Chiswick People Value 'Village' Feel Says Survey
Locals prefer trees and views and dislike 'slick' development
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:
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The group can be followed on Twitter: @ChiswickHighRd
January 16, 2013