By Hannah Neary, Local Democracy Service
Bosses at a housing association which wanted to build an 18-storey tower block where only women could live say they are “very disappointed” after the plans were rejected.
Women’s Pioneer Housing (WPH) wanted to build 270 new homes near White City, but the plans have been shut down by Hammersmith and Fulham council.
The accommodation would be used by women who cannot afford to rent in the capital. WPH said the new homes were “much-needed” and it spent four years designing the site.
The council was asked why the plans were vetoed, after a technical error meant the meeting was not broadcast in full, but grounds for rejection have not yet been officially divulged.
WPH is an association based in Hammersmith and Fulham which “challenges gender inequality and provides much-needed homes for women”.
It hoped to build a mix of flats and shared living spaces by bulldozing a block of one-bed flats and its current office building at 227 Wood Lane.
WPH chief executive Tracy Downie said there were more than 600 single women on the housing waiting list, and the new homes in Wood Lane would only be offered to existing borough residents.
She added: “We specifically choose to develop in areas where women feel safe, and increasing the homes in this borough is incredibly important to us.”
WHP applied for permission to build a 29-storey tower on the site, with space for 80 apartments, offices and 350 shared living spaces in January 2020. But the plans were reconsidered after complaints about the height of the building.
The new project plans included an 18-storey tower, with 60 affordable flats, a workspace, a gym, a launderette and a roof terrace.
WPH said in a statement: “Clearly we are very disappointed that our 227 Wood Lane planning application for 60 much-needed affordable homes for Women’s Pioneer Housing, alongside 209 innovative mixed-tenure co-living units has been refused.
“The application followed four years of engagement with the council, the GLA and the local community.
“As a result of this process, our proposals had been refined to address feedback, resulting in a significant reduction in height from 29 to 18 storeys, revised materials, improved public realm and community benefits.
“These amended proposals had received support from the GLA, a recommendation for approval from planning officers and widespread support from the local community.
“Alongside our partners Bridges Fund Management, a social impact investor, we will now take some time to carefully consider our next steps.”
A report by a council planning officer recommended that the updated plans be approved as long as there was no disagreement with the Mayor of London (GLA).
It said: “Officers consider that the residential use development is appropriate in this location.” But the plan was rejected on October 11.
WPH was set up in 1920 to give women more affordable homes amid the fight for gender equality. The association aims to help women who struggle to rent privately and it owns around 1,000 properties in west London.
Pictured top: An artists’ impression of the proposed tower block (Picture: Wood Lane Real Estate LLP/Women’s Pioneer Housing/Alford Hall Monaghan Morris)