Parking Restrictions On Way For Dukes Meadows

Council says it aims to reduce congestion but Trust says it will not benefit local users

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Hounslow Council is planning to introduce parking restrictions in the Dukes Meadows area.

The Council says that the roads across the site, including Dan Mason Drive, Riverside Drive and The Promenade are long and narrow with cars often blocking access and parked on the grass verges.

Both Dan Mason Drive and much of The Promenade do not currently have parking restrictions in place which the Council says "can result in indiscriminate and obstructive parking, hindering traffic flow and frequently causing damage to verges".

Kathleen Healy of the Dukes Meadows Trust gave a qualified welcome to the plan to reduce congestion but she warned that the Masterplan favoured sporting clubs and not local residents who use the amenities.

"I fear that little or no short term parking will be created to allow informal visitors to visit and enjoy the park when large events take place, as clearly informal facilities and the people who use them seem to be invisible or unimportant to the council." (see full statement below)

The Council says that a pilot scheme in the Riverside Drive area was so successful that it plans to extend parking controls to the whole site to ease congestion.

The restrictions would principally involve Dan Mason Drive, Riverside Drive and The Promenade and include the following:

*‘No waiting at any time’ restrictions (double yellow lines) along Dan Mason Drive, The Promenade and Riverside Drive;
*Loading (up to 20minutes) is permitted on double yellow line restrictions – this would allow, for example, people to load and unload materials associated with the Allotment gardens.
*New pay-by-phone parking tariff introduced Monday-Sunday 9am-5pm,
*Potential for additional new parking spaces on Riverside Drive to be explored;
*The parking bays proposed are to be surfaced as per the existing spaces on Riverside Drive to assist in preserving the parkland character of the area;
*Visual impacts of the scheme minimised through the use of cashless parking (RingGo). Pay-and-Display machines will not be used;
*Protected areas for coach turning movements provided on either side of the Bandstand;
*New parking bays for market visitors on Alexandra Gardens – Sundays only, 10am-2pm; and
*Re-configured parking layouts at Barnes Hockey Club and Chiswick Boat House car parks to maximise off-street parking provision;

A public consultation has been launched and the closing date is 21 December.

car badly parked dukes meadows
An example of the type of parking the Council wants to stop

Locals often complain of traffic congestion when the area becomes busy at weekends, as it is close to several sports clubs, the Sunday food market, allotments, and the monthly Chiswick School car boot sale.

The introduction of parking restrictions forms part of the huge programme of planned improvements to the park, the Dukes Meadows Masterplan, which were approved in February 2018. It involves upgrading a range of sports and leisure facilities on the site including, rugby, hockey, football, rowing, cricket, tennis and golf. The wider plans include improvements to the Dukes Meadows Bandstand and a pedestrian walkway built across the river to Barnes.

The proposals aim to formalise parking facilities along Dan Mason Drive, The Promenade and Riverside Drive by providing defined areas for car parking and introducing parking controls along both sides of these roads.

Kathleen Healy of the Dukes Meadows Trust commented: "We are supportive of the proposal to start charging for parking, as the area gets very parked out and dangerously congested, particularly when there are large events taking place and parking spills on to the Meadows. We asked that a good number of spaces, with a maximum stay of two hours be created, so visitors to the free, informal parts of the Meadows can park on busy event days. I hope that the plans include that, but I can't see a proposal in the consultation documents. There is a proposal to create some short term parking for the market, which we welcome and we are also pleased to see that parking revenue will be used on the park, but would like to see funding being spent transparently and with genuine input from the cubs and Dukes Meadows Trust.

"We suggested that instead of formalising car parking near the river, additional spaces were created along Riverside Drive, as it is a less sensitive area and already has parking spaces that have minimal impact on the park, with space for more. We also asked that the opportunity was taken to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists along Riverside Drive. It is currently very unsafe, see photo attached. I think children should be safe cycling in a local park.

"The council refused to make any changes and is, I believe, going ahead with the original plans, although there is a vague suggestion they may consider additional spaces along Riverside Drive in the future.

"Our concern remains that the council's plans for the meadows are entirely focused on increasing formal sports facilities and generating revenue from lettings. The council seems to place no value on the informal amenities in the park and the needs of informal users. This despite Chiswick, according to the council's own reports, having a low provision of informal open space. This bias is borne out by the intro to the consultation which says;

'Dukes Meadows is an important destination for sports and leisure activities and is home to the Chiswick Rugby Football Club, Dukes Meadows Golf & Tennis, the Skieasy skiing facility, Barnes Hockey Club, The Virgin Active Sports & Leisure Centre, Chiswick Cricket Club and the King’s House Sports Grounds, as well as a number of sculling and rowing clubs. The Dukes Meadows Bandstand also acts as a focus for leisure visits to and along the river'

"There is no mention whatsoever about the playgrounds, market orchard or any of the informal facilities, apart from the band stand. That seems very odd and worrying for anyone who values those amenities. I fear that little or no short term parking will be created to allow informal visitors to visit and enjoy the park when large events take place, as clearly informal facilities and the people who use them seem to be invisible or unimportant to the council.

"It is distressing for people who care about the park, to see the lack of interest in enhancing it for families and local people and addressing the serious safety issues on the main road into it, Riverside Drive. Also to see informal users, mainly local people paying council tax to Hounslow, treated as second class citizens whilst the needs of visiting sports clubs or people attending large events, from all over London or the country are prioritised. It is possible to respect and cater for the needs of both, so why are local people held in such low regard and given no consideration?"

Hounslow Council introduced 'experimental' parking restrictions in the Riverside Drive area, above.


November 24, 2018

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