Michael Goves Report on the Homebase Planning Decision

Below is the OWGRA report in to the decision. (Osterly and Wyke Green Residents Association)

Following the extremely disappointing news that the Secretary of State has approved the
planning application to build 16 tower blocks up to 17 storeys on the Osterley Tesco and
Homebase sites on Syon Lane, we are still ploughing through the 298 page report to try to
understand the reasons for overturning the Planning Inspector’s recommendation to refuse
the applications.
The Inspector appeared to be more accepting of the application for the Tesco site and was
more critical of the proposals for the Homebase site.
Here are some of the Inspector’s reasons for recommending refusal of these planning
applications:
Homebase site: “I consider that the proposal would result in significant harm to the character
and appearance of the area… it seeks to maximise capacity, resulting in a proposal of excessive
height, scale and mass which fails to respond to the existing character of the place.”
“I am content that whilst large, the Tesco scheme would be acceptable subject to detailed
design at Reserved Matters stage. I have significant reservations though, about the impacts of
the Homebase scheme due largely to the quantum of development proposed on this
constrained site. I have found that in terms of its scale, massing, design and townscape/
streetscape impact, the development would have a significant material adverse impact on the
character and appearance of the surrounding area generally, which concerns cannot be
overcome by conditions.”
“Not only would there be harm because of the negative impact in terms of character and
appearance, but to be added to that is the harm to the heritage assets”
“The benefits of the proposals are substantial. However, as provided for in the development
plan and the Framework, whilst not preventing or discouraging appropriate innovation or
change, new development is, nevertheless, expected to create high quality buildings and well designed places that are visually attractive and sympathetic to local character and history.
Good design is, in general, inherently informed by its context. For the reasons set out above, I
consider that the Homebase scheme would be neither visually attractive nor sympathetic to
local character and does not represent good design in its context. Having weighed carefully all
the benefits they do not, in my view, outweigh the totality of the harms that I have identified.
“I have taken all other matters into consideration, including the fact that the application sites
might, in their current form, be considered as detractors to character and appearance and the
heritage significance of nearby listed buildings and Osterley Park Conservation Area. On
balance however, I conclude that the proposals, taken together would, as a consequence of the
shortcomings of the Homebase development, conflict with the development plan taken as a
whole and that the applications should not succeed.”
” For the reasons set out above, I recommend that both applications be refused and that
planning permission not be granted.”
Page 4 of 5
The Secretary of State disagreed with some of the Inspector’s findings on the Homebase
scheme and here are some examples.
“The Secretary of State has carefully considered the Inspector’s conclusions at IR14.22-IR14.36.
He agrees with the Inspector at IR14.23 that that the proposed corner block, and most of the
rest of the scheme, would exceed the indicative heights referred to in Figure 7.22 of the
Masterplan by some considerable margin, but that this does not, however, mean that taller
development on the site is necessarily inappropriate. He disagrees with the Inspector’s view in
IR14.26 that the taller blocks B1 B2 and B3, conjoined with lower blocks as seen on the exposed
approach from the east, heading out of London on GWR, would present an incongruous,
monolithic wall of development. The Secretary of State recognises that while these blocks are
taller than surrounding development, they mark a gateway position on GWR. He also finds that
views in this location on the GWR would be largely transient. In the context of the
development’s location in a designated Opportunity Area, significant intensification of
development is anticipated to fully realise its growth and regeneration potential, and the
Secretary of State considers the proposal would not cause material harm in townscape terms.”
“The Secretary of State disagrees with the Inspector’s conclusion in IR14.34 that the proposal
would result in significant harm to the character and appearance of the area. Overall, the
Secretary of State considers that the development would not appear excessively large in its
context but would rather create a gateway position on GWR and create an appropriate
transition in scale to the residential areas on Syon Lane. Unlike the Inspector, he finds that
there would be moderate harm to the character and appearance of the area via a relatively
small landscape setting for the development and some inactive frontages creating an
unattractive public realm around roughly half of the building perimeter, this carries moderate
weight.”
“Unlike the Inspector, the Secretary of State concludes that the scheme is in compliance with
LonP policy D3, in that a design-led approach to the proposal which optimises the capacity of
sites has been undertaken, and he finds the development is of the most appropriate form for a
site responding to the existing character of the place. He also finds compliance with part of LP
policy CC3, which states that tall buildings should be carefully placed so as not to create a wall
of tall buildings, ensuring they relate sensitively to surrounding residential areas.”
“Weighing in favour of the proposal is the regeneration of under-utilised brownfield land which
carries substantial weight. Also weighing in favour is the delivery of up to 2,150 homes which
carries substantial weight, and the delivery of 750 affordable homes designed to meet the
current housing need profile in Hounslow, which each carry substantial weight. Economic
benefits carry significant weight whilst the provision of open space and significant biodiversity
net gain both carry moderate weight. Highway and transport improvements carry limited to
moderate weight and the reprovision of an existing Tesco store and the provision of community
space each carry limited weight.”
We continue to analyse the report and are seeking advice on whether there are any steps that
can be taken to stop these developments from going ahead, as we remain of the view that the
plans for the site represent an enormous over-development which will be harmful to the
character of the area, and where local infrastructure is already severely stretched and
inadequate for an extra 5-6K residents.

Below is Michael Goves Report in to the Homebase Planning Decision click the button below and it will open the PDF

Copyright Heston Residents Association 2024
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