Chiswick People Value 'Village' Feel Says Survey

Locals prefer trees and views and dislike 'slick' development


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Chiswick residents want to keep the historical character of the High Road and its 'village feel' and dislike too many estate agents and coffee chains, according to a recent survey.

Over 160 responses were made to the High Road Action Group's questionnaire on the future development of Chiswick, which the organisers described as "an excellent and thoughtful response." The group has presented the results to Hounslow Council, who are engaged in an important Context and Character Study which could impact on future planning applications and development strategy.

The questionnaire followed two public meetings in October and December which revealed an underlying concern about possible developments on Chiswick High Road and the lack of a group to represent its interests. The following is a summary of the results.


The character and personality of Chiswick is wrapped up in our high street.”

The response to the questionnaire revealed an over-whelming appreciation for the High Road. For instance, 99.4% liked the views across the Green, 99.4% liked the tree-lined boulevard feel, 97.5% liked the human scale of the buildings. Themes that emerged as very positive components were the trees, the low-rise skyline, traditional shop frontages, wide pavements , independent local shops, the variety of shops and the “village feel”.

Negative elements that received several comments were : the preponderance of estate agents and coffee chains, Metro Bank’s glass cube, too long/too bright shop fronts, traffic congestion, inadequate cycle provision. The two high-rises on the High Road – BSI and Empire House – were much disliked.

Future developments should respect the historical character of the High Road (93.75%), should be low level (90.6%), separate units, not one glazed frontage (90.6%), of high architectural quality (98.8%), retain a mixture of uses (96.25%), according to the questionnaire responses.

Selection of typical comments:

  • “This is a traditional High Road of mixed shops, stalls, pubs, cafes, restaurants etc and has been allowed to develop organically. The mixture of styles makes it human and fit for people to use and enjoy.”
  • “A harmonious, green, individual high street with high quality and independent outlets.”
  • “Live here, born here and very much want the area to retain its special ‘village’ characteristics while at the same time allowing for growth in homes and jobs, but all consistent with the traditional look and feel of the area.
  • “We need to keep a careful balance between retail, residential and office space. Too much office space potentially reduces the footfall for nearby shops. Too much residential upsets the balance of existing services.”
  • “Beware of Chiswick becoming too slick, eccentricity is important.”

“I don't want Chiswick preserved in aspic but quality of any new design is paramount.”

"The London Borough of Hounslow was carrying out an important Context and Character Study which could impact on future planning applications and development strategy, whose deadline was looming. We felt it was very important to add accurate feedback to this study. Other groups throughout Hounslow have also been responding about their particular areas," said the group.

The comments have been sent back to the Council's Planning Department (both the policy team carrying out the Context & Character study and that responsible for dealing with planning applications) and directly to local Councillors.

"We hope our responses will be reflected in the eventual final version of Hounslow’s Context and Character guidance." said the group.

"We actively encourage people to get involved. We are a small group of local individuals, and welcome and need more people to help."

The next meeting of the “Steering Committee” is on Wednesday 2 rd January 2013. Please contact

The group can be followed on Twitter: @ChiswickHighRd


January 16, 2013

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