Dukes Meadows Trust And Hounslow Clash

Over management and future of the recreational area


Petition To 'Save' Dukes Meadows From Council Plans

Dukes Meadows Wins Parks Award

Sign up for our weekly Chiswick newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Differences between how Hounslow Council and the Dukes Meadows Trust head Kathleen Healy view the future of the recreational area were aired at last week's meeting of the Chiswick Area Forum (CAF).

Stefania Horne, Head of Parks for Hounslow Council gave an update on how the Council was proceeding with the upgrading project- she said there would be a public consultation in the autumn, before they could proceed to a planning application and they had to finalise their funding strategy.

There had been talks held with national governing bodies of the sports organisations currently based in Dukes Meadows (football, rugby and hockey groups) with a view towards funding and sharing facilities and they would be making bids for funding to Sport England and others.

dukes meadows site

There had been a good response to the consultation event, with 61% of the feedback from Chiswick residents. The idea of the Towpath Pedestrian link proposed was very popular, and other issues raised by local people included better space for walking and cycling, better benches, signs and bins. The Council had already introduced improvements such as traffic calming, filled potholes, improved enforcement with litter, and the presence of Carillion to manage the site would be intensified.

Asked by Cllr Peter Thompson how much funding would be required she replied that it was estimated to be around £10 million but it was still too early to have a final amount. There had been positive responses from funders but the gap could potentially be £3 million.

Kathleen Healy of the Dukes Meadows Trust said that they had struggled to have a constructive relationshiip with the Council over the future of Dukes Meadows and had experienced hostility. "We have a feeling that we are an inconvenience".

She said she and supporters had not been allowed to attend a meeting last February. The CAF was told this had been a meeting with stakeholders and was for the sporting bodies involved, not for the public.

Ms Healy said that since November 2016, they had been banned by Hounslow Council from maintaining, or repairing the playground, despite having the finances to do so. Yet the Council had not carried out repairs. She was concerned about the possible transfer of parks maintenance contract to Lampton 360, a Council owned company which was set up to deal with property which had no experience in parks management.

She asked councillors to help safeguard the 'informal' areas of the Meadows which the public used, to scrutinise the Council's plans, and to make sure that CIL ( formerly S106) funding was used to repair the infrastructure in the area. She felt public use of the Dukes Meadows was not being reflected, only the sports clubs. The playground had a leak, a swing was broken, and a gate was missing since the Boat Race. It was falling into a "managed decline"

You can read more on the issue, including contributions from local readers, on our forum.

Petition To Help 'Save' Dukes Meadows From Council Plans

Cllr Paul Lynch, in the chair, said that they would want to preserve everything that the Trust had achieved over the years. He said the Council should "trumpet" the success of how Dukes Meadows Trust had maintained the area.

Cllr John Todd said Ms Healy had "jumped the gun" on Lampton 360 and there was no mandate for it to deal with parks.

Stefania Horne said that in relation to the repairs, the Dukes Meadows Trust preferred contractors had not been on the Council's list of approved contractors but following her intervention, that had now been agreed. The issue would be resolved and the repairs carried out as soon as the company was free to do so, which would be next month, August.

A member of the public raised the matter of public toilets and said there had been no mention of a public convenience apart from the play area. Another member of the audiance said it was clear they were in need of reassurance about governance. He was concerned that national sorting governing bodies were involved with funding and said "who is it for and what will the effect be on local people?"

Litter and rubbish left from weekend BBQ's was also a concern of some local people.

Dukes Meadows is a popular local recreational area which has has two play areas, a riverside walk, Sunday Market and open areas for informal games of football or other games. You can read more about the area on their website



July 7, 2017

Bookmark and Share