Mortlake development hearing cancelled due to Hammersmith Bridge concerns

The Mayor of London’s office cancelled a key hearing on a development in Mortlake last month due to concerns about how the long-term closure of Hammersmith Bridge would affect plans.

Plans to build 1,250 houses on the Mortlake Brewery site could have been approved within five days of the virtual meeting which was due to take place on November 25.

It was cancelled the week before, however, after Richmond Council and campaigners including Mortlake Brewery Community Group (MBGC) successfully argued that the plans did not fully account for the long-term closure of the nearby bridge.

CLOSURE CHAOS: Hammersmith Bridge is expected to be shut for seven years
[Credit: Clare Delmar]

They pointed out that the plan proposed by Reselton, a spin-off company of Singapore-based property developers City Developments Ltd, relies on the bridge being operational in its assessment of transport options for residents of the development.

Peter Eaton, Co-chair of MBCG, said: “We are heartened that the GLA have postponed the hearing to seek improvements to the scheme.

“The latest scheme is so much bigger than that which Richmond considered in January and is simply unsustainable.

“It takes no account of this site’s severe constraints of a single, already congested access, locked between the river and railway lines. It’s an urban type imposition on an historic, suburban environment.

“Our Community Plan presents a more sustainable alternative approach with genuine affordable housing.”

BREWING TROUBLE? MBCG oppose the plan to develop Mortlake Brewery (pictured) for several reasons [Credit: MBGC]

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment, Sustainability Committee for Richmond Council, said: “I welcome the acknowledgement that further modelling is required.

“As the current plans for the Stag Brewery rely on the Bridge being open by the time the development is fully operational, further analysis is essential.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office said it would be inappropriate to comment given that the Mayor has not made a decision on the plans yet.

MBGC held a virtual zoom protest one day after the meeting was supposed to take place at which 73 supporters held up signs urging the Mayor to reject the plans for the development.

Francine Bates, the other co-chair of MBGC, explained why the group are opposing the plans.

She said: “The scheme in front of the mayor at the moment is too dense, resulting in significant high buildings which will tower over the houses in the local area.

“But the biggest problem is where are all these people going to go, how are they going to get to work, how are they going to go about their business?”

CAMPAIGN HQ: The MBCG plan their campaign over biscuits and a brew
[Credit: MBGC]

Other concerns are that the site, which backs onto the town’s high street as well as being by the river, is too constrained for a development of this size.

In their Community Plan, the group’s advocates 700 houses being built on the site instead of the proposed 1,250 by the developers.

Bates added: “We’re not saying don’t build on it, it’s a brownfield site that needs to be developed, it’s in a very beautiful spot.

“But don’t overdevelop it – that’s our big message.”

Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney also opposes the plans and has written to the Mayor’s office.

Featured Image: The MBGC zoom protest took place from 6-6.30pm on Thursday 26 November [Credit: MBGC]

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