Strand on the Green Residents Oppose Chiswick 'Beach' Plan

Proposal for motorboat club and 'fast pedalos' would be hazardous to area

he area of the proposed development - Ball's Wharf
Part of the area of the proposed development - Ball's Wharf


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The Strand on the Green Association (SoGA) has objected to the application for a mixed river leisure facility, known as The Chiswick Beach, and recommends refusal on the following grounds. Their letter (which follows below) was submitted on 13th December 2017 outlining the grounds for their objection.

1. Visual impact on a Conservation Area: The installation of 10 permanent and 22 new moorings for transient vessels together with associated infrastructure workshops and ‘amenity area’ will have both a visual impact on the upriver view from Strand on the Green footpath and houses thereon taking into account the bend of the river and a physical impact on pedestrians walking the Strand on the Green footpath which forms part of the Thames National Trail. At high tide the unrestricted view of those properties on the north side of Strand on the Green will be impaired particularly by the height of the proposed clubhouse / workshop and other structures. No control can be imposed upon the future maintenance and height of a residential vessel and there is serious concern about the long term condition of such a vessel.

2. Houseboat creep: By giving permission to this number of vessels a precedent will be set for further applications which would have a very serious effect on the nature of the foreshore where river conservancy is of prime importance.

3. Navigation hazard: The mooring facility as proposed would be a navigational hazard to vessels approaching or leaving Kew Bridge Pier including the occasions when they need to wait against the river wall for favourable tide conditions.

4. Obstruction leisure amenities: The installation of a new permanent mooring of the size submitted will be damaging to the leisure activities of the SotG sailing club which regularly races along the river to Kew Bridge and where the tidal currents can dictate a course of navigation close to the river wall also to the sports activities based at Kew Bridge which include kayaking and paddle boarding and where novices under training could potentially be injured by the structure of the decking its vessels and mooring ropes. There would be denial of access for other leisure activities at Ball’s Wharf including the fishermen who regularly fish and compete along that reach of the SotG foreshore.

5. The Foreshore: The development at the proposed location will effect and disrupt the established ecology.

6. Land based services: The land above the proposed permanent mooring is designated metropolitan open land and nature conservation area in the LBH unitary development plan and the presence of so many residential vessels will require the installation of major land based fixed services including sewage disposal – gas -electrical and fresh water supply - household rubbish disposal all of which will require facilities to be installed on the public land adjacent to the proposed mooring.

7. Noise & light pollution: The presence of so many residential vessels will require the use of generators combined with residential heating which will result in noise light and air pollution. There is additional concern about noise from parties and music.

8. Parking: Parking is now restricted along Strand on the Green Thames Road and adjacent side streets. The presence of a permanent residential mooring will inevitably lead to further increased traffic and congestion from the vessels’ residents their visitors and deliveries. SoGA would ensure that residential parking and visitor permits would not be made available to houseboat residents or staff in accordance with current Lbh planning conditions applied to new land based developments.

9. Detritus: Floating river rubbish inevitably gets caught by any obstruction in the river and the presence of a large fixed mooring will lead to a buildup of unsightly and potentially toxic waste between the vessel and the river wall.

10. Notification: It is contrary to planning procedures for local residents not to receive direct communication from the principal body – in this case the Pla – particularly in a sensitive conservation area. It cannot be left to the local residents’ association – SoGA – to inform non-members resident in the area of such a major proposal. A proper and accepted means of notification needs to be put in place before further action is taken by the Pla.

11. Documents: The small scale of the plan accompanying the application provides insufficient detail.

The development which would be called ‘Chiswick Beach’ would include twelve new moorings for houseboats and it is proposed to form a Chiswick Boat Club for motorboats to operate from the facility. The applicant says there would also be facilities for canoeing, rowing, sailing and ‘fast pedalos’ as well as a club boat with a café and restaurant. The scheme would be entirely on the water.

It would be located just east of Kew Bridge and stretch to the small park opposite the Café Rouge restaurant. The applicant promises to support ‘arts, music and creativity’ of all kinds at the facility. It would also be the home of the Institute of Life an organisation which is described as having a ‘fundamental philosophical belief in Life and the conservational use of the natural world for the well-being of people’. The facility would generate its own power and provide a surplus to feed back to the National Grid.

Permission has already been requested of the Port of London Authority (PLA) for installation of piles, pontoons and moorings in the area that used to be called Ball’s Wharf and was formerly used for river related commerce.

The applicant claims that Hounslow Council ‘is particularly excited’ by the scheme. The Council have recently approved a scheme to build moorings for 25 houseboats opposite Watermans Park to the west of Kew Bridge.

chiswick beach
A plan of the scheme submitted with the report to the PLA

January 6, 2018

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