Grainger and Helical Bar have submitted their plans for the redevelopment of King Street in Hammersmith.
The development will create a new town square on the site of the Town Hall extension, which has routinely been voted ugliest building in Hammersmith. The square will open up views of the listed Town Hall, and provide better links to the Thames riverbank.
The Sheppard Robson designed scheme also includes cafes and restaurants, 320 new homes, a new council office building, and a community sized supermarket, and in addition to the Town Hall extension, involves the demolition of the cinema, a row of houses and a Quaker meeting house.
David Walters, of King Street Developments, told the Fulham Chronicle the development would ensure that Hammersmith Town Hall “remains at the heart of the borough’s civic life”.
There has been recent opposition to the scheme from the “Save Our Skyline” (SOS) campaign, who are worried about the impact of the fourteen storey residential blocks on the Hammersmith townscape.
In a nod to this, Walters said: “We are aware that there are people who have concerns about certain aspects of the plans, but we believe that this is the only way of unlocking this site to deliver a scheme which can benefit local residents and business for decades to come.”
LB Hammersmith & Fulham commissioned Price Waterhouse Coopers to review the scheme and see whther it could be scaled down. They have reported any reduction in the height of the blocks could put the scheme at risk, economically. Additionally, the Council says that if the scheme does not go ahead there will be significant costs to them in either refurbishing or replacing the Town Hall extension.
Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh has said: “If the scheme does progress, the council will not be spending one penny on the development. However, if the scheme does not go ahead there will be costs. This is because the town hall extension has come to the end of its life and needs to either be demolished or extensively refurbished. If the project does not go ahead taxpayers will need to spend around £18m to move council staff temporarily while the extension is brought up to standard.”
The Price Waterhouse Cooper report said the developer is using a ‘reasonable approach’ with projected returns which appear ‘lower than those that we would typically expect for a project of this type’.
It said: “Any reduction in the enabling elements of the scheme would worsen project viability and could potentially make it undeliverable.”
SOS Chairman John Jones may not be convinced, he told the Chronicle: “All the council is getting out of this is some more office accommodation that it doesn’t need”.