Rowers Revolt Over Riverside Parking
No resolution in sight over issue of land use at Dukes Meadows
The issue of parking was on Chiswick Area Monitoring Committee’s agenda this week, not CPZs or PCNs but provision for rowers’ vehicles who use the various clubs along the river. The discussions formed part of the ongoing implementation of the Dukes Meadows Transport & Access Strategy and centred on the stretch of land from Chiswick Bridge to Chiswick Boat House including the dire condition of the land and proposals to remove parking on it.
Although it is predominantly members of Tideway Scullers boat house that use the grassy riverbank to park their cars, membership of the club and other clubs in close proximity total 625. When the number of regional events held in the area totaling over 13,000 participants (from rowing clubs all over the country) annually, excluding the Oxford/Cambridge Boat race are taken into account, it is evident why this parking issue needs to be resolved.
Chair of the Thames Regional Rowing Council Ruth Hatton believes that the operational needs of the clubs have not been taken into account in the Strategy. She said, “If the measures are implemented as described (they) will have a major detrimental impact on rowing clubs in the area and also on a number of rowing events which are of national and international importance…your scheme does not appear to take into account the needs of the rowing community and in fact the impact of the proposals, if implemented, would be to reduce the number of people taking part in the sport which is in direct contravention of current government policy.”
A number of respondents supported the proposal to remove parking, including local community organisations such as the West London River Group and Dukes Meadows Trust. Clubs that want to retain the parking along the riverbank “have failed to take into account the material River, landscape and planning considerations relevant to the preservation and enhancement of the Riverside of Dukes Meadows,” according to West London River Group. “They have also failed to take into account the existing under-used car-parking space available on the Riverside opposite the Golf Club, and around the Thames Tradesmen's Boathouse.”
The Dukes Meadows Trust said that they would prefer an holistic approach to developing rowing facilities around the Dukes Meadows and state their preference for a renewed emphasis to be put on the development of Chiswick Boat House (which currently houses the smaller Thames Tradesmen’s RC), with its large off-river car parking facility immediately adjacent.
The committee resolved this week to go ahead with the improvements on the pathway from the Chiswick Bridge to the Tideway Scullers club-house, and that further discussions be held on the final location of car-parking.
Full details can be found here (pdf)