CALLS from MP Mary Macleod to keep Brentford’s famous Golden Mile as a top business attraction have been welcomed by Hounslow Council.
The Brentford and Isleworth MP had a meeting with Eric Pickles, secretary of state for local government, to put pressure on the council to use special measures to protect the Great West Road as a west London business hub.
The stretch of A4, which opened in 1925, is famous for being the headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline and JC Decaux and in the past hosted big names in Art Deco buildings including Firestone, Carillion and Gillette.
Backed by local businesses, Ms Macleod fears failure to guarantee an exemption from new development rights will seriously endanger the area’s ability to attract major companies.
Councillors have subsequently agreed to consider exempting the area from May’s new ruling which gives local planning authorities new rights to permit a change of use of an office building into homes without planning permission.
Ms Macleod said: “If offices are converted into residential sites, I fear that existing businesses may even migrate out of the borough.”
Mr Pickles advised Ms Macleod – who was recently named London’s new small business ambassador by the Prime Minister – to encourage the council to obtain a special power which would mean planning permission would still have to be obtained before residential changes can be agreed.
A council spokesperson confirmed it is in the process of considering setting up what is known as an Article 4 Direction to protect the gateway into west London.
He said: "The Council feels there is robust evidence highlighting the importance of retaining the Golden Mile as a strategically important employment area for the borough and London."
Wallis House, where Simmonds Aerocessories and Beechams were once based, has already been converted into housing as part of Barratt’s Great West Quarter (GWQ) project.