New Education Building For Gunnersbury Triangle

Councillors to consider £500,000 proposals for improvements to local nature reserve


Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve


Chiswick Area Committee (Monitoring) Wednesday, 12 January 7:30pm The Hogarth Hall, Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace

Also under discussion:

  • Budget presentation - Council Budget 2011/2012
  • Discussion on the future shape of Area Committees

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Chiswick councillors will consider a proposals for a new education building and improvements at Gunnersbury Triangle Local Nature Reserve at the Chiswick Area Committee (Monitoring) next week.

The plans, which will be carried out over the next 11 years, are estimated to cost over half million pounds and will be financed by funding from Chiswick Business Park's Building 6 and 7.

Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve Background

The Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve is a 2.71 hectare or 6.68 acre triangle which is managed by London Wildlife Trust, in association with its volunteers. The site straddles the borough boundary between the London Borough of Hounslow and the London Borough of Ealing and since the Second World War the site has been left and as a result the site now contains natural woodland and is an excellent refuge for local wildlife.

During the 19th century, map evidence shows Gunnersbury Triangle as an area of orchards with gravel extraction activity. In the 20th century, the site was used as railway allotments during the 1940s. After this it is thought that the site was left to colonize naturally, and anecdotal evidence tells of it being used by children for ‘various adventures’.

In 1981, a proposal was put forward to develop the site for commercial use. The proposed development met with strong opposition from the local community and in

March 1982 the Chiswick Wildlife Group (part of the London Wildlife Trust) was formed. This local group challenged this proposal and in July 1983 the case went to a Public Inquiry. The Inspector decided that the best future for this site would be nature conservation.
This decision paved the way for the site to become a nature reserve and set an important precedent for urban nature conservation.

This inspectors report included two significant points:
That “the importance of the Gunnersbury Triangle from an ecological point of view is the variety of habitats in a fairly small area and the presence of a significant number of flora and fauna within them, including a limited number of locally uncommon species.”

And that “Many of those who live in the area clearly regard the site as being of ecological importance, as well as being a valuable amenity feature.”

The London Borough of Hounslow purchased the land in 1984 from British Rail and in the spring of 1984 the London Wildlife Trust were granted the first Management Licence.

Local volunteers prepared the site soon after and later that year Gunnersbury Triangle was officially opened. Local Nature Reserve status was formally granted by the Borough of Hounslow in 1987 and the remainder of the site was similarly designated in 1991 by the Borough of Ealing. London Wildlife Trust has continued to manage the Triangle with local volunteers since then. Resources have allowed the employment of part-time staff to complement the volunteer work-force, in particular during the summer to work with schools groups and to organise a range of activities to promote the site in the local neighborhood.

The present site management agreement needs to be reviewed to enable the London
Wildlife Trust to carry out the proposed site developments over the next 11 years.

January 4, 2011