In October Hounslow LBC unveiled ambitious plans to bring back the glory days to the ‘Golden Mile’ on the Great West Road.
- Project: Golden mile redevelopment
- Objectives: To promote the golden mile as a world class development opportunity to bring in thousands of new homes, jobs and massively improved public transport infrastructure
- Timescale: An area action plan will be published in 2015. The project is likely to run up until 2030
- Cost to authority: £60,000
- Number of staff working on project: Three
- Officer contact details: Brendon Walsh
These proposals are central to our ongoing drive to regenerate the borough. We are convinced the golden mile can become a breathtaking gateway to central London.
We believe our drive to regenerate this area is a unique opportunity, not only for west London but for the whole of the capital.
The Great West Road is one of London’s few boulevards, which acts the capital’s – and the UK’s – international gateway to Europe’s busiest airport, Heathrow.
This uniqueness is replicated in our approach. We are looking to develop this world-class opportunity for developers and to create a real liveable space for residents as well as businesses.
We are breaking the barriers between the business and residential worlds. This fusion is the future of 21st-century development.
Our aim to improve the basic public transport infrastructure is also unique in that these improvements offer massive benefits for very little outlay in capital.
Too many infrastructure projects in the UK require vast amounts of public money, which often causes delay and reduces deliverability.
However, our simple plan to resurrect old freight line and create a new station with a connection to Crossrail will have a huge impact from very little outlay.
Value for money is a common thread in our proposals.
We know the public purse strings are tight. Value for money is the mantra of our time in the public sector. I believe the £60,000 spend on drawing up our plans will reap massive benefits for Hounslow and London for decades to come.
How we plan to do it
The Golden Mile is already home to some massive multi-national companies such as BskyB and Glaxo Smith Kline, but there is huge potential for other global businesses and small and medium enterprises to base themselves here too.
Our proposals look to bring in not only more business, thereby creating up to 28,000 new jobs, but also about 1,500 desperately needed new homes, many of which will be affordable.
In order to realise our ambition we commissioned some initial visioning work for the Golden Mile to produce a conceptual masterplan. We appointed Urban Initiatives to make a first study of the area, which was completed in April.
To make the transition from the conceptual to the deliverable, Urban Initiatives carried out a detailed capacity and masterplanning work for three discrete areas identified in the first piece of work: Blue Sky, Brentford Lock North and Kew Gate.
Early work focused on land owners and investors to help understand what existing companies’ future plans were, as well as the motivations and economic needs of investors looking to come into the area.
Another key consideration was the current capacity of public transport, and what the tipping point would be in terms of how investment in public transport would unlock future development and further investment opportunities.
All of this work is building towards a statutory planning document: the Great West Corridor Area Action Plan. Early consultation will begin in spring 2015, and it will seek to formalise the area’s designation with the mayor of London as an opportunity area.
This will mean the area action plan will serve as a blueprint for all stakeholders, including developers and Transport for London, to make sure growth is delivered in a sustainable way, with a high quality of design, supporting infrastructure, and community investment.
It will give developers and investors a high degree of certainty, and make sure development gives the best possible outcomes for Hounslow’s residents, businesses and visitors.
Our plans also look to tackle some key issues and problems that have held back the growth of the Golden Mile.
For instance, we looked to make some crucial improvements to public transport in Brentford and Hounslow.
For years the undoubted promise of the area has been unfulfilled due to poor connectivity. Our plans look to right this wrong by creating a new station near the BskyB campus and linking it to Crossrail as well as connecting existing stations along the Hounslow loop to HS2.
Historically workers in the offices along the Golden Mile have had poor access to Brentford town centre. We want to see more opportunities and facilities for employees working along the golden mile to spend their leisure time in Brentford. This will support local traders and boost businesses in Brentford so they too can share in new prosperity.
We also want to provide necessary infrastructure improvements, including relocating a bus depot to create the opportunity for a brand new school in Brentford town centre.
By realising the huge potential along the Golden Mile, we can also create better access to skilled jobs and training for local residents, especially young people.
The Golden Mile is also famous for its architectural significance. Heritage assets include some of the most attractive art deco buildings in the country. These jewels will be protected in the Great West Road’s golden future.
We will make improvements to the public realm so that pedestrians and cyclists find it easier and safer to move between stations, places of work, and leisure facilities.
But this is not just a trip down memory lane. We want to build a better future for the golden mile and create a sense of a community rather than just a busy through-route.
The regeneration of the golden mile is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Hounslow to radically improve the economic prospects of generations of residents and Londoners to come.
Brendon Walsh, director of regeneration, economic development and environment, Hounslow LBC