Hot, stormy and packed. Residents from Goldhawk Road and the surrounding areas crammed the ‘small hall’ in Hammersmith Town Hall last night to hear the planning committee debate the merits of this proposed development.
The proceedings got off to a slightly bizarre start as the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham solemnly declared that he had a potential conflict of interest as he had once accepted “hospitality” from Innocent Drinks, who are based on the proposed site and employ over 100 local people there. If the development goes ahead they will have to move out.
A sole planning officer was then handed the most un wanted job in the room – to lay out the council’s reasons for wanting the application to go ahead. Several shouts to “speak up” later we could hear her at the back of them room plough through the various objections that had been raised by residents, celebrities and eminent QCs alike. “No substantial points” were contained in letters from residents, John Humphrys had misunderstood the parking impact and the eminent QC, one of the leading planning lawyers in the country, had got it wrong because his brief was too narrow.
This was heard mainly in stony silence but then her presentation began to be punctuated by laughter as she declared that in response to residents objections the overall height of the redevelopment had been reduced by a glorious 0.5 metres, and that the materials used to build it wouldn’t stick out.
Cllr Cartwright (Labour) was asked to show a little more decorum as he addressed the planning officer but the sarcasm was dripping. The officer’s report had claimed Innocent Drinks “wanted” to move out. The officer admitted that at no stage had they said this. Even the Mayor (Conservative) questioned their assertions about parking, which they also had to concede.
But the vote when it came went the way of the Council and the redevelopment will now go ahead as planned. Residents are looking at what they can do next to save their neighbourhood, as they see it. This hasn’t gone away just yet, and come the general election I think its safe to assume that this will be a key issue. Where do Andy Slaughter and Shaun Bailey stand?