West of Borough, Strategic concept

A major opportunity for sustainable growth adjacent Heathrow Airport


The West of Borough, Hounslow, offers a major opportunity for transformative change in west London. Our aspirations are to establish an international business location and gateway into Heathrow served by a new rail link; to deliver 8,000 new homes together with new schools and community facilities; to strengthen the existing centres and to create over 13,000 new jobs.

Fragmented context

The West of Borough of Hounslow is characterised by fragmented suburban growth, major transport infrastructure and low value, open land. Disjointed suburban housing developments, office parks and industrial areas engulf the district centre at Feltham and the local centres at East Bedfont and Hanworth. The delightful Bedfont Lakes Country Park is disconnected from its wider hinterland and the adjacent Heathrow Airport presents a harsh and uninviting interface.

Strategic vision

In 2015 Urban Initiatives Studio were commissioned by the London Borough of Hounslow to prepare both a masterplan for Feltham town centre and a spatial vision for the West of Borough. The Council had just started the development of the West of Borough Local Plan revision and these studies would feed into that plan. In parallel the Council commissioned a Green Belt Review that recommended de-designation of a number of parcels of land within the area.

Our work explores the opportunities that the proximity to the airport could bring to the West of Borough. Whilst the potential airport expansion may trigger this change, development is not dependent on airport growth and new and existing residents will also benefit from better integration of homes with the areas green infrastructure - its network of parks, water courses and natural spaces and from improved access and configuration of its centres.

Strategic moves

Our West of Borough Plan focuses development in four areas underpinned by a new Southern Rail Access into Heathrow and a new station at Bedfont.

Future Feltham - Reinforcing the growth of Feltham centre with residential led mixed-use development throughout the district centre. Up to 5,000 new homes are envisaged together with an expansion of the evening economy and significant improvements to the public realm and local parks.

Heathrow Gateway - Creating a new ‘place’ for business with offices, hotels, new homes and ancillary uses, directly linked with Heathrow Airport and central London by the Southern Rail Access.

Bedfont Lakes Neighbourhood - Establishing new residential settlements around Bedfont Lakes that benefit from an attractive interface with significant parklands and access to public transport and local facilities. These homes will complement the established employment areas at Bedfont.

Airport Business Park - Providing a new focus for airport related and other logistics and industrial uses that can benefit from good access to the airport and strategic road network, as well as good connections to public transport services. Large floorplate uses located in Feltham will be relocated here reducing HGV movements in the District Centre.

Building consensus & raising profile

A collaborative approach was essential to the preparation of the plans. We worked closely with Council officers, landowners and statutory consultees (Environment Agency, Historic England, English Nature, GLA) throughout the process and engaged with the public at key stages.

Delivery and viability was tested by Bilfinger GVA and we worked closely with council officers to test transport proposals.

The profile of the strategy was raised through its showcasing at MPIM and this has helped to attract developer interest.

Lessons learnt

Outer London offers huge potential to deliver housing to meet London’s needs. This must however be planned strategically to ensure that residents benefit from good access to jobs, amenities and public spaces to ensure a life opportunities. Much of outer London is characterised by fragmented suburban growth, major transport infrastructure and green belt areas that often do not fulfil the role for which they were designated. Rethinking these areas as part of a strategic plan can deliver attractive new places served by public transport and provide sustainable alternatives to suburban greenfield development.



London Borough of Hounslow


West of the Borough, Hounslow


Urban Initiatives Studio


January 2015 - July 2015


Project was showcased at MIPIM
Provides evidence base for the Hounslow West of Borough Plan