Brentford Lock West: Sustainable Urban Development for a Greener Tomorrow

22.01.24 4 min read by Philip Day, Deputy Director of Project Management

Brentford Lock West

This much-loved corner of West London is steeped in history but was suffering from the decline of traditional industries, leaving a mix of derelict buildings and neglected waterside. Working with our partners, the Canal and River Trust, and in consultation with the London Borough of Hounslow, we turned around the fortunes of the area, repurposing this under-utilised brownfield site into a thriving waterside community.

Creating hundreds of new homes and inspired shared spaces that bring the community together, Brentford Lock West has drawn inspiration from its location and rich history, creating a new neighbourhood for the 21st Century. Community and connection to nature have been front and centre of its design, which includes communal courtyards, roof allotments, gardens, and balconies with views of the water.

Since 2012, our multi-award winning Brentford Lock West neighbourhood has delivered over 300 homes, including 32% affordable, comprising stylish town houses and apartments in a neighbourhood street setting carefully designed to maximise the water frontage. It’s won a variety of awards including four prestigious RIBA awards, three Sunday Times awards, including best developer for Waterside Places.

We’re currently on site with enabling works for the third phase at Brentford Lock West, which includes a new bus depot for Metroline, which operates several bus routes across London and a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge. This will unlock the final phase of our waterside community, which is transforming this underutilised area beside the Grand Union Canal.

The striking bridge has active travel at its heart and will be accessible to pedestrians, buggies and cyclists, but importantly will substantially reduce travel time to Brentford train station and wider areas of the town. Additional work has included improvements to Robin Grove Recreation Ground with funds also contributed towards lighting, CCTV and landscaping improvements.

The final phase of this vibrant and diverse neighbourhood, will create an additional 452 new homes, including 187 affordable, alongside flexible commercial space.


Brentford Lock West

GGBS usage at Brentford Lock West

At Brentford Lock West, our commitment to sustainability takes a tangible form as we opt for sustainable concrete instead of 100% OPC Concrete in constructing the bus depot floor slabs and external hard standing areas across the entire site. This environmentally conscious choice involves the incorporation of 30-70% Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag (GGBS) into the concrete mixture, a decision rooted in our dedication to reducing the environmental impact of construction, achieving a saving of 1,266 tonnes of CO2 over a total of 3,150m3 of concrete.

Despite the extended setting time of 56 days compared to the standard 28 days for conventional concrete, this deliberate choice reflects our prioritisation of eco-friendly alternatives. We believe that the additional time required for the sustainable concrete to set is a small trade-off for the long-term benefits it brings, including enhanced durability, reduced carbon footprint, and a significant contribution to the overall sustainability goals of Brentford Lock West.

Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag (GGBS) is a by-product of the iron and steel industry, specifically produced during the process of granulating molten blast-furnace slag with water. This finely powdered material is composed primarily of silicate and aluminate compounds and exhibits pozzolanic properties, making it a valuable supplementary cementitious material. GGBS is commonly used as a partial replacement for Portland cement in concrete production, contributing to improved durability, strength, and sustainability.

When incorporated into concrete mixes, GGBS enhances workability and reduces heat of hydration, minimizing the risk of cracking. Additionally, its use helps mitigate the environmental impact of industrial waste by repurposing a by-product into a beneficial construction material.

The resulting concrete with GGBS often displays superior resistance to chloride ingress and sulfate attack, making it particularly suitable for infrastructure projects where durability is a key consideration.

Syreeta Bayne, Head of Social Value and Sustainability said: “At Muse, sustainability is not just a goal; it’s our commitment to shaping a future where every project leaves a positive impact.”

The incorporation of GGBS at Brentford Lock West isn't just a choice – it's a responsibility.”

Syreeta Bayne continues: “By using this eco-friendly material, we are investing in a sustainable legacy, prioritizing the environment and paving the way for a more resilient and environmentally conscious urban landscape.”

Phil Day, Project Director at Muse and Jonathan O’Neill, Senior Director at McAleer & Rushe

Green Apple Award

I had the pleasure of attending the Green Apple awards with McAleer & Rushe recently where Brentford Lock West enabling works won not one, but two Awards for sustainability.

The project earned the prestigious title of ‘National Green Champion for Outstanding Land Regeneration,’ recognising its transformative impact on the landscape and its innovative approaches to revitalising urban spaces with a keen focus on environmental considerations.

Additionally, the project received a ‘Bronze Green Apple for Habitat and Biodiversity,’ highlighting its dedication to preserving and enhancing local ecosystems. These accolades affirm Brentford Lock West as a responsible and eco-conscious land development, setting a benchmark for the industry by showcasing excellence in both land regeneration and biodiversity conservation.

The new bridge connecting communities at Brentford Lock West

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