THE widely unpopular Southall gasworks plans were approved at a public hearing where they were described as 'a disaster for Hayes Town'.
More than 100 people went to City Hall last Thursday evening to hear the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, rule in favour of the vast development, which will involve the construction of 3,750 homes, as well as leisure and recreational facilities.
The plans were rejected last year by both Ealing and Hillingdon councils, whose boundaries the development crosses, but Mr Johnson decided to 'call in' the application using new mayoral powers.
After approving the plans, he said the project would be of 'major strategic importance' for the whole of London in light of the arrival of Crossrail, and refusing permission 'could be detrimental to the future economic prosperity of the area'.
Developers will contribute £22million towards infrastructure and local services.
Ten objectors made their views on the plans known to the mayor before his decision - David Brough, chairman of the Hayes Town Partnership and Robin Brown of the Friends of Minet Country Park community group, were among them.
In the four minutes allowed for each of the speakers, Mr Brough drew attention to the dramatic drop in trade Hayes town would experience, and Mr Brown focused on the detrimental visual and environmental impact the development would have on Minet Country Park.
Mr Brown said the primary objection was that the scale of potential harm was unknown. He added: "It will be unduly disruptive to the park and its surrounding area."
Afterwards, Mr Brough said the decision came as no surprise and that he felt Hayes had been brushed aside.
"The effects on the 'Hayes' shopping centre were treated as if they were too small to matter, and my comments about the traffic impact on the town received no response. Frequently, the whole place is at a standstill, and there is no doubt in my mind that the traffic generated by this development will impose total gridlock on the town centre. The only consolation is that the whole development will be spread over 15 years and that might give the town centre enough time to adapt, but frankly any negative impact on Hayes only makes our job that much more difficult."
Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell said: "Boris Johnson's decision is a disaster for Hayes. The mayor has badly let our area down."
James Rodger, head of planning and enforcement at Hillingdon Council, said: "Throughout this process the council has sought to protect the interests of our residents.
"Although we are awaiting the detailed decision to be sent to the council, it does appear that the Mayor of London has listened to our concerns and as a result we have secured significant concessions from the developers." * What do you make of this decision? Email email@example.com.