Registered charity Watermans Art Centre, housing a theatre, cinema and exhibition spaces, occupied a riverside location on the opposite side of the River Thames to Kew Gardens. After serving the community for over 35 years, the building was well beyond its operational life but the need remained for this important and much valued community facility. The challenge for this project was around funding a new Arts Centre whilst balancing the requirements of a prime riverside location with heritage considerations.

Project Objective

To fund a new state of the art 30,000 sq. ft Arts Centre providing it with the ability to become financially self-sufficient therefore securing its long-term future within the Borough.

In order achieve this, the Client proposed the relocation of Watermans into the heart of Brentford, alongside new affordable housing, whilst redeveloping the riverside location to provide some 193 new residential apartments to cross fund the project.

Role Of DP9

DP9 advised on the acquisition of the Albany Riverside site and on further land acquisitions in Brentford to deliver the Clients’ ambition. DP9 subsequently led the project on all planning matters, devising the strategy and leading negotiations with key stakeholders including the local authority, The Mayor of London, Historic England, Kew World Heritage Site and local community bodies and organisations.

Key Challenge

Balancing the requirement to generate sufficient returns to cross fund the ambitious new Arts Centre and affordable housing, alongside the delivery of a new riverside residential scheme with specific heritage considerations provided significant challenges. Of notable concern were the views from the World Heritage Site Kew Gardens and the Grade I listed Kew Palace. This resulted in very detailed investigations of the heritage assets in question, their significance and the impact of the new riverside scheme. It was this thorough study that informed and supported the proposals and helped to secure a positive outcome after a Public Inquiry.

Combination of cross funding requirement with a heritage impacted site.

Tom Horne


Tom joined DP9 in 2010 as a Planner and now holds the position of Senior Director with some 14 years’ experience. His experience includes working on a range of major instructions across the whole of London including Sky’s new media campus in west London and British Lands Blossom Street mixed use redevelopment in an historic part of Spitalfields.

Key DP9 Projects


Mike Worthington

Associate Director

Mike is an Associate Director with 11 years of experience,

Key DP9 Projects




We have the privilege of advising on some of the most challenging and high-profile developments, supporting our clients in navigating the approvals process. From commercial through to charitable, small scale through to major complex masterplanning proposals, our experience in London and the South East is unparalleled.