Meet the Council: The London Borough of Hounslow

Sun 21st January 2018, 12:58 pm

Sitematch London spoke to Marilyn Smith, chief planning officer at Hounslow Council, about the Cavalry Barracks, a landmark opportunity currently marketed by the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Can you say something about your role and responsibilities at the council?

My title is chief planning officer. I manage the planning function within the council. That is, strategic planning, local plan, development management and planning enforcement. The growth and delivery team also comes under me, where we work on housing zones, and other schemes to unlock sites to deliver development.

The MOD is looking to release the Cavalry Barracks site in Hounslow West. What opportunities can this site offer to interested developers?

This site offers a great opportunity for large-scale residential development within a heritage site. The whole site is a conservation area, and there are numerous listed buildings throughout the site. The central feature is the original barracks building with cavalry parade ground in front, and this should form the main feature of any scheme. Retaining and improving the historic features will be challenging, but will result in a unique development in the suburban location.

How does this site fit within the council's wider regeneration strategy?

Hounslow Council is seeking a large-scale delivery of housing to accommodate the growing population. We are also seeking to underpin the employment structure within the borough. We are doing this through a number of strands of work, particularly by identifying sites in the Local Plan (currently out for review) and placing sites on our brownfield register. This site has been allocated for residential for some time, so has the policy designation to unlock development and deliver a large number of new homes.

How can developers benefit from discussing this site with you at the next Sitematch?

The site has particular constraints, and indeed benefits, arising from its unique heritage setting. It will take a skilled developer to take on the challenge of maximising residential development with protecting and enhancing the historic environment.

As an overall comment, at Hounslow we are pleased to talk to all developers on all our sites. We work hard to identify potential development sites, and then allocate them in the Local Plan so that there is policy underpinning them. This process of identification of sites is ongoing, and we are always happy to hear of new sites that may be coming available from developers. We run a pro-active pre-application advice system, and embrace early engagement with developers.


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