Plans submitted for 843 student flats above historic builder’s merchants

By Julia Gregory, local democracy reporter

Developers have submitted plans for a giant 843-bed tower of student homes above an old builder’s merchants.

It would see the Travis Perkins warehouse in Harrow Road become part of a 21-storey, 65.5 metre-tall development, and has just been submitted to Westminster City Council by Make Architects.

The site borders the Grand Union Canal and the Westway flyover, and would be named Baltic Wharf.

Travis Perkins and Unite Students, which owns student accommodation in 27 UK cities, are aiming to and start building by winter.

The design steps up seven storeys between the Westway flyover and the historic canal.

There will also be “green landscaping” on stepped roof gardens giving students a place to relax from their studies, bike spaces and car parking.

The block would replace the historic Travis Perkins’ shed and a brick warehouse on Harrow built between 1896 and 1916.

The scheme would also include a new towpath running towards Merchants Square towards Paddington Basin and Little Venice.

A Unite Students spokesman said the plan follows extensive consultation with residents and the plan has been amended.

However residents in nearby St Mary’s Terrace have written to oppose the scheme.

One resident told the council they thought the tower was too tall and would “dwarf” homes in nearby Sheldon Square.

They also feared that “adding several hundred students to market for buying drugs will create problems for the area.”

A crime prevention policy submitted with the plan said it had designed well lit areas and aimed to design out opportunities for crime with video surveillance.

There will be security patrols inside and around the block “to provide a reassuring presence and deter anti-social behaviours by their students. It should also be noted that Unite Students take a robust approach to breaches of their tenancy requirements for expected student behaviours”, say Unite Students.

But a Sheldon Square resident feared that having a student population on their doorstep could make it noisy.

They said: “We already had many problems with people partying and drinking in Kingdom Street before lockdowns, and the introduction of almost 1,000 students will make living in the Square a nightmare.”

And also pointed out a lack of facilities for a new student population in the area.

They added: “We only have a Sainsbury’s local, a small Coop and M&S in Merchant Square. This is certainly not enough! Shelves will be constantly empty.”

Nick Hayes, group property director at Unite Students, said: “Our new site at Paddington will help to meet the growing accommodation needs of our London-based university partners, and bring substantial wider benefit to the local community in turn – via increased investment, job creation, local improvement works and more.

“We’re proposing the creation of a site which is in keeping with the local context and character, designed to the highest quality and which will operate sustainably – indeed, we hope this will be Unite Students’ first net zero carbon building in construction and operation.

“We look forward to working closely with the local community as plans progress.”



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