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Height of New Build on King's StreetQuestioned

Hammersmith Society says views will be spoilt

Although the demolition of the 1970s Town Hall extension to create a new landscaped square is appealing, the Hammersmith Society believes there are serious drawbacks to the scheme as currently proposed, in terms of excessive height and introduction of a footbridge which will have a drastic effect on Furnival Gardens, the lobby group said in a written statement.

“It is the role of the amenity groups to assess a major scheme like this critically,” says the response provided by The Hammersmith Society, an amenity and conservation group for Hammersmith, which has been working since 1962 for better buildings and green spaces in Hammersmith .

“There is a need to consider the detailed impact of the scheme on Hammersmith. The height of the office and residential development planned around the Town Hall, including two blocks of more than 14 storeys, will damage views from Hammersmith Bridge and the river and further afield, and create a precedent which will make it impossible to prevent a rash of very tall buildings further along King Street,” the conservation group said.

The public exhibition of plans did not make clear the impact of the height of the new development from the river and from the middle distance along King Street. It will dominate and overpower the surrounding low-rise streets, the statement said.

The Society is very concerned that the scheme is moving ever further away from the original brief which specifically linked the new scheme to the height of the Town Hall extension (7 storeys) and contained no reference to a footbridge.

“There will be a full-size supermarket on King Street on the site of the cinema (likely to be a Tesco, as they own that part of the site), with all the traffic problems and the impact on small local shops which that brings with it,” the society’s statement said.

The group expressed disappointment that the Council has turned its back on reconnecting Hammersmith to the river by surface-level crossings, as was advocated by the Council itself and Transport for London in the 2004 A4 Green Corridor study.

These include, surface-level crossings at, for example, three points along the A4 between the Flyover and Hogarth roundabout as part of a carefully planned traffic management scheme with lower speed limits would transform Hammersmith’s connections with the river and give full and safe access to Hammersmith for riverside residents, the lobby group said.

Instead, their statement says, the Council has opted for the footbridge which will take ball-playing and picnic space from Furnival Gardens for the earthworks required for its lengthy descent ramps.

“The footbridge will radically damage views of the fine Listed Town Hall,” Hammersmith Society’s statement said, the group added in the statement, “We feel the Council in its anxiety to achieve a new town hall extension is being insufficiently focussed in its approach to reconnecting Hammersmith to its riverside, and insufficiently rigorous with the developers on the height and density of the surrounding development.”

More information about the group can be found on www.hammersmithsociety.org.uk

July 19, 2010

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