Results indicate that still little is known about Lottery Bid
Two Chiswick residents, Steve Jones and Gordon Flett, decided to conduct their own consultation to discover how much is actually known about the plans for Chiswick House and Gardens.
The pair circulated a questionnaire, by email and through copies given out in the park during the month of November, to find out how much people knew about the precise proposals for Chiswick House and how they felt about them.
The following is a summary of the results of the survey from which 100 responses were received.
1. 52% of respondents were unaware that a bid had been submitted to the
Heritage Lottery Fund. 48% were aware.
2. 84% were unaware that public consultation had already been carried out.
16% were aware.
3. 84% had not been consulted during the past three years. 16% had been consulted, half of these by a questionnaire at the Community Festival in September 2005.
Those who were consulted did not feel more informed about the contents of the proposals than those who had never been consulted at all.
Respondents were asked whether they were aware of specific proposals.
4. 93% were unaware of any proposals to add a facility building to the villa. 7% were aware. No-one supported the idea, 53% did not support the idea, 47% wished to
5. 79% were unaware of any proposals to demolish the café and build a new one elsewhere. 21% were aware. 14% supported the idea, 42% did not support the idea, 44% wished to
6. 84% were unaware of any proposals to create a roadway through the existing café site. 4% were aware. One person supported the idea, 64% opposed it, 35% wished to know more.
7. 88% were unaware of any proposals to build a car park in the northern walled garden. 12% were aware. No-one supported the idea, 81% were opposed, 19% wished to know more.
8. 94% were unaware of any proposals for a new vehicular entrance in Park Road. 6% knew.
No-one supported the idea, 82% were opposed, 18% wanted to know more.
9. 93% were unaware of any proposals to build new education and
11% supported the idea, 21% opposed the idea, and 68% wanted to know more.
Frequency of use
44% of respondents used the park daily, 23% used it three or four times
a week, 20% once a week, 12% once a month.
15% of respondents were Friends of Chiswick House, 85% were not. 15%
had never heard about the Friends.
43% of respondents were aged 40-50, 27% were aged 51-65, 18% were aged
30-39. There were no respondents under twenty. The oldest respondent
73% of respondents were female, 27% male.
80% of respondents lived in W4, 4% in TW8. Other respondents lived in
W6, W12, W14, W3 with a few from SW4, SW6, SW13.
From the comments – essays – people wrote on the questionnaires,
several themes emerged.
1. There were great worries about commercialisation of the site. The
words ‘haven’, ‘peace’, ‘tranquillity’ kept cropping up. The park is
clearly very important as a green refuge and a place of slightly
dilapidated beauty. The thought of corporate entertainment horrified
many, although there was some support for limited activity if
necessary, so long as it did not impact on the grounds.
2. Although some felt that the wildness was an essential part of the
charm, there were many cries for improved paths. The overall theme of
the comments was for maintenance, not restoration.
3. There was great hostility to any increase in cars or traffic within
the park, and to the provision of car parking.
4. There was a desperate need for accurate information and for a
transparent consultation process.
5. Several were worried about potential dog-walking restrictions.
6. There were comments about the poor toilets, and the need to
refurbish the café, but support for the location.
Steve Jones / Gordon Flett
November 25, 2005