Kate and William’s St Patrick’s Day party spot plans: hundreds of affordable homes proposed for historic Army barracks

An Army barracks in west London could be transformed into a “thriving and vibrant” new neighbourhood with up to 1,000 homes under plans unveiled today.

Built in 1793 to counter the military threat from the French, Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow is currently home to the First Battalion Irish Guards. 

In 2016 the Ministry of Defence announced plans to release the 37-acre site by next year.

Now a planning brief drawn up by Hounslow council has revealed a redevelopment vision including shops, community facilities and as many as 1,000 homes, of which 50 per cent would be affordable housing.

Officials propose converting the sergeant’s mess hall into a gym, and the barracks’ Grade II listed keep into a business hub for start-ups.

In his foreword to the brief, Labour council leader Steve Curran wrote: “Opening up the site for the first time in centuries will transform its integration with local communities, enhancing the cultural and social heritage of the locality.” 

The 50 per cent affordable housing figure is in line with Mayor Sadiq Khan’s target for building new homes on public land.

Since 2016 the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have attended an annual St Patrick’s Day parade at Cavalry Barracks. 

Built in 1793: Hounslow Barracks was originally built to counter the military threat from the French

Prince William is an honorary colonel of the Irish Guards and wore the regiment’s uniform at his wedding in 2011.

According to the brief, the success of the redevelopment depends on “retaining a strong identity reflecting the military heritage” of the site, which has 14 listed buildings. 

Its formal parade ground and sports fields would be kept under the plans, which are yet find a developer.

Council officers say the scheme should be “knitted into the surrounding area”, rather than becoming “a separate, ‘gated’ community”.

The site is less than three miles from Heathrow and can receive 60 decibels of aircraft noise — a level considered “significantly annoying” by the Civil Aviation Authority.

A six-week public consultation on the brief will open next Friday.

When the barracks close the Irish Guards are expected to move back to Aldershot, where they were based until 2015.

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