Mayor backs 500-home Hillingdon scheme following council refusal

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has backed plans for a 500-home scheme on the edge of green belt after a refusal by Hillingdon Council, though he is prevented from granting final permission due to a secretary of state holding direction.

The proposed development in Hillingdon (Pic: Inland Homes)
The proposed development in Hillingdon (Pic: Inland Homes)

The London Borough of Hillingdon refused permission in February for the redevelopment of the former 106-bedroom Master Brewer motel near Northolt aerodrome.

The application, by developer Inland, proposes a series of buildings from two to eleven storeys with 514 homes – including 35 per cent affordable housing – 165 car parking spaces, and 1,200 square metres of commercial space. 

The plan was unanimously refused by Hillingdon Council’s planning committee on the basis that it would result in "an unduly intrusive, visually prominent and incongruous form of development".

The mayor called in the application in March.  

His subsequent approval of the scheme follows the advice of his officers set out in a Greater London Authority hearing report.

The report says the proposal would provide better transport infrastructure through an improved bus service and more walking and cycling connections, as well as landscaped public open spaces and green belt enhancements. 

The scheme was found to have “no unacceptable visual impact on the green belt”, with the report stating this its new access routes and open spaces would make it an “attractive environment”. The proposals include mitigating the impact of development by planting semi-mature trees, landscaping public spaces and delivering sustainable urban drainage.

The report also said the scheme would make a significant contribution towards high-quality housing and affordable housing delivery targets to help meet local and strategic housing needs.

Other public benefits outlined include the regeneration of a vacant site, and economic and regenerative benefits for the surrounding area. These were deemed to “outweigh the less than substantial harm that would be caused” by the scheme.  

According to the report, the application is subject to a holding direction issued by housing secretary Robert Jenrick on 20 August, which prevents the mayor from granting planning permission.

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