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Grimshaw’s Homebase set for demolition after government turns down listing


The demolition of Grimshaw’s 1980s Homebase superstore in West London has moved a step closer after the government shot down an attempt to list the building

The Brentford DIY and gardening store was completed in 1987 and stands opposite Bannister Fletcher’s Gillette building.

However, plans drawn up by St Edward, part of Berkeley Group, would see the column-free 4,180m2 superstore demolished in favour of a scheme by Patel Taylor. 

A planning application for the site is expected to be submitted in spring, but a scoping application suggests the housebuilder wants to build around 450 homes on the site in a building up to 16 storeys tall. 

Berkeley also asked Hounslow Council for its views on constructing a 8,500m2 commercial floorspace, most of which would be used as a Tesco Extra, and a two-storey car park on the site. 

The plans are part of a wider redevelopment which would see a total of 2,250 dwellings built across two sites.

Grimshaw chairman Andrew Whalley is among campaigners saying the Homebase should not be pulled down. Writing in the AJ in August he called the new scheme ‘short-sighted and unsustainable’.

The Osterley & Wyke Green Residents’ Association has also opposed the plans, with more than 200 people signing its petition to have the Homebase listed, and more than a 100 people turning up to a public meeting about the development in November.

But the government has scuppered attempts to protect the Homebase building by approving Berkeley’s application to give it ‘immunity’ from listing for five years. 

In the same stroke, it rejected an attempt to list the building by the Twentieth Century Society, which had hailed the building’s pioneering architecture. 

Caseworker at the society Grace Etherington told the AJ: ‘The Society is naturally disappointed by the decision to refuse listing, particularly following the successful application for Sainsbury’s in Camden earlier last year.

‘The building draws references to the nearby Gillette Factory without resorting to pastiche; its drama and stature is drawn from the exposed tensioning system that is unapologetically high-tech.’

She added: ‘It is a great shame that this building may be lost to a short-sighted approach that would see it replaced with another supermarket. Put simply, it would be an unnecessary waste of an excellent building that is by no means obsolete.’

But Berkeley Group said the site currently only had a ‘single unsustainable use’  and ‘offers very little to the local community’. 

The housebuilder said: ‘The preservation [of Homebase] would jeopardise the provision of 2,250 much-needed homes within an identified Housing Opportunity Zone in the London Borough of Hounslow.

‘Working with the London Borough of Hounslow, and with the support of the Mayor of London, we are working on plans to redevelop the Homebase and nearby Tesco site to provide a comprehensive masterplan for this highly accessible part of Hounslow.’

Historic England and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have been contacted for comment. 


Readers' comments (3)

  • John Kellett

    Par for the course. VERY short-sighted and ignorant government view. Perhaps we need a virtual building museum with detailed BIM models of most demolished buildings before C20 architecture is erased from history.

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  • This comment could equally apply to the Durham University Student's Union. Oh for genuinely civilised government.

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  • Not sure why the Government and Historic England seem to have it in for 1980s? This is yet another great example of / Hi-Tech Architecture which we should be saving as opposed to demolished - similar to the unique but now demolished Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield (which I worked on 30 years ago). If it was a brutalist concrete building from the 1960s, they'd have almost certainly listed it!

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