Transport for London are progressing plans to turn 31 unused railway arches into a diverse mix of commercial, leisure and retail space.
Transport for London’s plans for Wood Lane arches, which sit under the Hammersmith & City Line as it traverses the White City opportunity area between the Berkeley Homes and the Imperial College sites, would see new cycle parking and pedestrian passageways in an attempt to improve connectivity.
If granted planning permission, TfL will complete the Fletcher Priest designed project in two phases, coordinating with the construction timetables of the neighbouring developments.
The first phase would see TfL open the 19 arches nearest to Wood Lane Tube station in early 2018, when the John Lewis store at Westfield opens.
These will include 13 for retail and commercial uses, three as new pedestrian access routes and three for storage and cycle parking.
Phase two will see development of a further 12 arches as and when the Berkeley Homes scheme progresses.
“It is important to ensure that there are opportunities for independent retailers, businesses and start-ups – as well as the major stores and big names in Westfield,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration.
“Renovating and renting out the railway arches gives smaller companies a chance to benefit from the huge increase in footfall generated in Shepherds Bush in recent years.”
At present the designated arches beneath the Circle and Hammersmith & City tube lines – created in the 1860s – are inaccessible to the public, and are filled with rubble, rubbish and debris.
The newly restored arches could provide up to an additional 1,000sqft of commercial space. Those designated for retail use are expected to be offered on three-year contracts to small retailing chains and independents, although shorter rental terms could be available to local start-ups.