AN application to develop a barren site in Southall has been handed to the council.

National Grid has rekindled controversial plans to build on the 80 acres of land around the iconic Southall Gas Works and plans to hold an exhibition of the designs in the town next weekend.

The outline planning application would give the company permission to build around 3,750 homes on the plot, as well as several commercial units, a health centre and a new primary school.

If granted, it would pave the way for finalised designs with more detail in to be submitted next year, with the company hoping to start work by 2010.

In 2006, initial plans for the site were scrapped after mass protests from locals, which Rebekah Paczek, a spokesman for the developer, said had helped to reshape the new designs.

She said: “The old plans really turned their back on the local community and the canal and showed little sensitivity for the local area.

“What we have tried to do with these new designs is to draw people in and create a sustainable community with everything people need within walking distance from them.

“We have included several smaller green spaces instead of the original plan for one large area, which could have become something of a no-go area for locals.”

A central square is also planned for the area, along with cafés, bars and shops, running down the side of the Grand Union Canal.

There are also designs for a footbridge running across the canal into the Minet Country Park, as well as a redesign for junction three of the M4 and to widen the bridge running across the railway lines in South Road to four lanes.

Costly decontamination work will also have to be carried out on the ground around the gas towers in order to make it safe, and plans are being drafted for a small power station.

Campaigner Salvinder Dhillon, who led the Save Our Southall (SOS) group which played a key role in scuppering the previous designs, said he would fight to make sure the site is decontaminated properly.

He said: “We will be sitting down and looking at the plans properly when they are released. However, what we definitely will be doing is pushing the company and the council to guarantee there will be no ill health, which has been associated with these sorts of sites in the past.

“We will also push to make sure there is not too much of a stretch on the already pressured infrastructure in Southall.”

The plans are going on display in the Dominion Centre in The Green next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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