The Chiswick Curve is dead – Long Live Chiswick!

wcgs_logoThe West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society was delighted with the news that the High Court had dismissed the claim by the developer, Starbones to quash the decision of the Secretary of State. This means that the decision to refuse planning permission made in July 2019 by the then Secretary of State stands.
It has been a long campaign since Starbones submitted the application in December 2015 with various battles along the way. Throughout, we took strength from working together with neighbouring groups in Chiswick, Brentford and Kew – together, we can! The strength of opposition to the development, both local and wider, was clear at the public meeting which we organised in April 2016 and confirmed by the unanimous decision of the Council’s Planning Committee in February 2017 to refuse planning permission. We didn’t give up the fight when, as expected, the developer appealed; instead we geared up for the Public Inquiry
The harm the Chiswick Curve would have inflicted on a significant number of heritage assets was such that the Council was joined by Historic England, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Kew Society as main (Rule 6) parties at the Public Inquiry which was held over 4 weeks in June/July 2018. WCGS also participated outlining the impact on the surrounding residential communities and emphasising that “Heritage is our inheritance – it is the visible link with our history – it connects us to where we live and contributes enormously to our collective sense of place.” We then had a long wait for the Planning Inspector to submit his report to the Secretary of State and for the latter to digest the report and come to his decision, which he did in July 2019.
Now that decision is confirmed by the High Court the Society wishes to thank all those who have contributed to this successful outcome. We appreciate the major contribution made by our Council’s planning department and to the work carried out and commitment shown by our neighbouring community groups, especially the Brentford Community Council and The Kew Society. Our members and other local residents who supported us were vital to maintaining our resolve.
In relation to the Public Inquiry we wish to pay tribute to the rigorous and robust approach taken by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Historic England to the issue of harm to the World Heritage site and to other major heritage assets such as Strand on the Green (Historic England). The combined weight of the cases made by the Council and the other parties against the appeal was powerful.
The decision of the Secretary of State on the Chiswick Curve and the cases made by these parties will, of course, have relevance in relation to other large-scale developments currently under determination. These include the L&Q Citroen site (Public Inquiry held in January/February 2020) and the B&Q site (application currently under consideration). At both Public Inquiries the tensions between a conservation area adjacent to an Opportunity Area in a world city were debated. In my closing statement at the Citroen Inquiry, I said:
I think that we can all agree that London is a world city. It is of national and strategic importance as our capital city. Its natural and historic environment is too important to be treated in a cavalier fashion. It should be conserved and enhanced in accordance with the NPPF. While regeneration of the Great West Corridor is important, the corridor is not, and must not become, the defining feature of the wider area. The big attraction of this area for visitors as well as those who live and/or work here is that, while easily accessible from Central London, it has significant heritage landscapes and a beautiful stretch of the Thames which, together with its predominantly low-rise buildings give much of it a generous, open, almost rural feel. This is complemented by its compact townscape of predominantly Victorian and Edwardian terraces, providing homes to its well-established, thriving residential communities. The special appeal of both is that they provide respite and retreat from the urban environment.
A significant part of the “pull” of London is the great variety of what it has to offer in terms of its built and natural environments. It is essential that development enhances and maintains this rich tapestry rather than leads to an homogenised city of poorly distinguished areas, sterile neighbourhoods and an assortment of high-rise blocks, competing for attention as they dominate the skyline.
So, my plea is that, as a world city, London
• provides its residents with homes of genuine high quality,
• understands the true value of its historic environment and
• pays full respect to its world heritage
Marie Rabouhans
Chairman, WCGS
13 March 2020

AGM – Monday, 10th February 2020 at 7.30 pm.

wcgs_logoThe Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held on Monday, 10th February 2020 at 7.30 pm.
The venue as usual will be the Age Concern Hall in Oxford Road North.
This will be Don Osborne’s last meeting as Honorary Secretary, a post he has held for over 17 years. Do come and commemorate this occasion with us.

Latest News: Hogarth Centre

Hogarth Youth & Community Centre

Hogarth Centre Open Evening on Thursday, 14th November at 7:15 – 9.00 pm.
The Hogarth Youth & Community Centre plays a crucial role with kids in our community and it is under threat of closure following funding cuts. The Centre provides a safe haven in central Chiswick for after-school and school holiday activities for young people aged between 8 and 21.
The evening will be informal and is intended to raise visibility, awareness and funding for the centre. The West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society endorses the mission of the Centre and will be making a donation. We would encourage our members to attend the meeting and offer support in whatever way they can.

The Centre, is in Duke Road, W4 JR.  It is located at the southern end of the road, backing onto the A4. There are no parking restrictions at that time and the Centre’s car park will be open.


Green Up Gunnersbury – New Planters

wcgs_logo greenAs part of the Green Up Gunnersbury campaign, 2 new planters have been built and planted on the High Street opposite the Chiswick Business Park.

To read more details and see more pictures, please click here to visit our Green Up Gunnersbury page and scroll down the page.

planters 5


Latest News: Heritage Walk/Social Evening: Monday, 23rd September

wcgs_logoPlease come to a Society social get together preceded by a walk.
The walk will be an opportunity to look at local heritage and point out and give some background details on some of the buildings that the committee and members put forward to be included in the Local List.

The get together and the walk are open to members and their friends.

The walk will start outside Chiswick Library at 6.30 pm on Monday, 23rd September and the get together will be at the Lamb public house at 7.30 pm (approx).

Latest News – Great West Corridor Plan Review

The Council is now carrying out a final (Regulation 19) consultation on the the Great West Corridor Plan Review with a deadline for comment of 24th September 2019.

Party at the Piazza

Those who attended the Society’s meeting in June will recall members’ enthusiastic reception of Karen Liebreich’s talk about some of her past and current Chiswick projects. I am delighted that one of these the “Piazza” is to be celebrated on Sunday, September 15th and we are all invited. The street party will take place on Turnham Green Terrace from 11 am to 4 pm.


Click here to see the local press

Latest News – Secretary of State’s Decision on the Chiswick Curve.

The Society has received a copy of the Secretary of States decision letter concerning the appeals for the building and the associated advertisements.

The letter indicates that the Inspector recommended that the appeal be allowed and that planning permission and advertising consent be granted. 

For the reasons given in his letter, the Secretary of State disagrees with the Inspector’s conclusions and disagrees with his recommendation.

He has decided to dismiss the appeals and to refuse planning permission and advertising consent. 

The Society is delighted that the Secretary of State has dismissed the appeals but we are aware that this is not the end of the story as, unfortunately, the developer may challenge the validity of the Secretary of State’s decision by making an application to the High Court within the next six weeks.
We recognise that all planning decisions are a matter of balance between harm and benefit and we strongly endorse the conclusion of the Secretary of State :-
    39. Overall, the Secretary of State disagrees with the Inspector at IR12.164, and finds that the moderate weight to be attached to the benefits of the appeal scheme in     terms of housing provision, workspace provision and economic benefits, are not collectively sufficient to outweigh the great weight attached to the identified ‘less than     substantial’ harm to the significance of the above heritage assets. He considers that the balancing exercise under paragraph 196 of the Framework is therefore not favourable to the proposal. 
    40. The Secretary of State concludes that the proposal is not in accordance with the development plan overall, and that there are no material considerations which     indicate that the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan.

The Secretary of State’s decision letter together with the Inspector’s Report is available here.

Gunnersbury Park: Lovebox and Citadel Festivals


These festivals are taking place on Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July. The festival organisers have appointed a Community Manager who will be the first point of call for residents. Her name is Jackie Sear and is available by e-mail on Jacqueline.sear@mamaco.com or by phone on 07957 187494. This number will be available over the events build and de-rig period of 2nd to 20th July from 8am to 6 pm and on event days from 8 am to 12am.

Further information is available at https://www.gpresidents-eventhub.com  and see also https://gunnersburyfriends.org/

If you would like to receive information about future event proposals for Gunnersbury Park, please e-mail GunnersburyPark@theeventumbrella.com

WCGS Summer Meeting

wcgs_logoIt’s the  Society’s  Summer Meeting on Monday, 24th June. 
at 7.30 at Age Concern Hall.

Karen Liebreich from Abundance will be there to talk about her work to
create a greener environment.

Hope to see you there,