Interview: Brendon Walsh at Hounslow Council
Wed 3rd April 2013, 10:01 am
Sitematch London speaks to Brendon Walsh, director of regeneration, economic development and environment at the London Borough of Hounslow.
What is your role at the council? Responsibilities, duties, etc?
I have a broad portfolio that covers everything from bins and rats to property and planning.
If an investor or developer is looking for development sites in Hounslow, what types of site are available? Who owns them? What type of development is Hounslow looking for?
Hounslow is a large borough with all sorts of opportunities for further development. The first that we are pushing hard at the moment are the Hounslow High Street Quarter opportunity, which is a retail led, mixed use scheme in the heart of Hounslow town centre. The other big opportunity for us at the moment is Gillette Corner, the old razor blade factory which we want to see brought back into commercial use. We are keen to engage with developers as early in the process as possible so that we can provide input into what can be done on individual sites.
Why should an investor/developer invest in Hounslow?
Hounslow was identified in a recent report as being one of the top places in the country for investment. Our proximity to Heathrow Airport and Central London give us a significant advantage over other locations and our transport links are excellent. Hounslow remains a relatively affordable borough and as a result it's possible to make a decent return on investment. I'd also like to emphasise that we are a borough that is looking to attract investment so we will work very hard with developers to facilitate schemes moving forward.
What is Hounslow doing to make the borough more attractive to investors/developers?
The council is investing £800 million over the next 25 years into our streets, with most of the money being spent in the next five years. As a result, we will have a well maintained and up to date street scene that will compliment development. Council officers will put a lot of energy into trying to facilitate development with the proviso that it is of high quality.
Could you provide an update on the new Brentford stadium at Griffin Park? Has a planning application been submitted yet? What will happen to the old stadium?
The council is working hard with Brentford FC to bring forward plans for a new stadium and enabling development at Lionel Road. The application is imminent and we hope will achieve a planning consent before the end of the summer. The old stadium will then be available for redevelopment.
Could you provide an update on the Hounslow Town Centre regeneration plans? Are there any opportunities for developers?
The Town Centre Masterplan goes to cabinet this month and at the same time we are formally advertising for a developer partner for the High Street Quarter opportunity described earlier. We will be issuing a pre-qualifying questionnaire by the middle of the month, shortlisting will then take place by end June, interviews and presentations are scheduled for September and we aim to have a developer alongside us by the end of December.
On 16 April, Hounslow's investment magazine Great West will be launched at the Lampton Park Conference Centre. The event will begin at 17.00 and will see speeches by council leader Jagdish Sharma and Local Futures founder John Fisher. Also featured at the event will be a debate covering topics such as local employment and the future of Heathrow Airport. For more information about the event, please contact Natasha Pullan on 020 7978 6840.