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Imperial's White City plans given go-ahead

Regenerated and bustling, this is what the former BBC-owned Woodlands site will look like in 2012 after Imperial College London gained planning permission for a new campus there.

Regenerated and bustling, this is what the former BBC-owned Woodlands site will look like in 2012 after Imperial College London gained planning permission for a new campus there.

Empty since 2009 and not open to the public for decades, Imperial hopes the site, located in the controversial White City Opportunity Area, will become a major centre for scientific, technological, business and medical education.

The first phase of building, in Shinfield Street, will see accommodation built for 606 postgraduate students, and family units for researchers, lecturers and trainee doctors.

Imperial College London director John Anderson said: “We are delighted Hammersmith & Fulham Council has approved our plans.

"Providing accommodation for postgraduates, doctors and researchers, the site will support our world-class academic activities. We look forward to taking this first step towards establishing a campus that offers a wide range of uses, bringing benefits to the local community and London, as well as to Imperial College London.”

Some residents living in the area are wary of the White City Regeneration Area, fearing other, unrelated projects planned by the council will see estates demolished, forcing them out of the borough.

But Imperial, which has 14,000 students, says its plans will only be of benefit to the community, with plans in the offing to build a convenience store, hotel, gym and pharmacy, as well as a new public meeting area.

A green space the size of Soho Square, which would give residents access to the site for the first time in years, will also be created.

The college believes the new campus is vital in order to compliment its other facilities at its existing west London campuses.

Peter Eaton of Aukett Fitzroy Robinson said: "This consent creates the momentum for the next phase’s development within the master plan and will undoubtedly act as a catalyst for further regeneration in the wider White City Opportunity Area.”

The College bought the seven-acre site for £28 million in September 2009.

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