Celebrities Split over Redevelopment of Riverside Studios
Ahead of planning decision expected on December 19
Celebrities appear to be split over the proposed redevelopment of Hammersmith's famous Riverside Studios following the submission of a planning application to Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
As we reported in November Riverside's website says that famous faces from the world of theatre and entertainment, including Jo Brand, Bill Bailey and Simon Callow have joined its Artistic Director William Burdett-Coutts in supporting the scheme.
However, other well known figures including playwright and local resident Stephen Poliakoff, actresses Harriett Walter and Francesca Annis and artist Sir Peter Blake have condemned the plans, and are among many well known names who have signed a letter to the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council opposing the plans in their current form and asking for the consultation period to be extended.
Local people and groups, including The Crisp Road Residents' Association, Hammersmith Embankment Residents Association, the Hammersmith Society and The Queen Caroline Residents and Tenants Association have also expressed their reservations about the scheme.
Residents held a well attended meeting last month to discuss these reservations, though no one representing the developers chose to attend.
In September, London Developer Mount Anvil, working in conjunction with A2 Dominion, submitted the application to comprehensively redevelop Riverside Studios and the adjacent Queen’s Wharf building as part of a combined mixed-use development.
Demolition of the existing buildings and the redevelopment of the site to create a six to eight storey building with balconies and roof terraces and the provision of 165 residential units (Class C3) and 8,633 sq.m of commercial floor space for television and film recording studios, storage, dressing rooms, offices, theatre, cinema and other facilities ancillary to those uses including cafe, restaurant, bar and other uses for the sale of food and drink, together with car and cycle parking, storage and plant space and the creation of a riverside walk along the frontage of the site facing the River Thames.
You can read full details of the application here.
Peter Gill, the founding director of Riverside Studios described the studios included in the application as a "figleaf" for a property development which would be too big and of insufficient quality for an important site by Grade II-listed Hammersmith Bridge, and added that it was being rushed through without adequate public consultation.
He added: " This is a pedestrian building, a great big block which has no grandeur, yet this is a very important part of the Thames. I think the bluff should be called."
Clive Fenton, chief executive of Mount Anvil said: “As a result of consultations, amendments to the scheme were made in response to feedback to address any concerns. Given the extensiveness of the consultation process we have undertaken and that the planning application has been submitted, we feel it is appropriate for the council to consider the scheme on its merits.”
Hammersmith and Fulham's Planning Applications Committee is expected to decide whether to approve it on December 19.
Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Labour Group of Councillors in Hammersmith and Fulham criticised the timing, saying: " It's now apparent that the application for the Riverside Studios/Queens Wharf scheme will be heard at a specially arranged meeting of the Planning Applications Committee on 19th December.
" At just six days before Christmas it appears this date has been chosen to curtail the numbers of local residents likely to attend. I encourage anyone who is interested to come along. It starts at 7pm and will most likely be held at Hammersmith Town Hall."
December 11, 2013