Centre piece of Imperial College's billion pound scheme for Unigate Dairy site
White City Campus development. Picture: St James Group.
A giant 32-storey tower could be built in White City, on a factory once owned by the makers of Utterly Butterly and Clover.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has approved, in principle, plans for Imperial College London University to build a hotel, 373 flats, offices, and a research-and-development centre. The latter would take up three quarters of the buildings’ new floorspace. The whole packages would cost an estimated £1.3bn.
The university says the new facilities will “enable scientific researchers, corporate partners and entrepreneurs to turn cutting-edge scientific research into real-world benefits for society”.
Now considered a brownfield site, the 14-acre plot, to the north-east of Wood Lane, is about the same size as seven football pitches.
An office building and empty warehouses still occupy it, after several were damaged by a fire in 2012. One of them was the Dairy Crest factory ― formerly Unigate Dairy ― where milk was pasturised and bottled until the early 2000s.
The university bought the site in 2013, and has partnered with St James Group, a property giant that is already building 1,800 homes on a former Marks and Spencer warehouse to the east of White City station.
Plans show the new development would happen in four phases, and could take up to 22 years to build.
The 373 flats would be built in the skyscraper, while the hotel would occupy an eight-storey building, and the university campus would be accommodated by buildings of six, 10 and 12 storeys tall.
About 35% of all the new flats are earmarked as “affordable housing”, including a mixture of social housing and kew-worker housing for university staff.
The university also proposes building a new bridge to the site, over the Central Line to Wood Lane. The site would also be accessed from under the Westway.
Named the “White City Campus” development, it forms part of the White City Opportunity Area, made up of several other mammoth redevelopment sites, with a total of 6,000 homes planned.
In a report, council planning officers said: “The proposals [would] create a vibrant and creative place with a stimulating and high-quality environment where people will want to work, live, shop and spend their leisure time.”
Once built, the 32-storey tower would be the second tallest building in the borough. Another development from the university, the 35-storey Imperial West Tower, has been built on the north side of the Westway, and is due for completion this year.
Council officers said: “It is considered that the impact on views from within Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea, would not be harmful to the local townscape. And the proposed development would positively contribute to the skyline of this part of White City.”
Councillors on Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s planning committee gave outline planning permission for the scheme on Tuesday, 3 September.
This means the council has agreed to the idea of the development happening further down the line.
But the developer will still need to submit a full application, including more detailed plans. This will still require full planning permission at a later stage, possibly in 2020.
Only two objections were raised by local residents.
Owen Shepherd - Local Democracy Reporter
September 5, 2019