|Residents Fear Disruption from 'New Marina'
Call for more consultation on Chiswick Pier Trust's pontoon extension plan
Plans by the Chiswick Pier Trust (CPT) to extend the pontoon on the River Thames have run into opposition from a group of local residents concerned that the scheme amounts to the creation of a new marina.
The CPT were prompted to make the application when they started to receive a significant number of unsolicited requests from the continent for berthing of visiting boats during the London Olympics. The rental from the Olympic period alone should be in the region of £50,000.
The extended pontoon would be a total length of 145 metres and would provide additional space for the Sea Cadets and Canoe Club, more space for visiting boats and space for two further residential boats. The Trust say It will also allow the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to launch its lifeboats even faster and will provide dedicated teaching areas for the Thames Explorer Trust’s educational programmes.
However, there are concerns that the extra traffic that the extension would bring could change the nature of the area. One local resident told us, 'The CPT’s overriding priority seems to be getting this extension in place in time to benefit from a one-off surge in income from overseas moorings during the 2012 Olympics. But it is the overall benefit to the community and the environmental impact of what one trustee called a “marina” in a busy and beautiful part of the Thames that is the real issue which demands considered discussion and reflection.'
The pontoon could provide dedicated transfer point for passengers using Thames River buses downriver to Greenwich, Canary Wharf, Central London, Battersea, and Putney and upriver to Kew, Richmond, Kingston and Hampton Court. The CPT is encouraging river bus operators to introduce this as a regular service, and hope the planning application will allow the creation of a specific area for passenger transfer.
At a stormy meeting on 28th June there was a meeting to give residents a chance to hear the plans. A request was made to the Trust to delay the application to ensure proper consultation but at a Trust management meeting the next day the decision was made to proceed. The application needs to progress promptly if the trust are to meet their deadline of completing the project by Easter 2012.
Many residents are unhappy with the patchy nature of the consultation with some residents with a view of the site not being informed by letter. A group of residents have contacted Mary Macleod MP and the three local councillors to protest about the inadequate provision for proper consultation and are seeking professional advice about the actual plans. The Trust pointed out at the meeting that publicity for the consultation was the responsibility of the Council and there wasn't anything they could do to ensure it was done effectively. The Council do not publicise planning applications on ChiswickW4.com.
The original deadline for response was 11th July but, given that many residents appeared to be unaware that the consultation was taking place this has now been extended to August 8th and comments can be accepted by Hounslow Council's planning department either by letter or online.