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Dukes Meadows Consultation Dukes Meadows Trust Response

The Council is planning to make significant changes to Dukes Meadows and have invited the public to view and comment on the plans.

If you want to respond to the Council’s consultation on Dukes Meadows – the link to the survey is at:

http://www.hounslow.gov.uk/Dukes_Meadows.htm

Our response to the survey is attached and we would invite you to read this and if you agree with us, respond to the survey yourself. You are welcome to copy the wording if you like.

 3. What features of Dukes Meadows are most important to you?

Options;

  • Better formal sports facilities
  • Better spaces for recreation (such as walking cycling and running)
  • Better infrastructure for general outdoor use such as benches, lighting, river views
  • Better social, leisure and community facilities such as café, meting rooms
  • Other.

This is a badly worded question. It asks “What features..ARE most important”, then only gives options to change things. How do you answer if you want things to stay the same or only want improved maintenance?

Better maintenance and management of the site so it is safe and pleasant for people accessing clubs and for the thousands of informal visitors.

The meadows is a valuable resource for people on low incomes and those not able or inclined to participate in formal sports. The free, informal recreation it offers strongly supports the council’s public health agenda and tackling health inequalities. The formal sports are great facilities, but both are needed and should be valued, invested in and protected.

The proposals relating to the informal aspects of the park seem to have had little consideration and to be tokenistic. I am concerned that the main driver and focus of the plans is to build new sports facilities and that little else will ultimately be delivered and the weaknesses around management and maintenance of the site not addressed.

The council’s own culture and Leisure strategy acknowledges that there is a low provision of open space in Chiswick and that the consequent intensity of use is degrading the park. This situation will worsen with more flats being built and more people moving to the area. There is a strong case for investment in the infrastructure and informal areas of the park, which could be funded from the S106 or CIL arising from development and would provide a facility for people moving to the area.

Do you have any comments with regards to the options presented for the open space (Board5)

The paths along the river that it is proposed to upgrade were installed recently; That beside Dan Mason Drive around 12 years ago and on the Promenade side around 7 years ago. The surface is sustainable, SUDS compacted gravel. If they now appear in poor condition, it is due to lack of maintenance, which is one of the major challenges on Dukes Meadows that should be addressed. They don’t need resurfacing.

The new trip rail seems a bizarre suggestion and no indication is given as to what would happen to the existing railings, which could be repaired and are part of the historic fabric of the park.

No indication of priority is given, although Promenade Approach is in a very poor and hazardous state and is in far greater need of work than the fairly recently resurfaced river paths. Dan Mason Drive is in urgent need of resurfacing, but so is Riverside Drive, which doesn’t seem be included. We are already working on signage and feel that that would be better left to be planned and implemented by stakeholders who understand the site.

The new footbridge would deliver huge benefits to users and link the upper half of the meadows to public transport. The plans were draw up a few years ago and we are aware that little resource has been allocated to advancing the plans. Without a commitment to devote officer time to this the bridge it won’t happen.

There is a lot of information and not a lot of space here to comment. A longer consultation and more opportunity for discussion of plans is needed. The plans proposed indicate a poor understanding of the site, or that the main focus has been on the proposed sports facilities with less consideration given to other areas.

 

  1. Do you have any comments with regard to the options presented for the sports options

The sports clubs are best placed to consider this. It will be sad if it results in the current devolved management structure being replaced by management by a commercial operator or directly by the council. The quality of the facilities greatly improved after the clubs took on management from CIP/ the Council.

Further land currently in informal use must not be transferred to support formal use, e.g. converted to additional car parking spaces.

Plans seem to be being progressed with haste and without due consideration of environmental impact and traffic impact on the rest on the meadows. I would question if the proposed location is the best in terms of the impact on the river, Dukes Hollow and the traffic that would be generated along Dan Mason Drive. Also the sustainability of what is built with reference to existing 3G provision and current demand. There seems undue haste in pushing the project forward and I wonder why that is. A better outcome would be achieved if more care and thought were applied.

Clubs should be in a lead position, as they have built the success that currently exists and shown long term commitment to the area.