Green light for 1,800-home 37-storey scheme on west London gas works site

Plans have been approved for up to 1,843 homes on a former gas works site in west London, despite the scheme exceeding London Plan density ranges and not meeting the local affordable housing target.

A visualisation of the finished development at the Fulham Gasworks site
A visualisation of the finished development at the Fulham Gasworks site

Last week, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham approved developer St William Homes’ hybrid planning application for the redevelopment of the Fulham Gasworks site on Imperial Road, Fulham.

The application, which included both full and outline elements, sought permission for the demolition of existing buildings and structures on the site and its redevelopment to provide a residential-led, mixed use development. This would comprise new buildings ranging from one to 37 storeys to provide up to 1,843 homes, 646 of which would be classed as affordable, or 35 per cent.

There would also be shops and office space, new open spaces, and new pedestrian and vehicle routes.

A planning report said it is anticipated that the development would equate to density of approximately 291 units per hectare (or 839 habitable rooms per hectare) which would "exceed the guidance ranges set out in the London Plan". The London Plan outlines a range of 200-700 habitable rooms per hectare for such sites.,

But the report said that officers "are mindful of the fact that density is a guide to ensure optimisation of brownfield sites, and other issues should be considered, such as quality of design, sensitivity of works and re-use of the listed buildings, new linkages and public routes through the site and other regeneration benefits of the scheme".

The report added that both existing London Plan and draft London Plan policy "is clear that density ranges should not be applied mechanistically and developments should make efficient use of land to optimise housing delivery".

Overall, the report said, the proposed density is "considered acceptable, given the high quality of design, the site’s characteristics and its capacity to accommodate growth".

Elsewhere, planners noted that the application proposed a total of 646 affordable units, which equates to 35 per cent of the scheme by unit and by habitable room.

The council's local plan states that at least 50 per cent of new housing should be affordable, the report said.

According to the document, a financial viability report highlighted the "costs and challenges associated with the individual circumstances of the site", particularly the "likely decontamination and remediation costs associated with the site's historic uses to bring the land to an acceptable standard for residential uses".

A council-commissioned review of the viability report had concluded that, "at this point in time, 35 per cent affordable housing provision exceeds that which would be considered the maximum reasonable provision for the development", it added.

However, the report recommended a later stage viability review of the development "in order to capture any potential uplift the scheme may gain towards the affordable housing target of 50 per cent".

The proposal "would help to regenerate the wider South Fulham Riverside Regeneration Area whilst maximising the value of the existing vacant site", the report concluded.


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