Reynard Mills Victory... For Now

Building plans rejected but campaigners say battle continues

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Controversial plans for a major housing complex on the Reynard Mills trading estate have been rejected by the Government.

Developer LP (Brentford) wanted to build 275 flats and houses for 995 residents on the former BBC site just off Windmill Road (on the Ealing/Brentford border) with the majority to be housed in 7 & 6 storey tower blocks.

Hundreds of local residents have fought a lengthy campaign against the proposals, and last year, in the face of this opposition, Hounslow Council refused permission for the scheme.

The developer appealed, and, in November, a public inquiry was held at Hounslow Civic Centre with the report sent to Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, to make the final judgement.

In his report (pdf) , which has just been released, Mr Pickles accepted that there should be a residential scheme on the site but concluded that the current application would harm the area.

'' ... the density, scale and form of the development proposed would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area and would not achieve the high quality required by policy.''

Mr Pickles also believed there would be parking and traffic problems caused by the scheme ''and the additional traffic would be harmful to the safety and convenience of road users.''

The Secretary of State agreed with campaigners from the Windmill Road Action Group (WRAG) that the current application for the site would have been an overdevelopment.

Local campaigners have welcomed the news but caution that there is yet another application currently being considered by Hounslow Council.

Ealing Northfield Ward Councillor, David Millican, who spoke at the inquiry said: "There is another application for 229 units outstanding, which is still too big.  We all know we need more housing, but it needs to be sympathetic to the neighborhood. The Secretary of State's decision is good news for now, but we need to vigilant about the latest application

James Guest from WRAG says they have studied the new application and believe it will have an adverse impact on the surrounding residents.

He says: ''It will also place additional pressures on the already over-stretched local resources including: school places, GP surgeries and the sewage system.  And, it is likely to result in increased tail-backs on the already over-loaded local road network and additional rat-running and parking pressures on the surrounding residential side streets.''

He's urging local residents to register with WRAG so they can be informed about the new application and how to object.

Mary Macleod Brentflrd and Isleworth Conservative MP welcomed the decision of the Secretary of State. She said:

''I am pleased that the Secretary of State has listened to the concerns of our local community about the impact of the Reynard Mills development. Whilst I am keen to see the development of the area and recognise the urgent need for more housing, it is vital that it is done in a way which fits into the local community.”

Cllr Steve Curran, cabinet member for housing at Hounslow council, said:

''t is a massive relief to the local community that this development won’t be going ahead.There were hundreds of objections to the plans, which we had already refused as it simply wasn’t appropriate for the site.

“Yes, we do need more needed family homes in the borough, but we have planning policies in place to make sure that they compliment, not conflict with, what we already have.

 “We remain open to the idea of housing on the site, but it has to be in harmony with the rest of the area, and not just be a way for developers to cram in as many units as possible with no thought for what it would be like to live there, or in the surrounding area, for years to come.”

News just in:

Ealing Today has received a statement from Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust Ltd:

'' The main reason given for the refusal was overdevelopment of the site. Importantly, the Secretary of State agreed with the Planning Inspectors conclusions that re-use of the Reynards site for residential development would in principle be acceptable in policy terms.

''The Company also has a separate planning application pending for a lower density residential scheme comprising 229 units or 189,000 sq ft.

''This is still to be determined and the Company will now review this application in light of the detailed comments received from the Secretary of State.

'' If changes are now required to this separate application then the planning process could be delayed until late 2013 or early 2014.''


28th March 2013