If you’re a Brentford resident, or if you’ve been in the area recently, you’ll have no doubt seen Catherine Wheel Road turn blue and other changes there such as the wood cladding, the totem pole and the quotes painted on the old industrial buildings there. But what’s it all about?
Who are Ballymore?
Ballymore is a property development company founded in Ireland in 1982 and still owned and managed by the founder Sean Mulryan. They have considerable experience across Europe, including a large mixed-use project (like Brentford) in Bratislava, five-star hotels in Prague, housing developments in Dublin and corporate headquarters in Canary Wharf. Ballymore also delivered much of the Nine Elms development including the new US Embassy. In total, they built 2,000 homes around the UK last year and they currently have 5,800 under construction in London alone!
What have they done so far at the Brentford site?
Over the last five years Ballymore have steadily bought all the former industrial and office buildings between the River Brent and the stretch of Brentford High Street from Dock Road to Augustus Close.
Planning permission was granted in 2014 and the project, which will cost £500 million and include 876 apartments, is expected to be complete by 2024. Historic buildings are being restored and included within the scheme and new commercial and retail space will be provided on the ground floor of some of the nine new blocks.
Construction of the first block is well underway; it’s a 450-space multi-storey car park with an adjacent block of apartments for affordable sale and rent.
A new improved High Street
One of the main aims of the scheme is to establish a new town centre.
In the 1800s, Brentford had shops on both sides of the road from Thorgills all the way down to the chocolate shop opposite Commerce Road. However, most of these were demolished between 1950 and 1980 to make way for offices, new shop units with flats above, and the supermarket – which is now Morrisons, but has previously been Somerfield, Gateway, and International since its construction in 1983.
A few buildings from this era remain, such as the old fire station (now Caspari) and the old police station (on the corner of Town Meadow, by Concord House), but the High Street is unquestionably in need of regeneration.
To encourage this, Ballymore are creating new leisure spaces, including restaurants, cafes, a gym in St Lawrence’s Church, new retail units to welcome high street names back to Brentford, and new office space with a proportion reserved for local businesses. A new section of the Thames Path will be created as part of the scheme, and many of the Georgian and Victorian lanes and passageways that spanned the area between the High Street and the riverside will be reinstated within the new development.
Ballymore’s community engagement plan
A significant part of the Brentford Project is Ballymore’s commitment to community development. They have opened a new bakery and restaurant next to The Brewery Tap called Rye by the Water, which will host many events over the summer including pizza and bread making, local history events, live music, beer tastings and, of course, opportunities to meet the Ballymore team and find out more about the upcoming development.
Other developments in TW8
It is worth noting that there are at least five further planned development sites in Brentford at the moment which are all separate and not connected to the Ballymore scheme: the redevelopment of the Morrisons site to provide a new supermarket with apartments above and parking below; the final stage of Brentford Lock West at the far north of the site; the residential buildings around the new Brentford FC stadium on Lionel Road South; the old Suzuki garage on Leighton Road; and the twinned sites of the Watermans Arts Centre and the disused police station, which will house new riverside apartments and a new home for the Watermans with apartments above.
Whilst there have been numerous large redevelopments in Brentford over the last twenty years, including Brentford Lock, The Island, Ferry Quays, all the Kew Bridge Road blocks, the Great West Quarter, Brentford Lock West and Reynard Mills, none of these have successfully provided Brentford with the community, shops and leisure facilities that its residents would like. From what we can see so far from Ballymore, it looks like Brentford is finally set to get the attention it deserves!
If you're interested in buying or renting one of Ballymore's new homes in Brentford, you can get in touch with our sales team here and our lettings team here.