BBC TV Centre plans approved

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BBC TV Centre plans approved

Friday December 20, 2013

Plans to regenerate the world famous former BBC Television Centre in White City - preserving the Grade II listed central ring, the famous Studio 1 and other historic features at their heart - have been approved.

Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s Planning Application Committee gave the green light last night (Dec 19) to Stanhope, the new owner of the five-hectare site on Wood Lane, to build more than 1,000 homes, a hotel and new shops.

The plans - which bring £10 million in community improvements and could create around 2,745 jobs according to the developers - will enable the centre to remain at the heart of the community where it has stood for the past 53 years.

The scheme involves replacing four television studios, the restaurant and drama blocks, the east tower and connected buildings with up to 1,025 homes, a hotel, cinema, health and leisure club, restaurants, cafes and offices.

One storey will be added to the height of Television Centre and two will be created at basement level, while the façade of the Grade II listed building will be retained and restored. The well-known central ring, Studio 1 and Helios sculpture will also remain with the current courtyard being opened up to create a new public space and a new path that links Wood Lane to Hammersmith Park.

Cllr Mark Loveday, H&F Council’s cabinet member for strategy and communication, said: “Television Centre holds a special place in many people’s hearts and by approving these plans we have immortalised the key elements of this iconic building for the nation. The remodelled centre will still be recognisable to the countless generations of children and adults who watched well-loved programmes like Blue Peter, Crackerjack and Dr Who which were all made here.

“We are thrilled this scheme keeps this wonderfully evocative building for posterity, while bringing thousands of jobs, homes and exciting opportunities for local residents to the area. We are looking forward to welcoming some of the BBC staff back to the borough next year.”

An existing 15-storey block, known as the East Tower, will be rebuilt as a new 25-storey tower. There will also be new buildings on the former service yard land, the MSCP site, the former restaurant block and the drama block sites, ranging from three to ten storeys in height, along with up to 6,182 square metres set aside for business use.

The scheme will provide a large number of the 5,000 new homes needed to meet the housing target set for the White City Opportunity Area, where the site sits. The scheme will create around 480 construction jobs and could create up to 2,265 new jobs when the development is complete, generating around £3m a year for the local economy.

Stanhope will contribute £10m towards the scheme as part of a legal arrangement known as a Section 106 agreement - where developers give money to the council to reduce the impact of development and contribute to community improvements, as part of their planning permission.

The Section 106 money will be spent as follows:

  • £1.35m towards creating new or expanding existing school places
  • £1.15m towards the local Primary Care Trust to provide extra healthcare in the area
  • £1.6m towards helping local people get employment, training and apprenticeships
  • £2.4m on local transport and highways, including improvements to streets, roads and the bridge south of the Hammersmith & City Line viaduct; £200,000 contribution towards the London Cycle Hire Scheme with the creation of a new docking station; £100,000 to provide on-street car parking, review controlled parking zone G and make any necessary changes following consultation; creation of travel plans and £10,000 towards monitoring travel usage and plans in the area.
  • The remaining £2.9m will be spent on various other local infrastructure projects including works to Wood Lane, Macfarlane Road and Frithville Gardens, a new community centre, and contributions towards new public and open spaces in and around White City Green, and step-free access at White City tube station.

Stanhope will also have to pay more than £3m in Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which will be put towards Crossrail.

The BBC has been based in White City for more than 60 years and TV Centre - designed in the shape of a question mark - became the first purpose-built television studios in the world in 1960. The last staff moved out earlier this year but BBC Worldwide Service is looking to return to the site next year. They will soon be followed by other BBC staff in 2015, who will reoccupy the refurbished Studios 1-3 and Stage 6 in the question mark building.

To read the full agenda and report click here.