Planners have given the go-ahead for a 1.9m sq ft underground warehouse at Hounslow’s 110 acre site at Rectory Farm, despite a last-minute intervention by Transport for London.
The innovative plan was approved by Hounslow planners at a meeting last night. However, a late report submitted to councillors, raised objections from TfL about onsite parking and traffic generation. They insisted their concerns be incorporated into a formal Section 106 planning agreement.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan now has seven days to intervene, if he chooses.
The report said: “TfL is only prepared to accept this proposal subject to the successful negotiation the above issues into the s106, reinforced by conditions. Whilst we have had a first draft of the s106 Agreement, this does not deal with all of the matters listed. We would advise the Mayor accordingly on referral to him which should include - given its importance -the final draft of the s106 agreement.”
“Transport for London reiterated that their concerns had not been fully removed, but positive discussions had taken place with regard to the S106 agreement.”
The warehouse, on the A4 Bath Road/A312 Parkway near Heathrow, is expected to be marketed to a single user attracted to a large unit close to the airport and central London. The premises are expected to appeal to those with highly automated systems, food/cold store or those seeking additional security.
Speaking exclusively to SHD, a spokesman for promoters Formal Investments said: “The top down construction method is frequently applied on building projects so doesn’t present a significant risk at Rectory Farm. There are however other technical challenges that will be further considered as the project progresses, most notably is potential impact on the already busy surrounding road network. The proposals have already been discussed with Transport for London and Highways England, reaching agreement as part of the planning application. “
“Yes, the cost will be higher than conventional warehousing due to the method of construction and need to locate the lettable space below ground. At this stage we’re not able to give an indication of comparison costs. “
“Market research has been conducted and there has been much interest in the proposition across the industry. We are not quoting rents yet but they will be competitive."