NOT so long ago anyone paying a visit to Commerce Road, or talking a walk along the canal between London Road and the A4 would have little reason to want to linger.
For the past few weeks however, something special has been happening - and locals cannot have failed to notice how an area populated by once grand, but now seemingly forgotten, offices and warehouses-come-boat sheds, is at last getting the attention it so badly needed.
The site has been cleared, the teams of workers are on site, the hoardings are up and the cranes are in place.
Proof at last that a project which aims to give a much needed shot in the arm to a part of town which is simply loaded with potential is ready to bear fruit. For this we have to thank a company formed by what was only recently known as British Waterways, but following its conversion to a charity has re-branded itself as The Canal and Rivers Trust.
Working in partnership with MUSE Developments it has formed ISIS Waterside Regeneration and is committed to revitalising Britain’s waterways by creating sustainable waterside communities. A planning application for Phase One, which will deliver 150 homes in blocks of one, two and three bedroom apartments for private purchase, was submitted to Hounslow Council almost exactly one year ago and received the nod from councillors three months later in June.
At the time the committee commended the project leaders commitment to become an integral part of the local community and suggested that the approach should be noted and set as an example for others to follow.
Work to demolish the existing buildings, including old car dealerships, began at the back end of the year and tomorrow (Saturday) the marketing suite will open its doors to the public for the very first time.
According to the pre-sales blurb the five year project, which will ultimately deliver 520 residential units, is expected to breathe new life into Brentford.
In addition to providing much needed new housing, the scheme will deliver new community spaces and 7,000 sq metres of commercial buildings, helping to create around 300 new jobs for the area. There is even a pot of money to the tune of £2 million which is being set aside for investment in local health and education facilities. This could ultimately see a new school and nursery opening nearby, with the most likely site being the current TfL Bus Depot at the end of Commerce Road - which would ultimately be relocated elsewhere although the E2 and E8 buses which link the area to Ealing would be retained.
Despite the location currently looking every inch the building site it will likely remain for the rest of the year, Katie Sully, Development Director at ISIS Waterside Regeneration, is keen to sing the praises of the scheme. And it is not hard to be impressed by her vision.
Leading the tour she said: "The interest we have already had in the homes at Brentford Lock West has been really positive. It has been very important to us that we work closely with the community, throughout the project to ensure that we deliver a desirable collection of homes that fit seamlessly with their local surrounds, while offering buyers an attractive destination to live and enjoy.
"Our launch weekend will provide potential buyers with an opportunity to visit our new Sales and Marketing Suite on site, view the plans and to see the internal specification of both the kitchen and bathrooms. We will be taking off-plan reservations at the event and are looking forward to a busy weekend."
Inside the well-equipped marketing suite, visitors will be able to examine all the fixtures and fittings which will come with the purchase of a flat, as well as learn all about the range of measures designed to not only improve their energy efficiency – but help to keep fuel costs down for owners too.
These include district heating - which will provide a central source of heating for residents, green roofs – planted with vegetation, as well as roof-top allotments.
Anyone thinking ISIS is only about building and selling flats could not be more mistaken - this is a company which prides itself on community cohesion.
From the minute visitors arrive tomorrow they will be able to see several boards containing comments from various organisations which have supported the project every step of the way.
These include Cultivate London – the innovative, urban farm which aims to increase the amount of locally and organically grown produce available across London.
The group, led by head grower Ben Simpkins, is already on site, having relocated all its poly-tunnels in order to make room for the builders and its plans to include community allotments have been factored into the design.
Close partnerships with other local organisations including Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, Active 360 and canoe club Edge have also been developed and the scheme will host a new watersports hub, to be enjoyed by all.
Lee Doyle, the trust chief executive who is also featured on one of the boards, said: “The team at ISIS have been extremely pro-active in building relationships to promote community engagement in and around Brentford. In addition to supporting our ISIS Challenge (a paddleboard and 5k run which following the success of the inaugural event last August will take place on Brentford Lock this year in May), they have provided us with boat storage at Brentford Lock and have initiated exciting plans around a future canal based Community hub.
"We have built our Trust activities on productive partnerships with organisations from the public, private and third sector and our relationship with ISIS promises to create many new opportunities for local people to feel connected with their community.”
Even those not fortunate enough to purchase one of the flats, will be able to benefit from all the improvements planned to the canal tow-path itself. These include widening it considerably and installing a new visitor mooring and hook up points and the installation of a new floating pontoon to be used by the local canoe club.
Prices for Phase One start from £284,950.
The Sales and Marketing Suite hosts its launch weekend tomorrow and will then be open on site seven days a week. Off plan reservations will be taken at the event. Interested buyers are being asked to book an appointment by calling the Brentford Lock West sales team on 01628 482 276, emailing email@example.com or visiting www.brentfordlockwest.co.uk