Urban planner is dropped after council objects to number of homes and lack of public transport

Urban designer URBED’s plans for one of the largest development sites in London have been ditched, and Make Architects has been appointed to draw up alternative designs.

Plans for a mixed-use scheme on the 90-acre Southall Gas Works site in west London have been beset by criticism since URBED was appointed masterplanner in 2002.

The practice’s proposals were submitted in June 2005. They included 4,500 residential units together with retail, leisure and office space, a secondary school, health and community facilities and parking for Heathrow airport.

A source at the planning department at Ealing council said the scheme had the right mix of uses but in the wrong proportions.

The source said: “It wasn’t satisfactory. There was too much housing and a lack of public transport, which should come from a massive section 106 agreement.”

The council asked for the scheme to be redrawn. This prompted the client, Castlemore, working in a joint venture with National Grid Properties, to appoint Make to the scheme.

Make was one of a number of signature architects on the shortlist, which also included Allies & Morrison.

Ken Shuttleworth, the founder of Make, said he would redesign the scheme from scratch.

He said: “The main aim is to give this huge site a sense of place and create an identity for it, which it does not have at the moment.”

Castlemore beat off competition from ProLogis and Berkley Homes in 2002 to redevelop the site. The company, which refers to the scheme as the “jewel in the crown” of its portfolio, said at the time that the site would be difficult to develop.

Graham Whateley, the chairman of Castlemore, originally said he expected the planning alone to take between one and three years and cost about £2m.

The reworked plans are due to go to planning in the second half of the year.