Hanworth Park House has been a private residence, a military hospital, a nursing home and the HQ of aviation in the UK. For a while, it was the home of Aston Martin and Lagonda, who used the aircraft hangars to finish assembly of the luxury motors post war until the 1960’s.
In its heyday, it hosted a ballroom, sumptuous lounges with private apartments, and the grounds were laid out as formal gardens. The approach was a tree lined sweeping drive bordering the grounds. The house was owned by many prominent families, most notably, Alfred Lafone, – his family are now involved with the Friends of Hanworth Park House in fighting for the restoration.
It is renowned across London for its heritage and importance both architecturally and historically – although this glamour and significance is hard to imagine when you see the building today and it’s setting behind a business park in Feltham, but there is still hope to bring it back to its former glory and allow the community to enjoy the surroundings too.
After playing a pivotal role in two world wars and the development of aviation, Hanworth Park Hotel was purchased by Middlesex County Council and in 1956, the house was opened as a nursing home. In 1965 its administration was taken over by the London Borough of Hounslow (LBH). The nursing home shut in 1992 and planning permission was granted in 2003 for the building to be converted into an 84-room hotel, and by 2012 (a mere 20 years later), planning for a 166 bed hotel and conference centre was approved with the support from Hounslow Borough Council that the building was a national monument and the restoration itself justified the very special circumstances required to build on a the green belt.
The current owner (bought 3 years ago) worked with Historic England and Hounslow Council to convert this unviable hotel consent into a more suitable scheme to provide much needed local affordable housing within the footprint of the hotel plan and using funds to put towards restoring Hanworth Park House and grounds to their former glory.
The main building would be mainly for community space, a museum, café, artist’s studios and meeting / function spaces – more than 50% of the house and grounds would be open and accessible to the public – more than 7 acres of regenerated green belt and park land connecting to the broader Hanworth Park. It would return the asset to the community and provide a welcome respite from the bustle of nearby Feltham High Street.
So – where are we now?
- Hounslow Council, Historic England, and the GLA have said on numerous occasions ‘they are desperate to find a solution’
- The friends of HPH (now in their thousands) continue to strive to find a solution
- LBH and the GLA have approved the building of a very large hotel and conference centre on the green belt (3 times)
- There is universal support to have the current inaccessible 10 acres of neglected green belt
restored to park land and open to the public
- The revised plans are now for housing to be a lot smaller than the hotel consent and ‘invisible’ to local residents – less than half the size of the original housing plans
The future and salvation of this iconic heritage asset requires Hounslow Council, their leader or any of our elected politicians to do something very simple and do the right thing for the local community and residents – which for the last 25yrs – they have been unable to achieve.
A website has been set up with an enormous amount of information on the history and the plans: www.hanworthparkhouse.london. Or join the Facebook group Hanworth Park House.