Literally ground-breaking plans for a 1.9m sq ft underground warehouse in Hounslow go before planners on Thursday.
Formal Investments have submitted the proposal to extract gravel from beneath the surface of 110 acres of disused land which sits at Rectory Farm, Heston, alongside The Parkway (A312) and Bath Road (A4).
The excavation will be filled with warehousing, with a new park created at ground level.
The site is under a mile from Heathrow Airport and half a mile from junction 3 of the M4 motorway.
The proposal comes as developers look at new ways to fit warehousing into the crowded Airport property market: along with underground warehousing, developers are considering multi-storey warehouse developments.
A report from Hounslow borough planners says the “very special circumstances” on the new park mean they are not raising objections to the proposal. But the final decision lies with councillors.
Formal Investments director Nicholas King said: “We are pleased to have worked so constructively with Hounslow’s planners and look forward to the planning committee considering our exciting proposal to create both economic growth and a high quality green public space free for all to enjoy.
“The plans have been widely consulted on, including with the Council’s Heston & Cranford Area Forum, with local politicians, nearby residents, community groups and the wider Hounslow community, Transport for London and the Greater London Authority.
A similar application was turned down by Hounslow in 2015 on the basis that it was an inappropriate development in the green belt, sand and gravel extraction would be to the detriment of neighbours, and insufficient information on environmental impacts.
This time 23 responses were received from neighbours, with 21 in support.