|Paving Paradise With A Parking Lot?|
Local concern over application to extend Chiswick House car park
Concerns have been raised in Chiswick this week after an application to extend the car park in Chiswick House Grounds was brought to wider public awareness.
The application was submitted in October and the deadline for comments has passed leading to some fears that an attempt was being made to sneak through a controversial change.
Concern was expressed that the historic walled garden known as The Cherry Orchard, would be paved over to accommodate more parking.
The Chiswick House and Gardens Trust have categorically denied this, saying that it is just an amendment to the original application for the car park which will allow overflow parking in the Cherry Orchard area to be charged. They say any changes necessary to the grassed surface in this area to allow parking were made in 2010.
The application by way of a draft traffic order, has led to speculation that Chiswick House may be planning increasing the number of events they hold in the Gardens, which will increase the use of the overflow car park, but in future the Trust will be able to charge for parking, as it does in the existing car park.
The application states: "The Council of the London Borough of Hounslow proposes to make an Order under sections 32, 35 and 124 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The general effect of the Parking Places Amendment Order would be to amend The London Borough of Hounslow (Off-Street Parking Places) Order 2011 to expand the area of the Chiswick House and Gardens car park."
Map showing the existing car park with the planned extension
The document shows a map which highlights the north-western end of the walled garden area for use as an overflow park.
The application brought a furious response. Some comments included those from volunteers who had worked to restore the walled garden back from the wilderness.
"Changing a 17th century walled garden that was only recently restored as an orchard into a car park is not acceptable. The notification of this change was not properly publicised", said one previous volunteer.
"I hope the Chiswick House beehives in the area at the extreme eastern edge of the area can coexist with the car park. I don't understand how the car access will work without destroying the closed character of the walled garden", commented another .
Image of the Cherry Orchard
The Chiswick House Trust have applied for an extension to the time and dates that they are allowed to operate the marquee . The associated planning application is here. The original planning application in 2009 (which is on the document list with the application), states that the car park in the Walled Garden can only be used for events associated with the marquee.
Chiswick House has moved to reassure locals that the application relating to the car park is "an amendment order" and that the area in the map (the Cherry Orchard) should have been included in planning documents in 2011 when it was decided that the Trust would be allowed to take over the car-park area and start charging for parking. The draft traffic order is therefore to apply "enforcement" to the existing grassed overflow park.
A spokesperson for Chiswick House said, "The application is an amendment – in 2011 the Council announced charging in the Chiswick House car park. The Cherry Orchard can be used as a car park extension – therefore on those days when it is used for a public event, the same charges will be in force . As it is an amendment to the original application, the wording of the original is used.
"I reiterate there are no plans to change the current provision and this is an amendment to the 2011 application."
December 5, 2015