Ambitious plans for the redevelopment of a stretch of Chiswick High Road were given the green light by Hounslow councillors last night (Jan 29).
However, the news came as a blow to hundreds of residents who have opposed the plans, particularly, increasing the height of Empire House and creating new high-rise blocks fronting Essex Place.
Chiswick High Road Action Group, Friends of Turnham Green, West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society, Acton Green Residents Association all worked together to oppose the plans.
Karen Liebreich on behalf of the four residents groups said: "While very keen to see a good development on an important area of the High Road that has been deliberately blighted for some time, we strongly opposed the proposal to increase the height and width of Empire House, and to create three new high rise blocks of eight, seven and five storeys behind it.
"We strongly felt - and still feel - that the development is over-dense, too high, with no public realm benefit, and impacts negatively on the conservation area.
"Local businesses were afraid to speak up against this powerful developer, apart from Sainsbury's, who also spoke firmly in opposition.
"We find Hounslow council's decision to ignore its own local plan for the area, which clearly states that buildings should be of three-four storeys, and sensitive to the local area and conservation status, perverse.
"We find Hounslow council's continued claims to value community engagement to be bogus, as all local groups and councillors were against this insensitive proposal."
The obsolete office building, Empire House, which stands opposite Turnham Green will be transformed into 66 new homes with balconies and increased to 13 storeys.
Behind this tower block, along Essex Place, a seven and an eight storey block will be built to house 46 new apartments and four townhouses.
A further 21 new flats will be built on the corner of Acton Lane.
New will have private amenity spaces and access to communal rooftop gardens.
The new builds will be just 200 metres from Chiswick Park tube station and for cyclists a significant amount of bike storage facilities will be provided.
There will be 8,783 square feet of retail space and public space along Essex Place will be improved.
Richard Cook, head of residential at Lend Lease, said: “The approval of our planning application marks the first key milestone in our aim to significantly enhance this part of Chiswick and is a further example of our commitment to the regeneration of challenging brownfield sites in London."
As part of the planning agreement, Lend Lease has entered into a Section 106 agreement on affordable housing and contributions to local improvements in education and transport.
Sales of the new apartments are expected to commence in March, with construction of the project starting later this year.
Designers, Assael Architecture's director Pete Ladhams, added: “We are delighted that consent has been granted to transform this derelict office building and inactive stretch of Chiswick High Road into an attractive and vibrant new destination.
"The development will deliver high quality homes and a new public realm that creates a sense of place, improving the character of the conservation area and harnessing local heritage.”
A Hounslow council spokesman, said: "We have fully considered local people's views but the owners were not proposing to demolish the existing 11 storey building but refurbish it.
"We have made efforts to mitigate the visual impact and ensure the provision of affordable housing, but we do not have the power to remove the building.
"Had the developer decided to knock down the tower, we could have enforced the Local Plan."