An old barracks in west London is going to be turned into 1,500 homes

History aficionados might soon be able to live in a home on an old barracks that dates back to the 1700s. A planning application has been approved for a massive new development of houses and a huge park, on Calvary Barracks in West Hounslow. The famous military site has links to Oliver Cromwell, Florence Nightingale and Winston Churchill.

Hounslow Council voted in favour of an application to build 1,525 new homes, hundreds of car parking spaces, retail units and over 10 acres of parks including sports pitches and playgrounds.

There were however mixed responses to the proposals that were submitted last year. The council received 27 letters of objection, as residents said they were worried a massive development would ‘overwhelm the skyline’ and be ‘out of character’ with the rest of Hounslow. There were also concerns that a growing population would overwhelm GP surgeries and exacerbate traffic. The Victorian Society also warned that listed buildings could be inflicted with ‘unjustifiable harm’. 

On the flip side, 33 people wrote in support of the plans. Historic England has also backed the development after amendments were made to conserve the character and history of the site. TfL has asked for more money to improve Hounslow West Underground Station including an additional gate and more step-free access.

Chris Wieszczycki, Principal Director at architecture firm TP Bennett said: ‘The reimagined Cavalry Barracks scheme will retain and convert the historical buildings into new homes, creating a community with a real sense of history. Our design is for a sustainable, biodiverse neighbourhood, grounded in the rich heritage of this ex-military site.

‘The former parade ground will be transformed into an attractive piece of green, open land with space for sports, recreation and play to be enjoyed by residents and the public. The scheme presents a unique opportunity to tell the story of a rich past while creating a sustainable, high-quality environment for the future.’

Whether this project is another gentrified nail in the coffin for an outer-London community, or will create affordable homes for Londoners in a housing shortage, remains to be seen. We just hope the houses won’t be haunted with soldiers passed!

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