Save Our Skyline - Residents concerned about King Street Redevelopment

News

WORK TO BEGIN IN SECOND HALF OF 2015 - Thursday 28th November 2014

For more details - Hammersmith Today

PLANS APPROVED - Thursday 17th April 2014

For more details - Hammersmith & Fulham Planning Portal

PUBLIC EXHIBITION - latest designs by architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Hammersmith Town Hall, Kings Street, Hammersmith, W6 9JU

Thursday 21st March 2013, 3pm-8pm, in the Playfair Room
Saturday 23rd March 2013, 10am-2pm, in the Courtyard Room

Please try to attend the public exhibition, where architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands will be exhibiting the latest designs proposed for the King Street Regeneration Project.

The submission of a planning application to London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham is expected in the summer, so we are keen for as many people as possible to go along and comment on the designs.

COUNCIL BOWS TO PRESSURE TO REDESIGN TOWN HALL SCHEME - Tuesday 24th July 2012

Save Our Skyline is delighted to announce that Cllr Nicholas Botterill, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, announced yesterday that the Council would be revising the proposed scheme for the redevelopment of the Hammersmith Town Hall site, following pressure by local community and amenity groups including SOS.

In a press release issued on 23 July 2012 by the Council, it stated: "the old proposals - which were worked up with King Street Developments Ltd (KSD) - will now not be pursued, Cllr Botterill said the council and KSD have 'listened and learned' from the opposition to the previous scheme."

Cllr Botterill went on to say:

"We got it wrong with the previous King Street proposals and we have learned from it. We guarantee the tallest buildings in a new scheme will not exceed the height of the existing town hall extension."

Save Our Skyline welcomes this change of approach from our Council and that Cllr Botterill is showing a willingness to address the serious concerns that the community had raised in respect of this scheme. While the height and density of the scheme were not the only concerns raised, this new commitment is clearly a significant and positive change of approach.

We look forward to a constructive dialogue at an early stage on the details of any future scheme. We hope that the views of our supporters will be taken into account in the development of new plans.

John Jones, Chair of Save our Skyline, commented:

"We thank the community for the incredible support that they have shown this campaign and strongly hope that this announcement will presage a more constructive dialogue with the Council for the benefit of the Borough and its residents."

FUTURE OF TOWN HALL PROPOSALS STILL UNCERTAIN - Tuesday 1st May 2012

As of 1 May the Council has still not submitted the Stage 2 application to the Mayor of London which is necessary before the Council-approved scheme could go ahead. The future of the scheme will depend not only on the outcome of the Mayoral election on 3 May but also the outcome of the Council's own leadership election on 30 May at the Annual Council, when the present Leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh will stand down.

Save Our Skyline has asked all five Mayoral candidates for their response to the Town Hall scheme should they win the election. We have, however, been advised that it would be difficult for the main candidates to respond as this leaves the GLA open to legal challenge (on grounds of predetermination) if the scheme is resubmitted once they are elected.

BORIS REFUSES TO APPROVE TOWN HALL SCHEME - FOR NOW - Friday 16 December 2011

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson told Council chiefs he would not let the plan go ahead because it breached planning rules. Subsequently, Hammersmith & Fulham Council withdrew the application.

This proposal caused much anger in the community and I am glad that common sense has prevailed. We must protect historic buildings, green space and the views of our great city. I am sure the Council's decision will be welcomed in Hammersmith and beyond.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

This means that the Council's application is still live and could potentially still be referred back to the Mayor at a future date but for now the application is on hold. We will keep supporters informed of any change to this situation.

Well done and a BIG thank you to all those who have supported Save Our Skyline throughout this campaign.

SAVE OUR SKYLINE PROTEST AT CITY HALL - Wednesday 14 December 2011

Save Our Skyline held a protest at City Hall on the morning of Wednesday 14 December to call on the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to use his planning powers to block the scheme.

Joined by Vanessa Redgrave the demonstrators were assured by Deputy Mayor for Planning, Sir Edward Lister, that their demands would be placed before the mayor later in the day.

Following the protest, Save Our Skyline understand that "The Council has withdrawn the stage two referral concerning the application". There is much speculation regarding what this actually means.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council have refused to comment.

There's an urgent and basic right and need to know precisely what has been decided by Hammersmith & Fulham Council since the Deputy Mayor of London met with a delegation of borough residents in front of City Hall yesterday morning. Sir Edward Lister listened attentively; a courtesy and responsibility which the Council do not appear to give to their borough residents.
Vanessa Redgrave

SAVE OUR SKYLINE VIDEO RELEASED - Friday 10 December 2011

We have produced a video containing comments from some of those opposed to the scheme.

REVISED TOWN HALL SCHEME APPROVED AT PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING

SOS COMMITTED TO CONTINUE FIGHTING DEVELOPMENT

30 November 2011 - At a Planning Applications Committee meeting held by Hammersmith and Fulham Council at Latymer Upper School today, the Committee granted planning permission to King Street Development's proposed scheme for the redevelopment of the Town Hall area.

This permission was granted in spite of huge opposition from local residents, including over 1,000 letters of objection from individuals, and objections from 38 local residents' associations, heritage and statutory groups, including English Heritage and the Greater London Authority, and over 8,500 signatures to petitions opposing the scheme and calling for the retention of the cinema.

Residents found support from Lucy Ivimy, the Conservative councillor for Ravenscourt Park, who accused her colleagues of pushing for the scheme only because of their 'wish for new offices'.

Read the full transcript of Lucy Ivimy's speech:

          

PAC members who voted FOR the scheme:

PAC members who voted AGAINST the scheme:

SOS and other groups will continue to fight this scheme, requesting that the scheme be blocked by the Greater London Authority or called in by the Secretary of State.

John Jones, Chairman of SOS, said:

"While we are tremendously frustrated and disappointed by the decision of the Planning Applications Committee, we are hardly surprised. It only serves to demonstrate the arrogance of this Council and the inherent conflict of interest in the Council having power to grant itself planning permission for such a controversial scheme. We will continue to ask the Secretary of State or the GLA to use their power to block this flawed scheme and stop the very real damage that it will wreak on Hammersmith and the historic riverside. We call on residents to maintain the pressure by writing to the GLA and the Secretary of State to make their views known.

"In short, this is a disgraceful deal, which shames Hammersmith and is particularly galling as all the Councillors that approved it live in Fulham!"

What to do now...

Write to the GLA asking them to block the scheme, and the Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, to ask for him to call in the scheme:

Giles Dolphin
Head of Planning Decisions, Policy and Partnerships Directorate
The Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen's Walk,
London SE1 2AA
giles.dolphin@london.gov.uk

The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London
SW1E 5DU
eric.pickles@communities.gsi.gov.uk

» To see a list of points you may like to raise in your letter click here.

Don't forget to state clearly that you oppose the plans, and be sure to give the planning application reference numbers in your letter:

  • Main Planning Application Reference: 2010/03465/FUL
  • Listed Building Consent Planning Application Reference: 2010/03466/LBC
  • Conservation Area Consent Planning Application Reference: 2010/03467/CAC

Please email a copy of your letter to us at isupport@saveourskyline.co.uk

Donations sought to fund campaign

We promise that all funds collected will be used for the purpose of fighting this proposed redevelopment. We have established a Paypal button on the SOS website through which you can donate money to the campaign - you reach it through the button on the bottom right hand side of the website.

Alternatively, if you wish to make a direct donation, SOS's bank details are as follows:

  • Bank details: NatWest Marylebone High St Branch
  • Name: Save our Skyline
  • Sort Code: 60 09 15
  • Acct No: 73090174

PLANNING APPLICATION COMMITTEE MEETING TO DECIDE ON TOWN HALL SCHEME

Wednesday 30 November 2011, 7pm at Latymer Upper School, 237 King St, London W6 9LR
The meeting will be held in the main hall, located just behind the entrance gates on King Street.

Please come to show your support. This is our last chance to show the Council the real strength of feeling in the community. Please note that members of the audience will not be able to speak at the meeting. However, a packed hall will show the Council that they are under the spotlight, and indicate the importance and sensitivity of the project to the Greater London Authority and the Secretary of State.

The Planning Committee members that will make the decision.

These are the Planning Committee members that will make the decision on Wednesday 30 November 2011. Please come to the meeting to show them the real strength of feeling in the community.

Chairman
Councillor Alex Chalk
Party: Conservative
Ward: Addison
alex.chalk@lbhf.gov.uk
Vice-Chairman
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler
Party: Conservative
Ward: Fulham Broadway
victoria.brocklebank-fowler@lbhf.gov.uk
Councillor Colin Aherne
Party: Labour
Ward: Wormholt and White City
colin.aherne@lbhf.gov.uk
Councillor Michael Cartwright
Party: Labour
Ward: Hammersmith Broadway
michael.cartwright@lbhf.gov.uk
Councillor Oliver Craig
Party: Conservative
Ward: Town
oliver.craig@lbhf.gov.uk
Councillor Rachel Ford
Party: Conservative
Ward: Fulham Broadway
rachel.ford@lbhf.gov.uk
Councillor Peter Graham
Party: Conservative
Ward: Fulham Reach
p.graham@lbhf.gov.uk
Councillor Wesley Harcourt
Party: Labour
Ward: College Park and Old Oak
wesley.harcourt@lbhf.gov.uk
Councillor Andrew Johnson
Party: Conservative
Ward: Fulham Reach
andrew.johnson@lbhf.gov.uk
Councillor Alex Karmel
Party: Conservative
Ward: Munster
alex.karmel@lbhf.gov.uk

PUBLIC MEETING - Tuesday 27th September 7pm

The meeting was very well-attended, with between 250-300 in the course of the evening - standing room only in the church. Many had not attended previous meetings.

SOS chair John Jones introduced the meeting with an overview of what was to be discussed: the revised plans for the Town Hall scheme, and their impact in terms of height and density, public space in Furnivall Gardens, heritage, cinema, retail and the blind, elderly and low-income tenants of the Pocklington buildings. He stressed the need to write letters (templates for which were provided).

He reviewed the Council's original brief, and also recalled Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh's stated objective of making Hammersmith "open for business" and pro-development. There are currently three major developments under consideration along the river bank, from the Town Hall's 290 residential units, rising to fifteen storeys, to Fulham Reach's 744, rising to nine. In view of which, perhaps a better slogan than "Putting residents first" would be "selling us down the river"... He also pointed out the huge value to developers of the river view from the Town Hall site. However, the developers' initial plans attracted fierce opposition: English Heritage and four other national conservation groups, some 29 local conservation groups and residents' associations, and over 700 individual letters. High-profile objections included actors, artists and broadcasters, as well as local MPS Andy Slaughter and Zac Goldsmith.

Local resident Nick Bastin then looked at height and density: significantly greater than any of the surrounding buildings and out of scale and sympathy with the streetscape (predominantly 2-4 storeys), completely overwhelming the 1938 Town Hall. A series of before-and-after pictures taken from the planning application showed views from the river, from Ravenscourt Park station and from the western and eastern approach along King Street. An intermediate view from Ravenscourt Park station showed how little had materially changed from the original October 2010 application to the revised August 2011 version. Mr Bastin stressed that Save Our Skyline weren't against any and all development, and referred to four alternative schemes developed by local architects (three of which have been costed) to prove that the current scheme is by no means the only, the most imaginative or the most community-centred approach.

Local resident Rajeev Chopra then examined the effect on Furnival Gardens, showing the park as many of us know it, a hugely popular recreation space especially on fine summer days. He considered the impact and the massive land take of the proposed footbridge and ramps, and considered the risks of the bridge in the light of the Shepherd's Bush "train in the sky" footbridge - erected, enclosed and demolished within the space of fifteen years as it became too dangerous and unpleasant to use.

Hammersmith Society chair Melanie Whitlock considered the unique value of the built heritage around the Town Hall and along the river, and the scheme's failure to respect the principles of PPS5 or attempt heritage-led regeneration. She quoted the developers' PR describing the schemes' opponents as "vociferous" and said that she only hoped we would be vociferous in protecting things we value.

Local resident Carlo Nero considered the prospects of the cinema, written off in the developers' under-researched report: it is popular with families and supports local businesses, attracting visitors from well beyond the borough, especially Chiswick which has no cinema. It has had significant investment in 3D technology and seen ticket sales rise from £850,000 in 2010 to over £1.1M (projected) in 2011. It is a designated Building of Merit and should enjoy protected status as an Arts, Culture and Entertainment venue under both the local UDP and the London Plan. As examples of cinema driving regeneration, there are the Ritzy in Brixton and the newly-acquired Ocean in Hackney with a dynamic programme and versatile offering including café- bar, live music and gallery space. An Enterprise Investment Scheme with the patronage of outstanding local actors could see the cinema revitalised and vibrant once again.

Retail consultant Tom Hayhoe considered the effect of the scheme on local businesses, reporting the results of a survey in July of this year, and painted a grim picture: the combined effect of opening a supermarket (in competition with numerous others in the area) and closing the cinema would undermine both local retailers and "hospitality outlets" (restaurants, cafés and bars), resulting in a downward spiral of vacancies, charity shops and discounters. The effect would not be regeneration but a direct attack on an already fragile high street environment. Chris Shipton, manager of local foodstore Bushwacker, made an impassioned case against the development, urging listeners to consider wealth as something very different from money, and to fight against the homogenisation and impoverishment of our high streets.

Pocklington Trust chief executive Simon Curtis spoke on behalf of his tenants and made clear the devastating impact that forced relocation would have on them, especially on blind tenants for whom the neighbourhood has many unique advantages: good transport links, easy access to shops and provision of outdoor space for guide dogs. The Trust will also suffer the loss of buildings which generate significant funds for their work.

A number of questions and observations were made from the floor, almost unanimously in support of SOS. There was an overwhelming feeling that the planning decision was a "done deal", and considerable pessimism that our case, however well made, would have no impact on councillors keen to rubber-stamp the application. Retired judge Audrey Frisby urged us to seek a "order of prohibition" (now a judicial review) on the grounds that the Council could not possibly give fair consideration to an application so clearly in its own interests. (Note: we could only seek a judicial review once the Council had actually approved the application, and would have to prove that it had acted improperly: difficult and very expensive.) Others spoke in favour of a massed approach to David Cameron or to Boris Johnson, stressing the number of Conservative votes to be lost out of disgust at the scheme and the lack of respect for the planning process should it be approved. One speaker with experience of local government civil service recommended writing to Eric Pickles, and examining the application for its equality provision which was provably inadequate.

The evening ended with an opportunity to complete letters (from the template provided). 140 letters were handed in at the end of the evening, and a generous sum was raised towards the likely cost of legal action. Our thanks to all who took the time to attend and the trouble to write letters, and for your much-appreciated financial support.

PUBLIC MEETING - Rivercourt Methodist Church, Rivercourt Road, W6 - Tuesday 27th September 7pm

Save Our Skyline is organising another public meeting to update you on the 'revised' scheme and to advise you of the best course of action.

Please come to the Public Meeting 7pm on Tuesday 27th September at Rivercourt Methodist Church and find out more.

REVISED Planning Documents Have Been Submitted - August 2011

King Street Developments (Hammersmith) Ltd have submitted revised planning documents to LBHF planning department.

We are currently going through the numerous documents and will be advising our supporters of the best course of action very soon.

PUBLIC MEETING - Monday 6th December

Save Our Skyline is organising another public meeting to update you on the scheme and its implications and to help you to ensure that your views carry as much weight as possible.

Please come to the Public Meeting 7pm on Monday 6th December at Rivercourt Methodist Church and find out more.

Save Our Skyline Public Meeting held on 13th October 2010

The meeting was attended by over 400 people. Rivercourt Methodist Church was filled to capacity.

List of speakers and main points

John Jones, Chair

  • SOS is not against development of the area. However, the proposed development does not meet the requirements of the initial brief;
    • The council brief stated the height of any development should be considered carefully with the possibility of some elements rising to around the height of the existing town hall extension (7 storeys). The two largest blocks in the proposed development are double this at 14+ storeys.
    • The brief was to produce a development which would secure the support of local interest groups and English Heritage. The development has NO interest groups supporting it; indeed, 19 have publicly spoken out against it, as well as English Heritage.
  • Contrary to council claims that the development comes for free, John Jones pointed out the cinema car park owned by council is being gifted to the developers and that much else would be lost from the area in addition to the skyline:
    • 54 homes in Cromwell Avenue including some which house blind residents. (The building would be acquired via a compulsory purchase order. No alternative housing has been offered.)
    • The local cinema
    • The Quaker meeting house
    • A third of the original and most popular area of Furnivall Gardens, including many mature trees.
  • The proposed bridge is not designed for the benefit of existing residents, but rather to make the 320 proposed flats marketable as 'riverside apartments'. He questioned the safety of such a bridge, and drew comparisons to the footbridge in Shepherds Bush (now removed), the site of many muggings.
  • The height and density of the development would set a precedent for future developments.

Nick Bastin, local resident, provided detail of the height and density of the scheme. The developers have supplied very few images and these have been misleading. The true scale of the development was presented, with artists' impressions of the development as it would be seen from the river, from Ravenscourt Park Station and from Dalling Road. Nick also highlighted that now almost all of the buildings were 7-storeys high (the height of the existing extension) or higher, with two towers reaching 14+ storeys, and the proposed new Council building 9-storeys high. The towers were three times the height of the Old Town Hall. The piazza, presented as a planning gain, would be blighted by being hemmed in by tall buildings.

Rajeev Chopra, local resident and member of Hammersmith Mall Residents Association (HAMRA), provided details of the footbridge and the detrimental effect on Furnivall Gardens. The raised walkway will completely hide the Town Hall along Nigel Playfair Avenue. The bridge (with its protective screens) will be up to 7.5m high, the height of the third level in a London Town House. The landing of the bridge in Furnivall Gardens and the joining 120m ramp will destroy the sunny and most used space in Furnivall Gardens.

Kevin O'Flaherty and Heather Taylor, blind residents of flats owned by The Pocklington Trust in Cromwell Avenue had their letters to the council opposing the scheme read out. Neither have been offered any alternative accommodation and fear they will end up in hostels after living independently for many years.

Chrissie North, one of the leaders of the campaign against an earlier scheme to build a Tesco superstore on the site, spoke of how the planned supermarket (30% bigger than the Sainsburys in Kings Mall, Hammersmith) would be the 20th supermarket within a 1.5 mile radius. She considered the detrimental effect such stores have on the community, compared with the smaller local stores they invariably force out of business.

Josie, 14 and Lola, 12, two local schoolgirls, spoke of their sadness that they may lose their local cinema with no other provision for youth in its place.

Carlo Nero, local resident and member of St Peter's Residents Association, presented a possible vision of the future for the cinema with details of the similarly sized, community-owned and profitable Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley.

Angela Dixon, Chair of the Hammersmith and Fulham Historic Buildings Society, spoke of the need for heritage-led regeneration; any new development should harmonise with what we already have. She received huge applause when she said that in her opinion the council's exhibition did not accurately represent the development. She believes the development should be rethought by the council.

Among those invited to speak from the floor were:

  • Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith and Fulham, said that the things we will be losing are the things the community wants, whilst the things which are being built are not wanted by residents
  • Steven Greenhalgh, leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, said that members of the council were there to listen. He promised that the council would get an independent valuation of the scheme to ensure that they are not getting a bad deal. He agreed to make financial details of the development available to the representatives of Save Our Skyline.
  • Stephen Cowan, leader of the Labour group of councillors for Hammersmith and Fulham, said that listening is not enough, action is required. There is widespread public concern about the scale of this scheme and the council do not appear to be listening
  • Harry Phibbs, councillor for Ravenscourt Park Ward, conceded that 'two more Premier Inns' would be detrimental to the environment. He also offered to take the representatives of Save Our Skyline to the Town Hall Extension to inspect its condition.
  • Melanie Whitlock, Chair of the Hammersmith Society said that the height of the buildings must be resisted as it will open a Pandora's box for the future. She favours street level crossings on the A4.

Some concerns raised from the floor:

  • The development is not free, we are paying for it in kind
  • Local businesses feel some measure of regeneration is needed at this end of King Street
  • The council lacks the strength and resource to control the developers
  • The council ideology appears to favour development over community - there are many other similar developments proposed around the borough
  • The development is to be built on a flood plain; is this safe?
  • A comparable project by the developers is being marketed heavily to clients in the Middle and Far East: absentee landlords or tenants will have little engagement with the community
  • Social housing is being ignored: none is included in the development, and that to the east of the site will suffer severe loss of light
  • The planning committee is, in effect, applying to itself for planning approval
  • The support at the meeting is an example of Cameron's "Big society"; weight of public opinion CAN, and should, make a difference
  • This is a steamroller in motion; how can we stop it?

Read more about the Save Our Skyline public meeting

PRESS RELEASE

OVER 400 ATTEND SAVE OUR SKYLINE PUBLIC MEETING

Overwhelming opposition expressed to Council's plans

Council urged to reconsider

14 October 2010, Hammersmith London. Save Our Skyline, a concerned group of Hammersmith residents' and amenity associations, announced that its public meeting to discuss the Council's proposed redevelopment of the Town Hall and surrounding land was attended by over 400 individuals and expressed overwhelming opposition to the proposed scheme. The meeting heard local residents and other concerned parties speak about the impact the proposed plans will have from a variety of speakers, including representatives of the Ravenscourt Society, Hammersmith Mall Residents Association, Hammersmith Historic Buildings Group and blind residents of Thomas Pocklington Trust, who will be evicted from their homes under current plans. Speakers also included local children, highlighting the impact the loss of the cinema would have on young people in the area, and an inspirational presentation on the successful transformation of the Phoenix Cinema in Finchley into a long term, sustainable, cultural asset for the community and the precedent it sets for Hammersmith's classic art deco cinema. A wide number of speakers from the floor of the meeting included Andrew Slaughter MP, the Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council Stephen Greenhalgh and Cllr Stephen Cowan, Hammersmith Broadway councillor and leader of the Opposition and Cllr Harry Phibbs (Conservative, Ravenscourt Park).

Comment

The phenomenal turnout tonight shows the strength of feeling in the community against this ugly and ill considered scheme.

We have heard much about the new Government's vaunted Big Society and we can now see it in action in one of their flagship Boroughs. We urge the Council to listen to the voice of the community and think again before Hammersmith's skyline is blighted by this unpopular and disproportionate development.

A very bad deal for residents and the Council who would get too little benefit from this multimillion development of luxury flats
John Jones, Save Our Skyline Chairman

Save Our Skyline - Residents concerned about King Street Redevelopment

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