planning report PDU/0727/01
19 November 2003
Emerald Centre, Hammersmith
in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
planning application no. 2003/01801/FUL
Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended); Greater London
Authority Act 1999; Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order
2000 – strategic planning application stage 1 referral
Use of land as an additional bus station facility for a limited period of
seven years by the provision of bus shelters and passenger islands beneath
a canopy together with an information kiosk.
1 On 26 August 2003 Hammersmith & Fulham Council consulted the Mayor of
London on a proposal to develop the above site for the above uses. Under the provisions of
the Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000 the Mayor has the same
opportunity as other statutory consultees to comment on the proposal. This report sets out
information for the Mayor’s use in deciding what comments to make.
2 The application is referrable under Category 2C (f) of the Schedule of the Order 2000:
“Development to provide a bus or coach station.”
3 If Hammersmith & Fulham Council subsequently decides that it is minded to grant
planning permission, it must first allow the Mayor an opportunity to decide whether to
direct the Council to refuse permission.
4 The Mayor of London’s comments on this case will be made available on the GLA
5 The site is on the north-east corner of the Hammersmith Gyratory, bounded by
Hammersmith Road running east-west and Butterwick running north-south. The wider
gyratory site is also bounded to the south by Talgarth Road and to the west by Queen
6 The site is currently mostly enclosed by a timber fence and metal railings, but
contains two buildings. One is disused and the other is occupied by the Hammersmith
Community Trust, which uses the building for a range of activities such as local meetings
and band practices.
7 The rest of the gyratory contains the District and Piccadilly Underground station, a
bus station, shops and offices.
Details of the proposal
8 The application is for a new interim bus station whilst a permanent solution
involving the existing bus station adjacent to the site is considered in detail. The key
elements of the proposal include four sheltered double bus stops and seven standing areas,
pedestrian link to the existing shopping centre adjacent to the site, a canopy spanning the
bus islands, 10 cycle parking spaces and amendments to access arrangements.
9 There have been three previous schemes involving the Gyratory site, not all
involving the application site.
March 1989 – Planning permission granted for redevelopment of the whole site for 25,234
sq.m. of office space with 91 car parking spaces and rising to 9 storeys.
April 1996 - Planning permission granted for redevelopment of the eastern site for 25,234
sq. m. office space, ground floor retail and restaurant and 81 parking spaces. The
development comprised of one 10-storey building and one 6-8-storey building.
May 1996 – Planning permission granted for the above uses but with a variation on the
height of one building to 6-7 storeys.
Strategic planning issues and relevant policies and guidance
10 The relevant issues and corresponding policies are as follows:
Sustainable development draft London Plan: PPG3; PPG13
Transport draft London Plan; the Mayor’s Transport Strategy;
Urban design draft London Plan: PPG1
Maximising the potential of sites
11 As Transport for London is the applicant, these considerations are from within the
GLA taking account of the London Development Agency’s comments. Transport for London
views are therefore contained within any applicant justification.
12 The draft London Plan focuses on the integration of transport and development and
aims to increase the capacity, quality and integration of public transport to meet London’s
needs (policy 3.1 & 3.8).
13 Policy 4B.3 aims to achieve the highest possible intensity of use for sites, in line with
local context, draft London Plan design principles and public transport capacity. The
location of this highly accessible site requires an approach that will maximise its potential.
The applicant states that the long-term objectives for the site are to integrate it with the
existing bus station to provide transport facilities, and at the same time seek to develop
above any future station.
14 A balance needs to be achieved between maximising the potential of the site and
improving public transport provision. The use of this site for a single-storey development is
contrary to good strategic planning in terms of maximising site potential so for that reason
the applicant must demonstrate the need for this development.
15 To demonstrate need, the applicant was requested to provide information on existing
passenger and bus numbers, and the capacity of the existing station for these, the proposed
number of bus movements, estimated passenger numbers and how this will be distributed
between the existing and interim bus stations.
16 The applicant has stated that whilst difficult to quantify, the current capacity issue
lies with the number of buses, and in design terms the existing station capacity is 175 buses
per hour. For passengers there is no figure but through practical experience, the station is
near capacity during peak and school closing times.
17 In terms of passenger numbers, approximately 12.5million passengers a year use the
bus station, with daily numbers of 40,000 (Monday-Friday), 26,000 (Saturday) and 17,425
(Sunday). For buses there are 233 buses per hour at peak times and 213 per hour off peak.
18 The interim bus station will lead to a change in arrangements for buses, and the
existing station capacity will be reduced to 140-150 buses per hour to be in line with the
Disability Discrimination Act. The routes will be distributed between the stations but some
will not be on a whole-route basis, instead using one station for each direction. This should
result in a passenger distribution of approximately 8.25 million per year in the existing bus
station and approximately 4.25 million per year in the interim station.
19 In terms of the impact on the Transport for London Road Network the applicant has
outlined the changes in bus movements for the local road network. There will 66 fewer
movements onto Talgarth Road and 66 more movements onto Butterwick. There will be no
other change to movement from or onto the other roads in the local network. The
redistribution of the movement within the local network is not an increase in the overall
number of movements onto the Transport for London Road Network.
20 From the strategic planning point of view, it is important not to prejudice the future
development of this site through the existence of the temporary bus station particularly
where there appears to be a reduction in capacity planned for the existing bus station. This
has to be balanced against the benefits of improved bus facilities in the short term, and the
quality of the site at present. Any planning permission should be time limited to ensure the
bus station does remain temporary. In addition, Hammersmith & Fulham Council should
seek to ensure the applicant uses its reasonable endeavours to bring forward a permanent
solution for bus provision on the wider Gyratory site, and to demonstrate this to the
Council’s satisfaction, in order to ensure the site is not under-utilised in the long term.
21 The various elements of the station are integrated through an elliptical canopy that
acts both as cover and as a focal point. Given the temporary nature of the development there
are no concerns on design grounds.
22 The applicant states that it is investigating a new connection to the London
Underground Concourse Area. This should be sought as a priority and implemented if
feasible in order to maximise the benefits from the temporary development to achieve draft
London Plan objectives in promoting an integrated public transport system.
23 Policy 3A.16 seeks to protect social infrastructure of the kind that the existing
building currently provides for the Hammersmith Community Trust on a tenancy basis.
Proposals for the future of this facility are not evident. In the interest of good strategic
planning the applicant should, in conjunction with Hammersmith & Fulham Council,
demonstrate how the Trust’s need is being addressed through the proposal.
Access and equal opportunities
24 Policy 4B.5 of the draft London Plan expects all future development to meet the
highest standards of accessibility and inclusion. An Access Statement demonstrating how
principles of inclusive design have been integrated into the proposed development should
support proposals. The access statement should be treated as more than a commitment to
meet the minimum standards of Part M of the Building Regulations. The applicant has not
provided an Access Statement and should do so.
London Development Agency Comments
25 The Agency agrees that a careful balance needs to be made between supporting a
development that would make some short term improvements to public transport provision
against the delay in development of a highly accessible town centre site for a permanent high
density scheme that would make an appropriate contribution to the mix of uses in
Hammersmith. If consent is granted, it should be limited to the minimum period necessary to
enable permanent improvements to public transport facilities to be made and every effort
should be made to ensure that neither permanent development of the application site nor the
provision of better public transport facilities are prejudiced.
26 The Hammersmith Community Trust building fulfils an important role in providing
space for local meetings and activities. Any scheme for the development of this site should
therefore secure the continuation of this use, either on site or through relocation to suitable
Local planning authority’s position
27 Hammersmith and Council officers have not taken a position as yet on the
recommendation to make to the Planning Committee.
28 Under the arrangements set out in article 3 of the Town and Country Planning
(Mayor of London) Order 2000 the Mayor has an opportunity to make representations to
Hammersmith and Fulham Council at this stage. If the Council subsequently resolves to
grant planning permission, it must allow the Mayor an opportunity to decide whether to
direct it to refuse planning permission. There is no obligation at this present stage for the
Mayor to indicate his intentions regarding a possible direction, and no such decision should
be inferred from the Mayor’s comments unless specifically stated.
29 There are no financial considerations at this stage.
30 The draft London Plan aims to improve the quality, capacity and integration of
London’s public transport service. It also seeks to maximise the potential of sites,
particularly highly accessible sites. The proposal for a single storey interim bus station on
this under-utilised site demands these considerations to be balanced.
31 The applicant’s long term intention to consider how best to provide an integrated bus
station and to secure commercial development to cross-subsidise any future development
would be an approach fully in line with the draft London Plan and this proposal should not
be a means of hindering that. The applicant has demonstrated a need for the bus station as a
short term measure and that there will not be an impact on the Transport for London Road
Network. The applicant should, however, demonstrate how the proposal mitigates the loss of
the community facility and work to secure maximum benefits from the temporary site to
meet integrated transport objectives through links to the Underground platforms. To ensure
site potential is realised in the longer term, the planning permission must be time-limited
and measures used to ensure the applicant uses reasonable endeavours to secure a permanent
solution to bus service provision.
for further information, contact Planning Decisions Unit:
Giles Dolphin, Planning Decisions Manager
020 7983 4271 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Coin Wilson, Team Leader Development Control
020 7983 4743 email email@example.com
Thomas Carpen, Case Officer
020 7983 6590 email firstname.lastname@example.org