A CONTROVERSIAL development on Hammersmith Embankment looks set to get the green light despite widespread community outrage.
Developer St George plans to build homes on a seven acre site, in Distillery Road, alongside 3,823 sqm of retail and office space, restaurants, gym and swimming pool and boat club.
Designed by architects John Thompson and Partners, it would include 744 homes built in eight blocks up to nine storeys in height.
It has angered local campaign groups furious about the impact it would have on the iconic River Thames stretch and overlooking Grade II* Listed Hammersmith Bridge.
They joined together to form the Save Our Riverside group to fight the developers but it seems their battle has been in vain despite last ditch attempts at a public meeting against the plans at St Augustine’s Church on Tuesday night.
That is because planning officers at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, who admit they have received only two letters of support for the scheme, are recommending it receive planning permission at the next committee meeting on Wednesday (14/9).
A council report said the development is ‘considered to provide a suitable form of development in relation with the site’s location and context’.
It adds: “The masterplan is considered to address the riverside setting of the site and the relationship with surrounding heritage assets, including respecting the Grade II* Hammersmith Bridge, the setting of which would be preserved by the development.
“The development would not result in degradation to unsatisfactory levels of amenity for any neighbouring property.”
The move has angered Save Our Riverside group – made up of members from Hammersmith Embankment Residents’ Association, Hammersmith Mall Residents Association, Digby Mansions Residents’ Association, The Hammersmith Society and more.
They had 150 residents at their midweek meeting to grill councillors and representatives from St George and were told the developer is paying £10m to the council to build the scheme.
The payment is called a Section 106 agreement and must be spent on improvements to the surrounding area.
Candida Watson, spokesman for the group, said: "The feeling of the meeting was that council are so keen to get their hands on that £10m they will agree to anything St George propose.
"And further, they will ignore the overwhelming request of the people they have been elected to represent that these plans be rejected and St George asked to produce more sympathetic, better designs."
Their objections were shared by Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter and Richmond Park and North Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith who both wrote to the council to object.
Even the Greater London Authority raised concerns about the plans and Thames Water warned it had ‘identified an inability of the existing water infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the application’.
Mr Slaughter said: “The Fulham Reach scheme, along with the council’s plans for similar high-rise project on the Riverside Studios and Town Hall sites will destroy Hammersmith’s historic riverside and blight the lives of thousands of my constituents.
“There is no housing for local families or open spaces in this monstrous development, only fat profits for St George. The Tory advocates of this scheme are taking another part of this borough downmarket.”
If the plans are approved, St George will have to comply with a bumper list of 56 planning conditions laid out by council planners.
It must be built within eight years, the developer must carry out an archaeological examination of the River Thames and ensure10 per cent of homes have to be wheelchair accessible.