Heritage plant centre planned which will specialise in plants with historic connections with the House and grounds

Local councillors will be given the opportunity this week to review plans for the development of a nursery in the grounds of Chiswick House.

CIP, who manage the grounds on behalf of English Heritage and London Borough of Hounslow, wish to create a 'heritage plant centre' within the existing vacant nursery area. The centre would specialise in plants with historic connections to Chiswick House, specimen plants, and plants requiring unusual growing conditions. They say it is not intended to use the area as a general 'garden centre', but to sell plants particularly with a historic connection with Chiswick House.

50 neighbouring properties were consulted on the plans with 5 objections received. Three residents of Paxton Road have objected on the grounds that the scheme would detract from the character of Chiswick House Grounds, create noise and disturbance and spoil the enjoyment of the park for visitors.

The Friends of Chiswick House support the scheme in principle but have objected to some details of the plans. They are concerned about the limited parking facilities and access for deliveries. In addition they feel there is a lack of awareness of the plans amongst local people and are encouraging CIP to publish details more widely.

The plans do state that large delivery vehicles would not be necessary and deliveries would tend to decline as the stock of plants in the nursery increases.

The secretary of The Friends of Chiswick House, Petronella Griffiths, said, "We are very anxious that there is no commercialisation of this project. We understood that the monies accrued would be ploughed back into Chiswick House Grounds. The proposed planning application states that the monies will be spread throughout Hounslow and this is not really acceptable to us."

Julian Knott, director of commercial services at CIP stated, "Due to the nature of our contractual arrangements and our agreements with LB., it is not possible to 100% ring fence any monies to a specific area. However, it is logical that the major beneficiary of such a project will be the Chiswick community."

Other residents have expressed the surprise that resources are being given to the development of a nursery when existing facilities in the grounds are in need of maintenance.

The plans will be discussed at the area committee planning meeting which is at Belmont School on Wednesday evening, 16th October at 7.30pm. As a "major" planning application local councillors will only be allowed to pass comment. The decision as to whether proceed with the plan will be taken on 31st October by the Sustainable Development Committee of Hounslow Council. Chiswick House Friends Trustee, Robert Shaw, who is an experienced architect will be representing them at this meeting.

Friends of Chiswick House have asked for comments from local people to be sent to their secretary at:

October 11, 2002

Friends of Chiswick House