There is a dreary, predictable rhythm to the cynical process by which property developers seek planning consent for tower blocks.
An ugly site is chosen. A proposal is made to replace an ugly building with a much taller ugly building. Some opposition is expressed. Then a revised proposal is offered – to replace an ugly building with an ugly building a bit taller. This compromise is then regarded as a victory and the new scheme approved.
The Landmark House scheme is turning into a textbook example. This is the scheme I wrote about in February which is currently an 18 storey office block in Black’s Road.
The Hammersmith Society report that the developers have “proposed a revised scheme with the hotel tower reduced to 22 storeys. This would be 15m higher than the existing building height of 61.3 metres. The architects will substitute the new proposals in their application and there will be fresh consultations inviting comments from amenity societies and local residents.”
The Council’s policy on tall buildings is much too favourable. There is plenty of contradiction and ambiguity. But it does still allow some grounds for refusal as it says proposals:
“…will need to respect the existing townscape and historic context and make a positive contribution to the skyline emphasising a point of civic or visual significance. The character of the built form and the sensitivity of the setting of heritage assets may mean that some parts of these areas will be sensitive to, or inappropriate for, tall buildings. Any proposals for tall buildings will need to respect the existing townscape context, demonstrate tangible urban design benefits, and be consistent with the council’s wider regeneration objectives.”
If these words have any meaning at all then the proposal to replace the current 18 storey building with a 22 storey one must be refused.
The developers Eastern & Oriental say:
“In response to requests for a further public consultation event we would like to propose a drop-in session on 3rd and 4th May at Landmark House (we have a room available on the ground floor behind reception).
“We are proposing to run the session from 2pm-8pm on Wednesday 3rd May and 9am – 1pm on Thursday 4th which I hope is OK. I will be there with the architects together with a selection of updated images, views and a model and will be very happy to answer any questions you or your fellow members may have.”
I would encourage residents to attend and make their views known to the Council afterwards.