West Londoners plagued by noise at night have hit out at plans to turn an old House of Fraser into a leisure and retail centre with rooftop dining. 

The plans for Richmond’s flagship department store also include a swimming pool, private gym, shops, offices and restaurants.

Richmond locals living near the town centre have welcomed the revamp of the site but objected to the extra fourth floor for restaurants which would include a rooftop terrace and plant room for equipment above.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

They said they are already disturbed by noisy people on Richmond Green at night and fear this will get worse.

The iconic four-storey House of Fraser on George Street has been empty since shutting in 2020. Plans from investment firm Canadian and Arcadia to turn the site, which includes buildings on Paved Court, into a multi-million-pound retail and leisure centre were green-lit in 2021. But the company put the site up for sale in February to find an owner with resources for the scheme.

Sheen Lane Developments has now bought the building and submitted a fresh application under 80 George Street Limited. The main changes include works to the building’s basement for a new private gym and swimming pool.

Sheen Lane Developments said the site provides “an exciting opportunity to modernise and rejuvenate a long-vacant building” to meet modern requirements. The company said it has interest from high-end restaurants, retail and leisure venues.

But residents have written to Richmond Council hitting out at the plans. They raised concerns about customers on the extra floor and said new restaurants in the busy town centre aren’t needed.

Resident Andrew Morgan said increasing the building’s height would have a “totally unacceptable impact” on the historic area. He added: “Since the relaxation of regulations and encouragement of the use of outside spaces for eating and drinking, the Green has suffered from a significant increase in noise pollution from crowds of people outside the pubs nearest to Paved Court.

“Over the past two years, the Green as a whole has seen much higher levels of noise pollution and bad behaviour. The last thing we need is a noisy roof terrace perched high above that corner of the Green.”

Elizabeth Pryce also said disturbance on the Green had increased since the pandemic began. She said: “We are already subject to significant threat and noise disturbance from large gatherings, pubs and restaurants and traffic, both from those enjoying Richmond amenities and those on bikes and in cars racing around the Green in the small hours, and believe that the outside eating area at height will only increase this.”

David MacKenzie added: “Visually, the extension will be directly visible from the Green and will be made more intrusive with lighting from the fourth-floor terrace. The noise levels locally will be increased with irritating late-night noise.”

The Sheen Lane Developments spokesperson said: “The site benefits from existing planning permission allowing for extensions to the upper floors of the building. The only change to this as part of the current planning application is the addition of a swimming pool within the basement.

“Therefore, the council have already considered and accepted the townscape impact of the additional fourth floor/plant room. As part of this planning process, the council will also ensure there is no detrimental impact upon neighbours by way of noise, light pollution, privacy and overlooking. Internal strip out and enabling works have already commenced on site, as it is hoped the building will be fully functional late 2023, allowing the building to once again positively contribute to the vitality of Richmond town centre.”