West London new homes: big plans for Hammersmith
* Plans are being considered to reconnect Hammersmith's town centre with the river by replacing the crumbling flyover with a tunnel.
* A development boom is starting in west London as new houses and flats are being built in Hammersmith, Ravenscourt Park, Brackenbury Village, Chiswick and Fulham.
* Hammersmith's public parks will get a makeover and a hub of new office spaces, shops and restaurants will be created.
There are big plans in the pipeline to reconnect Hammersmith’s town centre with the river. Next week a public exhibition explores the merits of replacing the ugly and crumbling flyover, closed last year for crisis repairs, with a tunnel, financed by developing the land above it. Backed by Mayor Boris Johnson and Hammersmith & Fulham council, a tunnel or “fly-under” would provide the great benefit of freeing up two-thirds of a mile of land.
“We want to get people thinking and talking about our local cityscape, currently cut in half by the flyover and A4,” says The Hammersmith Society. “A tunnel would bring an overwhelming social and environmental payback, making it easy to walk to the river from all parts of Hammersmith, and dramatically improve the dreadful air quality.”
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The flyover was built 50 years ago and split the town in two, cutting off the Thames and eating into Furnival Gardens, a popular riverside park. But it did make Hammersmith an important business hub on a direct route from Heathrow to the West End, and a good place to live if you want to get to both.
In west London it is about as close in as you get to the centre and yet still have a choice of relatively affordable flats and family houses, with a lively arts scene — led by the Lyric, Apollo and Riverside Studios.
New flats and houses for Hammersmith and its waterfront
Encouraged by the local council, which has identified a “chain of opportunities from Earls Court to the Hogarth Roundabout”, developers are homing in on Hammersmith and its waterfront.
St Peter’s Square is one of the area’s most coveted addresses, with a collection of grand, stucco-fronted houses dating from the 1820s alongside an imposing domed church from the same era and listed public gardens.
Crest Nicholson has acquired a rare plot moments from the square to create a new scheme of 33 apartments and eight townhouses built in Georgian style to match the surroundings. Called St Peter’s Place, prices start at £670,000 for a one-bedroom wheelchair adaptable apartment and from £790,000 for a two-bedroom apartment. Houses will be released for sale in 2014. Call 020 3640 7555.
New rooftop pavilions for in Ravenscourt Park
The west side of Ravenscourt Park is a leafy conservation area with pockets of charming Regency and Victorian villas and terraces plus a pretty square that opens onto the park. Here, too, is the former Royal Masonic Hospital nurses’ accommodation, a handsome listed Art Deco building which developer Linden is refurbishing into 68 homes.
A four-storey extension with rooftop pavilions is being added and an underground car park created behind the lodge-style entrance. Called Ashlar Court, prices start at £750,000 for two-bedroom apartments. Call Linden Homes on 01883 334443.
Lyric Square to double in size as public areas get makeovers
Public realm improvements in the town centre include a doubling of the size of Lyric Square. On King Street, which is Hammersmith’s high street, a car park site is set to become Sovereign Court — 418 new homes plus offices, shops and restaurants — only 150 metres from the Tube station. Contact St George on 0800 008 6977.
Brackenbury Village gets a new addition
An industrial estate bordering fashionable Brackenbury Village is being transformed into an open courtyard complex of 64 mews houses, townhouses, apartments and loft offices for creatives. Londonewcastle, the developer, has opted for modernist-style architecture — restrained, with cube-like brick elevations — that melds nicely with the surrounding Victorian terraces. The neighbourhood has a well regarded local primary school, smart restaurants, gastropubs and a park. Call 020 7543 1888.
Chiswick Mall: The secret riverside strip
Other former industrial sites are being unlocked around Chiswick, too. Head out of central London along the always busy Great West Road and it is impossible to imagine that a hidden riverside strip exists beyond a high-walled brewery complex.
But explore a little and you will find Chiswick Mall and a listed Victorian pumping station that has been transformed into 43 homes with direct access to the riverbank via a private gated entrance.
Hammersmith’s thin strip of riverside is a continuation of Chiswick Mall, a remarkably tranquil section of the Thames with a clutch of boat clubs and one of London’s oldest and most charming riverside pubs, The Dove, originally a Georgian coffee house.
Developer St George has upgraded the riverside promenade at Hammersmith Embankment and put in a new park as part of its 744-home Fulham Reach scheme. What was previously an out-of-bounds location for homebuyers is now a convivial residential address. Apartment blocks have expanses of glass and big balconies to make the most of the river outlook.
Residents have exclusive use of a spa, cinema screening room, snooker room and wine cellar as well as a 24-hour concierge. River Café, the lauded restaurant where Jamie Oliver cut his teeth, is housed in an adjacent wharf. Prices from £749,950, rising to £8.95 million for a wow-factor penthouse with 5,266sq ft of space. Call 020 7870 9500.
Improvements to business quarters in Hammersmith
Planners are not neglecting Hammersmith businesses. West London’s ascendancy as the capital’s economic powerhouse has been challenged by Canary Wharf and the Olympic zone in the east, but this side of the city is fighting back.
Hammersmith Grove is the first high-quality office building for more than a decade and will bring 275,000sq ft of space to the town centre. The BBC’s relocation from White City has created an opportunity for a mega redevelopment of the Wood Lane site, just over the Hammersmith border.
Imperial College is building a new campus, which will include a centre of excellence for medical and academic research plus post-graduate accommodation and key worker housing, while the wider masterplan envisages up to 1,000 new homes and 4.5 million sq ft of office space on 43 acres of land surrounding listed Television Centre. Even Westfield is getting in on the act, with an expansion of the shopping mall and 1,522 homes in a 20-storey tower.