THE new teaching campus and housing development being built in Shepherd's Bush - including the 35-storey 'west London Shard' - will benefit residents and improve the neighbourhood, says the council.
Controversy continues to surround the Imperial West project in Wood Lane, which was given planning permission last month, with campaigners concerned about the scale of the project and its effect on the character of the area.
Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter this week argued there will be a lack affordable housing within the 192-flat, 141-metre tower - likened to the Shard in London Bridge because of its similar shape - and claims Hammersmith and Fulham Council has broken mayoral guidelines in approving the scheme.
But the authority and its development partner Imperial College London insist the project will bring advantages to one of the most deprived areas of the borough, including to residents' health.
It says new children's play areas within a large public square, more cycling routes, walking paths and public fitness facilities will encourage people to get active and increase thenumber of those living in the ward who deemed to be in 'good health'. Officially, just 64 per cent of White City residents meet that description compared to the borough average of 73 per cent.
Other benefits will include 3,200 jobs, from academic professors to cleaners, and the use of the new teaching facilities for local schoolchildren.
But Mr Slaughter believes the borough's poorer residents will be disadvantaged, specifically those on the housing waiting list.
Some 59 of the flats - just under one third - will be classed as 'affordable' set aside for key workers from the health sector and college earning between £19,000 and £60,000 a year.
Mr Slaughter said: "That's not affordable for most people. In reality, the scheme has zero social rented housing and it makes a mockery of the mayor's guidelines that new developments should have 40 per cent affordable homes.
"If you add in similar schemes at Westfield, the Dairy Crest site and the BBC Television Centre, it is a complete nonsense. Shepherd's Bush is being obliterated."
In reply to Mr Slaughter’s criticism, council leader Cllr Nicholas Botterill said: “Our borough is in desperate need of more homes that are affordable for hard-working people on modest and middle incomes who are finding it incredibly tough to get onto the property ladder.
"In this particular ward, an enormous 50 percent of the housing is social rented. That compares to a London average of just 25 per cent and a west London average of 21.5 per cent. This council is committed to creating a Borough of Housing Opportunity where hardworking local residents can have a realistic chance of owning their own homes.
“Schemes like this will help us to fulfil that aim and also create thousands of jobs and millions of pounds worth of community benefits.
Imperial West’s project director John Anderson said: “Imperial West will provide a wide range of opportunities right across the employment spectrum. There will be highly skilled technical and administration jobs in the incubator, offices and jobs for healthcare professionals, combined with jobs in retail, health and fitness, hospitality, childcare and community facilities.”
Both partners say the project will bring other benefits to what is one of the most deprived areas of the borough, such as a children’s play area within a large public square, more cycling routes, paths and fitness facilities to raise health levels. Just 64 per cent of White City residents are deemed to be in good health compared with a borough average of 73 per cent.
IMPERIAL WEST BY NUMBERS:
- £8,000,000 - amount of money Imperial must contribute to wider community and transport improvements
- 4,000 - size in square metres of new public square
- 3,200 - jobs created by scheme
- 606 - student flats, already built
- 192 - number of flats in the 'west London Shard'
- 141 - height in metres of the tower
- 59 - number of flats for key workers
- 13 - storeys, taken up by the new hotel
- 10 - percentage of flats suitable for disabled
- 6 - new buildings in total, including for research, teaching, accommodation
- 5.60 - acres, the size of the plot
- 4 - stars for hotel
- 1/2/3 - flats will have mixed number of bedrooms, including studios