Popular River Walk Is An Eyesore Say Locals

Strand on the Green residents want Council to upgrade it


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Residents who live alongside the popular river walk along Strand-on-the-Green have claimed that Hounslow Council is not facing up to its responsibilities to maintain the area properly.

They say the surface of the pavements is dangerous and uneven and the retaining wall support structure is tipping into the Thames and in urgent need of strengthening. The 800-metre stretch contains some of the most expensive homes in Chiswick- one of which, Prospect House sold for £6 million recently.

The riverside walk surface has sustained damage from the tide washing in twice a day and damaging the foundations and also from general wear and tear. In some places weeds grow profusely alongside the wall. The Strand residents say if it were paved with a material resin bound paving similar to that used by Richmond Council along the river, it would not only look better but be more resistant to damage.

For some years maintenance of the supporting wall was carried out by the Port of London Authority but it later emerged this was as a 'goodwill' gesture and they were not legally obliged to do so. The Environment Agency said it was not their responsibility. At one point a large section of the supporting wall fell into the river damaging a sewer.

Following a court case taken by local residents twelve years ago, Hounslow Council agreed it was its responsibility to maintain the pavementbut there is still disagreement over who is responsible for the supporting wall. The Council said in a letter to a resident that it 'regularly' maintains the 800-metre stretch. A spokesman for the Strand-on-the Green Residents' Association said that a Freedom of Information answer to a query reveals that in the past three years, the Council has only paid a visit once a year to the area to carry out any works, the last time was July 2012.

"We have never so much as seen a sweeper come along here. The place is in a dreadful state" said one local resident.

Residents say the supporting wall structure is part and parcel of the maintenance of a public highway under the Highways Act and want the Council to carry out works.

Local MP Mary Macleod joined the residents on Friday (June 21) to see the situation for herself, accompanied by an overseas delegation or parliamentarians from Commonwealth countries who wanted to see an example of the constituency work carried out by a local MP. Councillors Samantha Davies and Paul Lynch also support the call for the Council to take action. The riverbank walk is used to hundreds of people every day, including dog-walkers, joggers, and parents with pushchairs.

Mary Macleod MP and Cllr Paul Lynch with a visiting parliamentarian

Cllr Lynch explained that in medieval times, anyone who owned a property along the river had the responsibility to maintain the area right in front of their house. However nowadays that responsibility is given over to the local authority under the Highways Act.

"It's unsatisfactory for a path in front of old historic houses and we need to get a suitable surface," he commented.

June 24, 2013

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