FURIOUS residents have vowed to fight plans to build a high-rise development of student flats and other amenities on a former BBC site in White City.
Imperial College says its ambition to construct accommodation for 606 post graduate students, a four-star hotel, new medical research facilities and a 35-storey tower of flats for key workers will transform the area, which is on the former Woodlands site and part of the White City Opportunity zone.
But residents in nearby North Kensington fear the 'brutalist' scheme will dominate the skyline, blocking light and creating a precedent for other massive developments in the area.
They have taken encouragement from the success of campaign group Save Our Skyline, which forced Hammersmith and Fulham Council to withdraw its plans to build tower blocks of flats and offices at its headquarters in King Street.
Led by the St Helens Residents' Association, the residents' opposition has been backed my MPs Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Andy Slaughter. Chairman Henry Peterson said: "Hammersmith and Fulham Council planners seem preoccupied with an irrational desire to build tall towers to create a 'gateway to London' but we see no evidence of local demand for this type of development.
"Imperial College is selling the benefits of this as an academic campus but it transpires that they are looking for a very large commercial return and many residents feel they have been misled."
Mr Peterson has echoed the concerns of opponents to other major borough developments, such the Earls Court regeneration and the Westfield extension, that projects are being pushed through ahead of the Mayoral elections in May.
Mr Peterson and neighbours met Imperial representatives on Tuesday to discuss their concerns and were not encouraged by what they were told. "They said there would be no adjustments and that they are going to proceed with application in its current form but we will not give up," he said.
"This will blight the skyline and will be visible from as far away as Notting Hill. There is no good reason for it and we do not believe it is necessary."
Imperial says it has already made a number adjustments to the scheme following consultation with residents, including reducing the height of the four blocks of student housing, slimming the 35-storey building and minimising light 'spillage'.
Project director John Anderson, said: "Imperial West will provide real and lasting benefits for the capital, helping to grow the London economy, and has the capacity to generate and sustain over 3,000 jobs."
Hammersmith and Fulham Council say all planning applications in the borough are decided on their merits.