Frequently asked questions

Will the Travis Perkins be retained, and will it operate during construction?


The Travis Perkins branch that occupies the site today will be retained as part of the redevelopment. During construction, this Travis Perkins branch will temporarily close, but we are exploring options to try to identify a temporary site in the area. If we cannot identify a suitable local temporary site, Travis Perkins’ operations will be temporarily relocated to nearby stores. When the project is completed, Travis Perkins will re-open in new, modern and purpose-built premises, on the ground floor of the new development.




Who is delivering the scheme?


The scheme is a joint project between Travis Perkins and Unite Students and both will be the future operators of the new building. The team that has been working on this project includes: Make - Architects BDP – Landscape Architects Gerald Eve – Planning Consultants GIA – Daylight and Sunlight Experts Travenors Consultants – Visual Impact and Heritage Local Dialogue – Community Relations




Who will determine whether this project gets planning permission?


Once we have consulted the community and finalised our scheme, we will submit our planning application. This application will be considered by Westminster City Council’s planning officers who will recommend whether the application should be granted permission and produce a detailed report setting out the reasons why. It will then be for Westminster City Council’s Planning Committee to decide whether to grant or refuse the application.




London needs more homes, why are you proposing student accommodation for this site?


Student accommodation is an important part of the overall housing mix. There is considerable, unmet demand for student housing in London and currently many students live in houses that could otherwise accommodate families. This is an excellent location for student housing, given its fantastic public transport links and proximity to so many universities and colleges.




How many new student rooms will there be and how will it operated and managed?


The plan is for the upper floors to house 830-900 new student bedrooms along with associated amenity space, kitchens and study space etc. The student accommodation will be operated and managed by Unite Students who have 30 years’ experience managing these facilities. Unite Students are the UK’s largest manager of student accommodation and currently look after 76,000 students.




How tall will the building be?


The building will be 65.5m tall at its highest point and it then steps down towards the Westway. It is about seven meters lower than the existing adjacent Brunel building and, due to perspectives, will significantly block this building from view – instead, presenting a ‘greener’ outlook - from a number of key viewpoints to the north, including along Warwick Avenue.




Will there be improvements to the area around the building which the public can benefit from?


Yes, our proposals will open up a new canalside path, allowing a public route through and enhancing the relationship between the site and the canal. The stepped roof gardens will not only create great amenity space for the students to enjoy but will also create a soft, green façade which will be the main view from Warwick Avenue, continuing and enhancing the ‘green ribbon’ of trees and landscaping that currently runs along the Grand Union Canal. There are also proposed improvements to the Harrow Road, including new landscaping. We have already begun discussions with TfL (including London Buses) and WCC to review the site’s partial servicing strategy from the Harrow Road. We are currently in discussions with the commercial boat operators who moor alongside Baltic Wharf to identify how best to accommodate their specific requirements.




What will the design of the new building be?


The building is being designed by Make, an award-winning international architectural practice with a reputation for challenging convention and pursuing design excellence. Their work is inspired by a single purpose: to design the best places, spaces and buildings in the world.

The new building will take a stepped form, with terraces cascading down towards the Westway. These terraces will be landscaped with green roof gardens at various levels. The building will also have have extensive greening on its exterior, creating an attractive outlook for those viewing it from the nearby conservation areas.




Will the building be good for environment and low carbon?


Yes, we are committed to building and operating the most sustainable building possible. We are aiming for a BREEAM excellent building which will be both Unite Students and Travis Perkins’ first ever building to be fully net zero carbon, both in terms of construction and operation. The development will re-use rainwater, maximise natural light, will be fully insulated and will use 100% renewable sources of heat and electricity.




Will there be new parking associated with the scheme?


Students living in London almost never own a car and will get around by using the excellent public transport links, walking and cycling. We will have ample secure cycle parking facilities as part of the scheme. The only parking spaces will be those associated with the operation of the Travis Perkins branch and a small number of disabled parking bays associated with the student accommodation.




How will Amazon/Deliveroo deliveries work for the student accommodation?


All Unite Students’ buildings are carefully operated and managed by a 24-hour on-site team who will ensure that all deliveries etc are efficiently dealt with, in a safe and orderly fashion, in the foyer area of the Unite Students building.




Will the new Travis Perkins be larger than the old branch?


No, the redeveloped Travis Perkins branch on the ground floor of the new building will be roughly the same size as at present – however, because it will be modern and purpose-built, it will be considerably more efficient. It will serve the same customer base and continue to be an important asset in the area.




How long until this building is built and operational?


We anticipate submitting a planning application later this year with a view to beginning construction in 2022. Construction will take roughly 20-24 months. This timetable is indicative and subject to change.