New Hayes depot for Abellio London

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Abellio London is relocating to a new depot in Hayes, West London to allow redevelopment of its current site

Abellio London is to move to a new depot in Hayes. The operator – which has a total fleet of 740 buses across the capital, serving 52 routes and amounting to 9% of TfL buses – is having to relocate as its current depot in North Hyde Gardens, Hayes is to be redeveloped. Sourced on the firm’s behalf by property consultancy Vail Williams, the new site is two miles from its existing depot. Additional support was provided by Janus Architecture and Curtins Consulting.

Steve New, Vail Williams Partner undertook the search on behalf of Abellio. He said: “Abellio had no alternative but to relocate, with a replacement facility required urgently as the company is a major employer and provides buses for TfL across the local area. The move ensures that the depot remains in the Borough of Hillingdon, retaining more than 100 jobs locally and securing continued inward investment. Losing Abellio would have been a major economic blow for the borough. It also enables the strategic redevelopment of a tired industrial site on a busy thoroughfare which gives easy access for the buses and little disruption.”

The site is adjacent to an established builder’s merchant and backs on to Stockley Park Golf Course. Nearby is IMG Studios from where the Premier League’s video assistant referee (VAR) system is operated. It will be used for the parking of up to 56 buses – and the infrastructure to operate electric buses, for which Abellio has a strong commitment, will be put in place.

Maintenance will be carried out at its nearby Waterway Business Park premises, which will also house a driver theory test centre to support the firm’s bus driver apprenticeship scheme.

Vail Williams Partner Chris Wilmshurst added: “On this occasion Steve sourced the site and we successfully made our economic and environmental case to justify why the new depot should be permitted on Green Belt land during the planning application process. We had to move quickly by necessity and had no leeway because of the time constraints. Happily, Hillingdon Council recognised the need for continuity and granted planning consent. TfL also supported the application. The future move to fully electric buses will be part of the package here, with Abellio as site freeholder keen to futureproof the depot by installing the relevant infrastructure now.”

Contractors are currently flattening the site, before putting in a concrete base and constructing offices, staff buildings, a bus wash and a fuelling facility. An acoustic wall will be built and an existing, historic retaining wall repaired and kept. Abellio has to vacate its current site by 31 December and intends to begin the first services from Dawley Road in April 2022. The intervening period will be covered by relocating services to nearby depots.

Abellio London Managing Director Tony Wilson said: “We very much needed to stay in the borough for geographical and employment reasons and many of our routes from the depot – 278, 350, 482, U5, U7 and U9 – all serve the local area. To have been forced out of the borough would have disrupted the business and increased bus ‘dead mileage’, thus unnecessarily producing more exhaust emissions. Thanks to the efforts of the Vail Williams experts it will be business as usual. They identified a suitable site in the right location, provided a robust justification for the usage and rose to the difficult challenge of securing planning permission. Our renewed contract on the U5 Hayes to Uxbridge route will start with electric double-deckers on the first operational day out of Dawley Road so we have a requirement to install the infrastructure now.”

The operator has depots across south and west London at Walworth, Battersea, Beddington, Twickenham and a new one in Southall.

The 482 service to Heathrow Airport is operated from Hayes depot. ABELLIO