected to complete in August.
A new date for the planning committee meeting to discuss the proposals has not yet been set, but a date of 10 July is the earliest possible that one can occur.