Dukes Meadows Regeneration Plan Gets Go Ahead

Work to start on multi-million pound scheme immediately

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Hounslow Council has agreed a planning application for a series of projects around Dukes Meadows, which will incorporate improvements to the public space and upgrades to sporting facilities on the site.

The first stage of the project will start immediately (Monday 12 February) with the installation of bat boxes to support biodiversity, as well as maintenance to improve views along the Thames. Following this, works will begin to build a new artificial rugby pitch.

The situation relating to football improvements at Riverside Lands is as yet unresolved. FA Parklife pulled out of its £3.5m investment to transform facilities at the home ground of Old Meadonians Football Club (OMFC) when it refused to support the Parklife model.

Asked about the situation, Hounslow Council said it was in discussions with the Football Foundation with regard to the structure of the funding for the football facilities on site and there was still some work to be done. "The County FA have stated that the Football Foundation would welcome the proposals for the developments at Dukes Meadows and continue to work in partnership with Hounslow Council."

It is anticipated that funding for the project will be finalised by the Spring of this year. The amount required is estimated to be over £10 million and there is likely to be a shortfall.

The Dukes Meadows masterplan includes:

• improved entrances for pedestrians,
• enhancement of the Thames path,
• renovation of the bandstand area and promenade,
• a new pedestrian bridge,
• ecological improvements including tree planting, creation of new habitats for bats and improvements to the nature reserve,
• a new and improved boathouse,
• renovation of sports pitches and sports pavilions.

The Council says its plans are supported by the London Wildlife Trust (LWT) and national sporting governing bodies including the County Football Association (County FA), the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and British Rowing, in addition to all local clubs including Old Meadonians Football Club, Chiswick Rugby Club, and Hounslow and Barnes Hockey Clubs. Other organisations which have contributed to the plans include the Port of London Authority and the charity Sustrans, which promotes sustainable travel.

The Dukes Meadows Trust has raised issues about the regeneration, most recently relating to traffic on the narrow roads leading to the sports facilities.

Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council said, “I am pleased that this project has received the recognition and support it merits and I’m delighted that the journey with the community so far has been overwhelmingly positive. The proposed plans have worked as a catalyst to inject funding into Dukes Meadows and has brought local clubs and stakeholders together to work more collaboratively.

"The council is committed to improving the great asset that is Dukes Meadows and we will continue to work alongside residents and stakeholders as the improvements take shape. We’re grateful to the RFU who have contributed £1.5million which will ensure that works can begin without delay.”

A proposed footbridge, which will allow greater access along the Thames path, is an important component of the approved plans and the planning application for its construction was also approved at the public meeting- you can read our story on the footbridge.

The London Wildlife Trust is collaborating with designers to develop a planting and management strategy to ensure all proposals are ecologically sensitive.

Consultation with the community revealed that the main concerns for the site were in relation to traffic. The council has listened to those concerns and in response has put together plans to mitigate increases in traffic through improvements to road infrastructure and parking.

There were two public consultations, one in 2016 and another in October and November 2017. The consultation engaged with over 400 people and the following priorities were identified:

• Better formal facilities (62%)
• Better pedestrian experience (55%)
• Creation of a pedestrian bridge (53%)
• Changes to the Thames path (48%)
• Improved entrances (49%)

A better natural environment was also supported by 33% of the respondents.

The RFU is investing £1.3 million to lay an artificial pitch and also added additional funds which means they can play on it more often and share with other rugby clubs to expand the game. Chiswick Rugby Club said they have been hugely impressed with the support so far from the RFU.

future bridge across the thamews

It is anticipated that funding for the project will be finalised by the Spring of 2018. The amount required is estimated to be over £10 million and there is likely to be a shortfall.

February 11, 2018

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