Virginia Ironside: New threat to the Shepherd’s Bush Palladium

pallshepVirginia Ironside writes:

We are faced with another threat to Shepherds Bush Common and Conservation area:

Dorsett Hotels, who did a sympathetic conversion of “Odeon I” (on the right, below), failed in their bid to demolish the Shepherd’s Bush Palladium next door.

They have now submitted a new application to build 7 storeys of “serviced apartments” which would retain only the Palladium’s façade and top it with a red brick “Gotham City” tower with fins which bears no relation to the style and character of the original Edwardian building.

The top-heavy tower appears to be trying to squash the original theatre into the ground! The Palladium has huge historical value: it was the second cinema theatre built in London.  It was built to stand alone, not to serve as the foundations of a monstrous tower.

A sympathetic renovation, with the gaudy paint removed, would restore the Palladium and the West side of Shepherds Bush Common to its former glory.

The Palladium is a locally listed “Building of Merit”.  It forms a vital link in the chain of older buildings on the West side of the Green, with the locally listed Bush Hotel and Grade II listed Empire to the South and the re-vamped Odeon 1 to the North.  Together these buildings form a distinctive and unique townscape which should be protected.

The Conservation Area Character Profile is at

The Palladium is in “pages 5-9” para 5.11. The proposed tower’s effect on the Empire Theatre (5.10) and the Bush Hotel (5.14) as well as the revamped Odeon I (5.12) would be disastrous.

If you agree that this abuse of a loved and historic building should not be allowed, could you write and state that you OBJECT to the application in the strongest possible terms and forward to any groups or individuals who would be interested?

Objections have to be in by October 25th.

This link takes you to the planning application page where you can object with the “make a comment” button:

2 thoughts on “Virginia Ironside: New threat to the Shepherd’s Bush Palladium

  1. Shepherds Bush area is squalid this would be a great improvement which might attract a better class of retailers rather than then cheap fast food and awful grocers
    Perhaps Ms Ironside wood would do better to end the dire fairs that occupy and ruin the Green so frequently.
    Peter Rosier

  2. From Tom Ryland Chairman The Hammersmith Society.

    Not everyone supports Virginia Ironside’s view on this scheme:

    Walkabout : Planning references 2016/04044/FUL and 2016/04045/LBC

    Members of our Committee have attended a number of presentations by the Dorsett Hotel and their professional team. The latest was on 27 July 2016. We are pleased to note that we have been able to support the design development as it has progressed.

    At that time we were made aware of the various historical investigations into the front elevation of the Palladium cinema and we noted that the scheme had been through a Design Review Panel. The number of units had increased from 65 to 74 achieved by some smaller units. We have now studied the applications as submitted, which have incorporated the various re-evaluations being considered.

    Much of this re-evaluation has been around how the existing front facade could better relate to the new building above.

    The design team’s historical and site investigations have revealed two important factors. The first is that the existing front elevation was at some time finished in faience although this is now substantially damaged. The second is the discovery of a postcard photograph dated 1923 looking from the south east. This appears to show the ‘Palladium’ cinema at the height of its magnificence as a cinema. The front elevation consisted of a considerably more elaborate but elegant neo-classical facade which is taller and better proportioned than what now exists. It was capped by a substantial pediment which projected above the main auditorium as a parapet. We understand that the whole frontage was finished in a pale faience lined out and well proportioned and that the design was completed under the direction of architect who was responsible for the Queen’s Cinema in Bayswater. We agree that this facade sits much more comfortably between the Empire and Dorsett buildings.

    The latest revised scheme proposes to effectively recreate this facade. Above and slightly behind this the main block will rise and the height of building with set back side cheeks, all as previously. The main tower will have elegant vertical fins rising through all floors. The main facing material of the upper and side elevations will now be in brick rather than the louvres used on the Dorsett facade. The fenestration to the front of building and side cheeks will be formed with strong vertical elements, and then reverting to a more conventional format on the side flanks.

    We are pleased to note that a cinema in the basement is still proposed which we very much welcome.

    Overall, we welcome these latest proposals. We have made the following specific suggestions, some of which appear to have been already incorporated:

    1. We would not wish to see the height of the main tower any higher than the shoulder of the existing Dorsett Hotel.

    2. We suggested that the vertical fins to the front of the main tower might better project above the roof line.

    3. We wish to see the external flank lettering on Rockwood Place retained or reproduced in the new scheme

    4. We felt that there should be some variation in colour, and or texture, between the brickwork forming the main tower and the side cheeks. We favour a pink hue for the brickwork fairly close to the adjoining Dorsett : We do not favour a brown or much paler brick. We would wish to be consulted on the final choice.

    5. We pointed out the importance of how these large flat areas of brickwork are terminated at parapet level : We have cited the original Hammersmith Town Hall building and the former Royal Masonic Hospital as excellent examples of brickwork of this style and period.

    It is our opinion that the site in its present state diminishes the wider surroundings, and this new scheme conserves the base of the building (back to its1920s iteration) and offers a new addition above which is broadly sympathetic to the west side of Shepherds Bush Green. The evocation of
    cinema style architecture is an approach which we have welcomed relative to the Dorsett and the Empire.

    We have seen the Historic England letter of 11 October and note that they do not support the latest scheme but at the same time they agree that the present scheme is an improvement on the previous scheme, but also claim the original building would be “lost”, which is not the case.

    We appreciate that the building will have an impact on its neighbours in Pennard Road, but we feel considerable efforts have been made to mitigate this by the stepping back of the floors.

    We trust that you find the above comments of assistance,

    Yours sincerely

    Tom Ryland
    The Hammersmith Society

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