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HTA's controversial tower block behind Hoover Building rejected

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HTA Design’s controversial proposal to build a 22-storey tower behind the Hoover Building in north-west London has been rejected by Ealing Council

Developer Amro wanted to build 305 homes on a petrol station and part of a car park in Perivale, near the Grade II*-listed 1933 Hoover Building.

Ealing’s planning officers had recommended the scheme for approval; but councillors voted against the scheme, arguing it would have a detrimental impact on the Hoover Building.

The announcement was celebrated by local residents, who had launched a campaign against the project they said would ’desecrate England’s most famous Art Deco building’.

The plans had been criticised by Historic England, which argued that the scheme would undermine the ‘landmark status of the Hoover Building’.

The heritage body reminded the council that the former vacuum cleaner factory on the A40, designed by Wallis, Gilbert and partners, was ’among the most celebrated examples of Art Deco architecture in England’.

It wrote: ’The Hoover Building was designed to be an eye-catching landmark in fleeting views along the A40. […] the proposed tall building would appear as arguably the dominant feature along much of this stretch of roadway.’

While Historic England said it was encouraged by the fact the applicant had lowered the height of the scheme, it remained concerned about the proposed tall building development ‘in this important historic place’.

In documents lodged with Ealing Council, HTA said its part 22, part 10-storey scheme had been designed to respect and complement the architecture of the Hoover Building. 

It said the ambition was to achieve this by ’avoiding pastiche replications’ and instead pursue a ’modern interpretation of well-known Art Deco motifs’.

The former Hoover factory’s main building opened in 1932 and was constructed using a steel-reinforced concrete frame. It has a ‘snowcrete’ exterior, a type of Portland-limestone cement with a white pigment, and Egyptian-inspired details on its façade.

In the late 1980s the Hoover Company stopped producing vacuum cleaners and Tesco purchased the site. A factory building located behind the main office building was demolished but the significant structures were preserved and restored.

After many years lying unused, the main Hoover Building was acquired by IDM Properties in 2015, and converted into 66 luxury flats in a scheme designed by Interrobang.

The main Hoover Building was given Grade II*-listed building status in 1980, with the Canteen Building also granted Grade II*-listed building status in 1981.

A spokesperson for Amro said: ’Given the comprehensive consultation process to committee with the London Borough of Ealing, the GLA, Historic England, local bodies and groups and receiving the recommendation to approve the scheme we are obviously disappointed with the decision and we do of course appreciate the points raised by the committee.

’As a small developer, we want to deliver exceptional buildings and create great communities in which to live and socialise. We appreciate the fact that the committee noted that the existing site of the petrol filling station and car park, is suitable for development and we will be considering the options available to us.’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Doesn't sit right. The Hoover Building itself has been transformed into fancy overpriced flats.. hardly a precious public amenity.

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  • What 'doesn't sit right'? - or are you referring to some of the Ealing Council planning officers' more surprising decisions over the years?

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