Goldhawk Block Enquiry Begins

Residents prepare to give evidence

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A battle by residents to stop a new development being built in their neighbourhood will move up a gear this week as a planning enquiry begins.

Members of the Brackenbury Residents' Association have led a high-profile campaign to prevent 57 new homes and eight commercial units being built on the site of the Goldhawk Industrial Estate, which would be demolished to make way for the new buildings.

When Hammersmith and Fulham council gave planning consent last September for the controversial development to go ahead, residents wrote to the Secretary of State asking for a Public Inquiry. Since then, they have appointed a barrister and, through various fundraising events, have raised almost all of the £12,000 needed to pay his fees.

The hearings, which are open to the public, will take place at Hammersmith Town Hall from Tuesday, 25th May until Friday 28th May, and then again on 1 and 2 June. Hearing times are 10am until 5pm except Friday when it will be 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Residents say the Inspector will announce on Tuesday morning when evidence will be heard but they expect the developer, London Newcastle, to go first, followed by Hammersmith and Fulham Council and then the Brackenbury Residents' Association. Independent witnesses will also speak.

Local residents were outraged when the consent was granted last autumn, saying they hadn't been listened to. "We are very disappointed," said spokeswoman Rosemary Pettit at the time." The council took little notice of local residents' concerns."

Developer London Newcastle has said it intends to build three, two-storey mews houses, 21 town houses and 33 flats -  16 private and 15 shared ownership - on the Brackenbury Road site. The flats and commercial units will be housed in a new four storey building. Local people say this amounts to over-development of the area.

Demolishing the Goldhawk Estate's 11 light industrial estates will also affect the current tenants, including the Soundhouse recording studios which are used by BBC Radio as well as for editing films, and Innocent Drinks which employs 180 people, many of them living locally.

Following the consultation process, the developers, London Newcastle, said they had made “major changes” to the scheme in response to residents' concerns, including lowering the height and layout of the original proposals.

May 23, 2010