Gunnersbury Triangle Estate Residents in Car Park Stand Off

Say TfL is starting work before permission granted

Residents surprised to see building equipment appear on Tuesday morning
Residents surprised to see building equipment appear on Tuesday morning

A stand off has developed between contractors working for Transport for London and residents of the Gunnersbury Triangle Estate who are trying to stop work taking place to build a car park before planning permission has been granted.

TfL has submitted a planning application to redevelop a vacant plot of land near Princes Way into a car park that would accommodate 65 vehicles. It says that the site is needed because an existing car park on Bollo Lane is no longer available due to building work about to commence on its major housing development. It adds that the plot is a hot spot for flytipping and is needed for tube drivers and other staff who work unsocial hours.

The land used to belong to the Gunnersbury Triangle Estate but was sold to London Transport in the seventies. Originally it was bequeathed by the Rothschild family to the nation after the First World War and is part of a Conservation Area including Gunnersbury Park deemed 'Heritage-At-Risk' by Historic England. Due to the exceptionally high numbers of volunteers from the estate in the 1930s, the estate was granted a special dispensation by the then council for a private bar to provide drinks for soldiers returning home after World War Two.

Opponents of the car park claim that the plan is going through by stealth. Although residents of the estate were informed a few weeks ago about the plan, no notices were placed around the local area and an official notice was not put in a newspaper in general circulation in the area. Officially the last day for objections was this Tuesday (13 October).

As the application had yet to be considered by Hounslow’s planning team, residents were surprised when heavy construction equipment appeared at the site on Tuesday morning. In the face of objections from local people, the contractors contacted their bosses to await instructions but said they had been told they would be digging 3 metres holes at the site as exploratory work for the scheme.

Contractors start digging holes where the car park is planned
Contractors start digging holes where the car park is planned

TfL decided not to go ahead with using the 'Buckets and Breakers' earth-mover, supplied by contractor BAM, after a fox ran out of the shrubland which forms its natural habitat at around midday.

The appearance of a fox put the use of heavy equipment on hold
The appearance of a fox put the use of heavy equipment on hold

An employee of BAM told residents the earth mover was needed to do a survey although they also admitted using radar previously and that, since anomalies had been found, it was necessary to dig 1 metre holes of 3 metres depth. Residents say the work would destroy habitats for longstanding fox and hedgehog families.

Hounslow Council was called to report the issue with wildlife but the planning enforcement team referred the caller to the Environment Agency. When the agency was called in turn, it referred the matter back to the council who reportedly stopped taking calls about the matter.

Transport for London has been approached for comment.

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September 14, 2022