Sunday, 15 March 2015

Can the Historic Palladium Theatre Be Saved?

How The Green Might Look
In January we reported the threat to The Shepherd's Bush Palladium, (more recently known as the Walkabout Pub), which was facing demolition and redevelopment.  Formal planning permission has now been sought by its owners, the Dorsett Regency hotel, to demolish the old cinema, even though the building lies within a Conservation Area, and replace it with a sixteen storey tower (see above).  So, the question is, will the developers get their way, or can one of Shepherd's Bush's most historic buildings be saved?

The proposal is for a sixteen storey tower that would dominate the skyline in the Bush, permanently changing the character of Shepherd's Bush Green.

Shepherd's Bush Palladium, originally the Cinematograph Theatre, in 1910
The Palladium is in a Conservation Area (see the Council's map below), which is to say: "an area (usually urban or the core of a village) considered worthy of preservation or enhancement because of its special architectural or historic interest."
The Palladium-turned-Walkabout in 2008. Photo: Wikipedia

The Palladium is not, however, a listed building, and so is not protected by English Heritage. Ultimately the question of demolition or preservation will come down to local politics. Will the Council enforce its own rules?

Shepherd's Bush Green Conservation Area. The Palladium is shown in yellow
Of course, demolishing the cinema makes good economic sense. It is presently a relatively small building, and to replace it with a tower of flats will make its owners a lot of money.  In addition, it is not immediately clear what else the Palladium could currently be used for.

But what does "Conservation Area" mean, if not the preservation of structures which have less economic value than blocks of flats? Buildings which are already economically viable do not, by definition, need preserving. Unusual buildings of historical interest do.

The Palladium today

So what it is to be? Will our council permit Dorsett Regency to demolish our historic buildings, or will they say no, a conservation area means what it says?

Surely it is not impossible to find a profitable use that conserves the integrity of what was one of Britain's very first cinemas.

To see the details of the planning application, follow this link.

You might also want to have the email addresses of the folks on the planning committee at LBH&F:
They are as follows:

Vice-Chair: (also Shepherds Bush ward councillor)

And, to email our local  Shepherds Bush ward councillors:

and our local MP Andy Slaughter


The Bush Telegraph offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. Read about the Campaign to Save Hammersmith Park, find out about our new Farmer's Market, see what's on at The Bush Theatre,  find out the latest news on the future of Shepherd's Bush Market,  and the Council's plans to upgrade the Goldhawk Road and the Uxbridge Road. If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at

1 comment:

  1. Below is the official press release from the Dorsett Regency Hotel:

    "Major jobs boost for Shepherd’s Bush on former Walkabout site:

    Shepherd’s Bush is set for another major boost for local employment following the submission of Dorsett Hotel International’s planning application for 56 serviced apartments, a restaurant, cafe and seven flats on the former Walkabout pub site, Shepherd’s Bush Green.

    An additional 60 jobs will be created by these latest proposals which have been submitted to Hammersmith & Fulham Council. Thirty of the new jobs would be working in the hotel and serviced apartments, with the other 30 jobs in the food and beverage part of the hotel’s activities.

    The existing Dorsett Hotel International, which opened in mid-2014, is already a big local employer with over 130 staff, of whom 36 live locally in Hammersmith & Fulham. As part of Dorsett’s commitment to local youngsters, the Hotel employs 18 young people between the ages of 18-24, of whom 8 live in the borough.

    Dorsett also has a career training programme, including a Customer Service programme, as well as a Leadership training programme aimed at developing future Supervisors and Assistant managers.

    If the plans for the former Walkabout site are approved, Dorsett plans to repeat last year’s recruitment initiative to employ local people, in conjunction with the community/job centre. Last year’s initiative was particularly successful, with job applicants queuing around the corner and right up Goldhawk Road.

    Michael Fitzgerald, Dorsett Project Manager, said;
    “The proposed extension to the Dorsett Hotel will bring real benefits to Shepherd’s Bush by creating new jobs for local residents, including young people. The Dorsett Hotel is already proving a very successful and popular addition to Shepherd’s Bush and we want to build on that success with a stunning new landmark building to complement its two Grade II listed neighbours”.

    You can also see a video of the proposals here

    Contact Paul Dimoldenberg on 020 7566 7960 or 07864 042 584