Is Hounslow About To 'Pave Paradise With A Parking Lot?'

Dukes Meadows Trust 'dismayed' at plans to spend six-figure sum on car park

The area due to fenced and hard surfaced - image DM Trust

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Dukes Meadows Trust has said it is "dismayed" at Hounslow Council plan to spend £400, 000 to turn green areas of Dukes Meadows into a car park.

Last week Dukes Meadows Trust learned that there is single member decision tabled for next week to sign off £400,000 to implement a car parking scheme for Dukes Meadows. The plans include hard surfacing and installing knee rail along the green verge on the Promenade, which the Trust says is against the council’s own policies and policies to protect the river environment such as the Mayor of London’s Blue Ribbon Network.

'The council’s consultation for Dukes Meadows, promised better cycle and pedestrian access, but none will be delivered within the £400k of spend, nor are there any traffic speed control measures proposed. It was known that a large amount of new car parking would be created to support the proposed sports development on the upstream side of the Meadows, but there was no suggestion in the consultation that informal areas of the park on the downstream side would also be given over to parking to support sporting events, in fact public realm 'improvements' were promised', said Kathleen Healy of the Trust.

The plans announced, (shown on page 39 of the report), include two coach turning circles in the bays behind the band stand. She points out that they were not mentioned in the original consultation and says the Trust is at a loss to know why they are needed and 'why the council thinks it is a good idea to encourage diesel fume, belching coaches into an area used for walking and jogging and by families for picnics.'

'The Meadows is, sadly, currently unsafe and unpleasant for cyclists and pedestrians. These plans are likely to make the situation worse, with more cars and coaches encouraged to park up right on the river Promenade.

What area would look like after the work - Pic Dukes Meadows Trust

'It is distressing to see so much money being spent on such regressive and destructive plans. They are a 1970s throwback, a homage to car use in complete disregard for the environment. The council has completely failed to balance the rights of those who use Dukes Meadows for formal sports and people for whom Dukes Meadows is a pleasant, green open space that they want to use for walking, taking their children to play and enjoying a natural environment.
We hope that the council will reconsider and talk to all users of the Meadows, not just sports clubs and people driving to events, to invest the £400k in a way that is fair to all.'

Michael Robinson, Co-ordinator Hounslow Cycling Campaign said, "The London Borough of Hounslow recently received funding for the TfL Liveable Neighbourhoods scheme and part of this will be targeted at Dukes Meadows.

"Liveable Neighbourhoods has the objective to reduce car use and turn local areas into safer, greener and healthier places for Londoners.

"It seems perverse that the council has obtained funding based upon a commitment to reduce car use then is spending other money to encourage more motor vehicles.

"We hope the council will reconsider the plans so they favour people walking and cycling in the area."

The introduction of parking restrictions forms part of the huge programme of planned improvements to the park, the Dukes Meadows Masterplan, which were approved in February 2018.

It involves upgrading a range of sports and leisure facilities on the site including, rugby, hockey, football, rowing, cricket, tennis and golf. The wider plans include improvements to the Dukes Meadows Bandstand and a pedestrian walkway built across the river to Barnes.

Hounslow Council had introduced 'experimental' parking restrictions in the Riverside Drive area, above, which it says was a success.


April 14, 2019

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