Together the two sites, which were not allocated in the Local Plan, will deliver up to 2,150 dwellings in flatted developments rising to 17 storeys, together with a replacement retail foodstore and other associated development.
The London Borough of Hounslow (‘the Council’) resolved to grant planning permission in respect of the twin applications submitted by St Edwards Homes Ltd, only to see the Secretary of State call in the applications pursuant to Section 77 TCPA. A public inquiry was held over a number of weeks between March and September 2022, with the Inspector subsequently reporting to the Secretary of State on 14th December 2022. However, it was not until the 11th December 2023 that the decision was ultimately issued.
The Inquiry addressed a wide spectrum of issues relating to design, transport and housing policy, but much of the evidence concerned heritage impacts. In particular Historic England, who actively participated and were represented at the Inquiry, alleged harm to heritage assets of the highest significance. Most notably, it contended that the proposed development would cause harm to the settings of Grade I Listed Syon House, Grade I Listed Osterley House, the Registered Park and Gardens at Syon and Osterley (Grade I and II* respectively), and also the World Heritage Site (and Grade I Listed Registered Park and Garden) at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
The Inspector rejected the views of Historic England, following the concession by its witness that the heritage value of the assets would be broadly the same whether the development proceeded or not. Nevertheless, at the conclusion of a report running to more than 200 pages, she recommended to the Secretary of State that both applications be refused. However, the Secretary of State disagreed with the Inspector, finding that the impact of the developments on the character of the area would be less than the Inspector had proposed.
On that basis the Secretary of State determined to grant permission for both applications.
Alexander Booth KC appeared on behalf of the Council in support of the Scheme.