Plans are taking shape to return Brentford’s ‘Golden Mile’ to its former glory, with ambitions for a host of new high-rise office blocks.
The stretch of the Great West Road between Syon Lane and Chiswick Roundabout was one of London’s major industrial hubs during its heyday, between the 1930s and 50s, when it was home to companies including Gillette, Firestone tyres and Smith’s crisps.
Those factories are long gone, with the old Art Deco frontages the only reminder of the area’s illustrious past. But more recently the strip’s proximity to Heathrow has seen a mini-renaissance, with pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline and broadcaster BSkyB choosing to make it their HQ.
Now regeneration chiefs at Hounslow Council are preparing to help speed up the area’s regeneration by promoting it to developers this spring at what is believed to be the world’s biggest property conference.
Their vision is for an avenue of gleaming high-rise office blocks which would be home to major players in the world of technology and other industries, replacing the ‘ramshackle’ collection of buildings which sprouted up alongside during the region’s doldrums.
The Golden Mile will be the focal point at this year’s MIPIM property conference in Cannes from March 11-14 of the council’s stand, which will be twice as big as in 2014 and funded entirely by sponsors including the developers Barratt Homes and Ballymore.
Brendon Walsh, the council’s director of regeneration, said: “We’re going to MIPIM bigger and better than we did last year. We’re particularly keen to show developers the Golden Mile’s potential as a gateway between Heathrow and London.
“There are a lot of fantastic piece of development like BSkyB and GlaxoSmithKline, but there are also a lot of more ramshackle buildings. We want to provide a more cohesive identity, with a greater density of high rise buildings, and to improve links to Brentford town centre.”
The council is working to get the Golden Mile recognised by London mayor Boris Johnson with a special planning designation, which would make it easier for major building projects to get the nod and as Mr Walsh put it ‘send an important message to developers’.
As well as the Golden Mile, council officers will be promoting Feltham station and surrounding land at the conference. They believe a potential orbital rail connection with Slough, improving southern links to Heathrow, could help kickstart regeneration in Feltham.