Council not playing ball over new park

Rectory Farm

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Hounslow council planners have refused planning permission for a new public park for Cranford and Heston.

It is a huge disappointment for Formal Investments and its team of architects, landscapers and engineers. They had spent the last three years developing the proposal which were backed by an overwhelming majority of the public following wide-ranging consultations.

The plan involved extracting gravel from beneath the surface of the disused, land known as Rectory Farm, by the use of the established ‘sealed top-down construction’ method which, compared to traditional open-cast mining, will minimise the impacts on local residents.

Gravel would be taken from beneath the surface and subterranean warehouse space constructed in the resulting voids which would be available for storage and other activities, creating a significant number of new jobs.

On the surface, a new 110 acre public park would be created alongside The Parkway at Cranford and Heston - the largest new park in West London for more than 100 years.

Formal Investments director Nicholas King said: “Clearly we are very disappointed. Before we make a full response we need to fully review the council’s decision.

“The intention was - and remains - to give local people the tremendous legacy of a public park that would be free to enjoy, with paths for walking and cycling, sports pitches, communal gardens, meadows and much more.

“Over the last three years, an immense amount of work has gone into exploring how the much needed aggregates could be extracted with minimal impact on neighboring communities.

“Our extensive and open public consultations engaged a huge number of local people and their representatives and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

“We hope to be able to keep the dream of this new park alive and to give people in Hounslow the good news they have long been waiting for.”

More than 350 initial questionnaires were completed, with the great majority of people supportive of the plans – 97.5% liked the idea of a new park, 94.6% wanted the land turned into a public park rather than returned to farming after the gravel is.