Bonnington Gillette Corner Hotel 2006 unrealised proposal
When Gillette owners, Proctor and Gamble, shifted the last of the Syon Lane production line to Łodz in 2006, the 42,000 square metre site was sold to Bonnington, the Ireland based international hotel and leisure firm. It had ambitions for an office park and a 500 bed hotel, later reduced to 300 beds then eventually none when the system of capital tanked in the late noughties and loans from the Allied Irish Bank could not be repaid.
More modern manufacturing plant used for film production
The site, is much more extensive than the three Grade II Listed elements of the Bannister Fletcher 1936 factory and office building, WFC Holden’s 1935 bank and the four separate cheeky cherubs lamp standards fronting Syon Lane. It extends beyond Syon Lane to include the former Pernod House on its corner with Great West Road and Harlequin Avenue making up the rear where later manufacturing buildings are now used for film production.
Extensive and uninterrupted space within the Grade II listed main building
After Bonnington, the whole site was bought after 2013 by the firm involved with the former EMI plant at Hayes, the Vinyl Factory Limited. They now say that applications to develop, extend and enhance existing film production and associated activities on the whole site are soon to be submitted to Hounslow Council, preserving the integrity of the listed elements there.
A chance discussion with Mr Matthew Rees, Hounslow Council’s Head of Planning Development, whilst visiting the former Williams Dye Works site recently, satisfied an eight year quest and yielded contact details for the Gillette Building owners. Arrangements for a tour for Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum (IBAF) Councillors followed, made for 5 August 2022; people from Osterley and Wyke Green Residents Association and Brentford Voice were invited too.
Main staircase to be restored subject to planning
The last time I went inside Gillette’s was in 1992 on a tour with my Acton College tutor group which also coincided with the planning application for building a Tesco store on the United Biscuits factory site. The event was an opportunity to nose, more than anything else, interesting to see the unfinished en suites on the first floor facing Syon Lane.
West facing ground floor former manufacturing hall
Planning applications are awaited but the developer has agreed to run a series of pre planning exhibitions and meetings on site in the run up to formal submission, perhaps later this year. As a member of the Hounslow Council Planning Committee, I shall be unable to make comment once proposals are lodged.
Main building, Listed south facing elevation towards th Bank
I do know, however, that my Ward colleagues Councillors Aftab Siddiqui and Unsa Chaudri are keen that any film production enhancement at Gillette opens up valuable work and training opportunities for the people of Osterley and Spring Grove as well as other parts of our borough. The owners are now briefed on the quality, practical learning delivered at West Thames College associated with digital film making, make up, hair and construction and we have put them in touch with college Principal Tracey Aust.
West facing elevation with Gillette Tower Clock under repair
Further reports will follow as and when. Look out for an item on the Gillette Tower clock restoration currently taking place, coming soon.
Lately, the Conservative candidates have been giving or residents false doorstep assertions that, should they be successful here in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward after Thursday’s council election, the Berkeley Homes Tesco Homebase proposals will be turned down. Sadly, this would not be the case. It’s nonsense and gives cruel, false hope.
Since May 2019, no other candidates have done more to battle the development proposals than Councillor Tony Louki, Councillor Unsa Chaudri, Aftab Siddiqui. We have faced derision and criticism and attempts made to prevent our participation but we have persisted and pursued in a way that no other local politician (actual or wannabe) aiming to represent our Ward has..
This will never stop and, the three of us shall continue to encourage the Secretary of State do dismiss these out of place and overbearing developments. Should he do the right thing and the developer decide to apply again, we will advocate for and pursue humane, socially viable and environmentally appropriate developments in Osterley and Spring Grove. Not just on Syon Lane but also elsewhere in our Ward.
There will soon be a change of leadership at Hounslow Council and, by having three provenly independently minded Labour Councillors representing you, residents would be assured that our influence would be fully maintained in a most likely majority Labour Council, after Thursday.
Together, we have been behind our residents, 100%, and have played the active part that our constituents have come to expect in all Ward matters here, and not just planning. We have shared intelligence, given advice, called public meetings, questioned the developers, challenged decision makers, sought information, spent many hours in meetings and, even during a busy election campaign, continue to participate at the Planning Inquiry. Despite their assertions, the Conservatives have been notably absent from the nitty gritty and the fights.
In a recent campaign leaflet, the Conservative Party candidates say that they will work closely with residents to oppose the Tesco Homebase development. There has been little sign of that close working over three years of the campaign. Two of them have separately turned up to a couple of demonstrations against the development; one held a placard for half an hour and left, the other passed the time chit chatting, the third was nowhere to be seen. The Labour Councillors have been a part of the campaign, attending meetings, and demonstrations, along with speaking and writing on the issue. We also note that one of the Conservative councillors on the Planning Committee bizarrely supported the Tesco development but not the Homebase one.
The following, however, is our record.
20 November 2019 – Labour Ward Councillors appraised 100+ residents of the Berkeley/Tesco/Prudential proposals at St Francis of Assisi Church which we organised and paid for.
At all times, these past three years of this saga, we could not be further away from being NIMBYs. We know that the borough needs housing but it should match the housing need (just 14% of the proposed units are three bedroomed), be appropriate for the location and on a humane scale. We are with our residents and remain staunch despite the efforts of others to prevent and curtail our continued proven success in representing here in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward.
Crocodile tears though, as usual from the local Conservatives. Since former Chancellor George Osborne’s Slums of the Future planning “reforms” of July 2015, Conservative legislation has put developers into a stronger position against councils and it is increasingly difficult and costly to refuse poor applications to develop. They say nothing of that in their literature, nor of property developers’ regular and hefty contributions to Conservative Central Office; Russian oligarch proportions.
At this critical stage wherever any embedded political loyalties may be, please maintain the investment of experienced and honest voices speaking up for everyone in Osterley and Spring Grove.
Don’t encourage their nonsense.
Vote for Tony Louki, Unsa Chaudri, Aftab Siddiqui
Thursday 5 May 2022 from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm
Published and promoted by Conor Hill on behalf of Labour candidates in the London Borough of Hounslow, all at 367 Chiswick High Road W4 4AG
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Wycombe House Cricket, Tennis and Social Club – new members and participants welcome
Told by a respectable local, that a “reliable source” told their spouse, “that Wycombe House has been offered £6m for the site”, I had a long telephone conversation with Mr Kevin Grindrod, Honorary Secretary of this, one of the long established sports and social clubs in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward, also founder participants in the Osterley Sports Network.
I know that all undeveloped space in our Ward, regardless of its mainly Metropolitan Open Land status, is coveted by developers and their mates. When, as the 55th Mayor, Wycombe House kindly hosted my charity cricket match, one of those mates was keen to learn, “who owns it?”.
To clarify his response to the £6m, I asked Kevin to drop me a line to share with those who had raised this, along with others, and he responded thus,
As per a couple of conversations can I categorically state that no purchase approach has been made to the Club nor has there ever been any intention of selling.
In fact, we’re beefing up our constitution and Trustees to ensure the Club remains as is. I explained this to you. Below is a digest of part of my General Secretary report for tomorrow’s (13.4.2022) Management Committee.
“Finally, I had a call from Tony Louki yesterday who had been contacted to be informed that the Club had been sold. I did assure him that it was completely false. Indeed, the whole point of the project I’ve just outlined above is designed to ensure we remain an independent, volunteer, not for profit unincorporated members’ club. Have any of you heard anything similar?”
I hope this puts various minds at rest. I suspect there’s some pre–election mischief going on?”
Seems like Kevin may have hit the nail on the head. Some folk must be desperate using the development bogey man at a time like this.
Desperate tactics – Silly Mid On
Our residents already know that their Osterley and Spring Grove Ward Councillors will stick our necks out to always support them against the inappropriate.
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A couple of weeks ago when the Chair of Hounslow Council’s Labour Group released a statement on violence against residents in East Jerusalem, one correspondent on social media asked whether councillors didn’t have any local work to address.
A colleague, Councillor Salman Shaheenresponded with a whole rake of items that he had been working on for his residents. Salman’s retort prompted me to sincerely flatter the comrade from neighbouring Isleworth Ward.
I’m no David Frost, neither can I sing it like Millicent Martin let alone want to like Lance Percival, but here are some highlights from That Was The Week That Was from the currently longest serving councillor for Osterley and Spring Grove Ward. Fresh out of the 55th Mayoralty, allow me to explain.
A more than an occasional issue at the wee Tesco on Spring Grove Road where delivery cages take up pavement space for often beyond the visit of the big trucks. Particularly tiresome this time was the storing of these contraptions right up against one of the newly planted liquidambar styraciflua Worplesdon or Sweetgum trees. This was reported to Hounslow Highways for enforcement via Fix My Street and am assured that this will not happen again … .
The Thornbury, London and Spring Grove Roads Triangle had been a badly regulated domestic and fly tipping hotspot for a long time before 2014. Premises above shops were once accommodation for the family or staff running a business below but for many years the space has been sub divided and often short term tenanted. This creates problems for household waste storage leading to outdoor mess. The council’s recycling and waste team issue purple bags for waste from flats above shops and have placed a number of coffers at close proximity for their containment until twice weekly removal. An improvement but mainly black bags still get dumped on pavements, added to by casual or opportunistic fly tippers; I always report this stuff to Hounslow Highways for removal via Fix My Street. Occasional placement of cctv cameras does help identify perpetrators who are pursued and fined by the council.
Visited Our Barn at Jubilee Lodge in Osterley Park to drop of some items commissioned for them to sell on behalf of the two charities (Our Barn and Hounslow Seniors Trust) chosen to profile and fundraise for when I was the 55th Mayor. Their garden is looking lovely because members of the community have been busy maintaining it throughout and I got given rhubarb that day.
Following an earlier shout, was at Oaklands Avenue, within the Osterley Park Conservation Area. Calling on neighbours either side who are concerned that improvement works next door had dragged for more than two years and not entirely as permitted. The additional impacts of having an empty and unfinished house close by including rodent attraction, disconnected drainage and other fails in the property were getting them down. A member of the council’s planning enforcement team is pursuing the owner to regularise and is already communicating with residents.
On Syon Lane with contractors, Hounslow Council and Hounslow Highways back in December 2020, I noted that a pedestrian crossing included as a traffic condition for the Bolder Academy planning permission was missing and suggesting that it was dropped. No way Joseph! Happy that it was added in April for safe pedestrian access although it seems that the solar powered Belisha beacons require sunshine, reported but with the proviso that no trees are damaged in order to facilitate.
I was the guest speaker at the annual general meeting Osterley and Wyke Green Residents Association talking about my time as the rollover Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow. Tales of two years, some of the 340 events attended, 13 Borough Council meetings chaired, two Remembrance Sundays each at 10 war memorials, still making time to do casework and to try to represent my residents. It was also a good reminder of the longevity of OWGRA with which I first developed a relationship during earlier planning events on the then United Biscuits site as well as working together on nonsense ambitions for other land in the Ward.
A flurry of discourse on a social media site that will not be named resulted in a few visits and chats with residents the previous week with copious amounts of pictures taken, reports made to Hounslow Highways via Fix My Street and emails to the Director of Environmental Services. The director, Mr Wayne Stephenson, already familiar with the issues rendezvoused for a whistle stop to locations from the Northumberland to Thornbury Road.
We met at Albury Avenue and on behalf of colleague Councillor Unsa Chaudri, who is currently engaged with residents on the state of pavements there. The footways, a victim of pavement parking but moreso HGVs and skip lorries delivering on this narrow crescent these past 30+ years, will be focussed on as a result.
A drive in my motor via College Road to show Mr Stephenson the loss of integrity of half its 1992 vintage speed tables since a new road coating a couple of years ago; raised by a resident who scientifically measured and compared the differences. On the ones affected by resurfacing, the current and previous speed limits were easily busted, the matter is, therefore, still live.
On to Borough Road where the previous week, more pictures of marked and unmarked road and pavement defects had been submitted after residents had been in touch. I had visited in response to folk writing, some had been fixed but wanted to show the general state before a proper response from council officers managing the Hounslow Highways contract.
Quick visits over at Thornbury Avenue and The Grove to look at other surfaces reported and then to Weston Gardens, a cul de sac with a dozen properties and equal number of defects. I had found with St Mary’s Crescent that the more a road’s potholes are reported and fixed, the further down the list a road goes for complete resurfacing; done now but it took five years since the first promise. I introduced Wayne Stephenson to my resident contact there and agreed that while the space currently appears messy, Weston Gardens is very likely to get the full treatment soon, what little pavement and carriageway it actually has.
Our last stop was at Banksian Walk, part of the former carriageway to Spring Grove House, nicely planted with an avenue of yews but currently suffering ivy creep over neighbouring boundaries and the resident had been in touch. Mr S agreed, more pictures taken and submitted with a service request to Hounslow Highways to manage the landscape plus one other to remove some graffiti on the wall there.
Sidmouth Avenue and Crawford Close, near where Thornbury Park meets the railway and a neighbourhood that has sought council support for their projects and ambitions since 2014; residents, naturally, receive my assistance. Excepting 2020, Saturday’s was the sixth annual neighbourhood tidy up and in seven years we’ve gone from a beyond brim skip to just 15 or so sacks of picked including from beyond these two roads, no longer any long term fly tips.
On the way home via Kilberry Close to check, on Councillor Chaudri’s behalf, the occasionally abused estate based recycling facility there where the council’s Recycling and Enforcement Teams have been making efforts to “educate” and “encourage” residents and managing agents alike. It’s Unsa’s case so I took pictures for her to share with the council teams.
Tuesday 25 May 2021
There. Done for now. Plenty more not to bore readers with but will be back with TW3.02 before too long. I will, naturally, welcome comments from Osterley and Spring Grove residents.
Following previous meetings with residents when the company emphasised its commitment to Isleworth should its planning applications come to fruition, the building, with planning consents for both commercial and residential is up for sale, with planning permission.
From the marketing site for the Adini Building, 891 Great West Road
Asking price is £6,000,000.
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Hounslow's streets and street services are having a major make-over. If you have problems or questions concerning any aspect of this work then please contact <a href="https://fms.hounslowhighways.org/.