Palais plans approved

London & Regional’s plans for the Hammersmith Palais site have been approved.

The plans involve the demolition of the Hammersmith Palais and its replacement with student accommodation. The new building, which will house 418 students in self-contained rooms, will be five storeys high at the front, facing onto Shepherds Bush Road, and ten storeys high at the back of the site, next to the underground line.

Around 2,800sq m of the 18,000 sq m development will be set aside for shops and leisure activities that could potentially include a health and fitness centre, cinema, bowling alley, pool hall or dance hall, and parking spaces for 222 cycles and four cars.

Although the former music hall – called the Palais de Danse when it opened as a ballroom in 1919 – will be demolished, conditions on the application mean that part of the original paintwork, stating the building’s name, must be kept. The new student accommodation will also mark the building’s past with a possible plaque and wall in the entrance hall that charts the Palais’s history and glory days, when famous bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Sex Pistols played there.

The site has had several planning applications attached to it, most recently in November 2009, to demolish the old Palais and build 429 student flats, shops and leisure units. That was turned down by the council, and developer London & Regional appealed the decision.

However, in July planning inspector, Terry Phillimore, upheld the council’s decision following a public inquiry the previous month. He agreed that the scheme would have a harmful impact on the character and appearance of Hammersmith Broadway conservation area and the adjoining Grade II listed police station.

Cllr Alex Chalk, chairman of the planning applications committee, said: “We felt able to approve the application this time as it was much more sympathetic to its surroundings and was in keeping with the neighbouring listed buildings of the police station and the library.”

“We are glad that the developers took on board comments from the committee and from the inspectorate to create a design that will now sit well within the Broadway area. We look forward to seeing the new building in place of the run-down shell the Palais has unfortunately become.”

The Palais de Danse, as it was originally called, opened in 1919 to host ballroom dancing and dance bands and remained a music and dancing venue until its closure in April 2007, when it was used as a nightclub. In the 1930s there was an ice rink in the Palais, which was home to the original London Lions ice hockey team.

 See previous coverage.

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