HOMEBASE, MANOR ROAD DEVELOPMENT
The Richmond Society has asked the Government to issue an urgent “Holding Direction” to enable the Mayor of London’s possible approval of the proposed Homebase, Manor Road development to be called in. The Mayor has taken over as the local planning authority from Richmond Council for this application and encouraged an increase in the size of the project by developer Avanton Richmond to 433 residential units from 385.
We have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request a “Holding Direction” to the Mayor while he considers whether the plans should be called in for further scrutiny. This appears to be the only way to ensure the developer’s amended plans are sustainable and can meet the economic and social objectives of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
We believe a call in by the Secretary of State is justified because of breaches of the Framework.
The principle of building homes on this brownfield site is accepted, although the loss of two major retail outlets (Homebase and Pets at Home) is regrettable. Key economic concerns relate to weaknesses in the transport infrastructure while social objective failings pertain to the negative local impact of the design’s height (now 10 storeys) and mass. The development will never sit comfortably in this suburban location due to low-lying conservation areas to the south and west.
We argue that the developer’s amended proposals remain in conflict with the NPPF, the New London Plan and numerous policies in Richmond Council’s Local Plan. The Mayor’s London-wide affordable housing targets are being used to justify the site’s overdevelopment with unsustainable repercussions for the local community. The affordable housing contribution does not include enough social rent housing and that should not overrule NPPF expectations for sustainable developments that are subject to proper scrutiny and comply with adopted planning rules.
A public hearing will be held on a date to be confirmed later in the year.
A full account is on our website and can be read here.
RICHMOND PARK TRAFFIC
A consultation has been launched on a Movement Strategy for all royal parks including Richmond Park.
Royal Parks lists 7 desirable outcomes that include giving pedestrians priority; roads to facilitate visiting parks rather than enabling through traffic; and promoting better cyclist behaviours.
Nothing is being proposed yet for implementation to reduce through traffic but past discussions with Richmond Park’s management have included blocking through routes so people in a car can only reach the closest car park, or using ANPR technology and charging for access. Both of these are mentioned in the consultation for consideration.
Charging for vehicular use of Richmond Park as a through route creates a new revenue stream, whereas physically blocking through traffic would shut the best vehicular route from Richmond to Roehampton and Kingston hospitals.
The modal split for Richmond Park visitor arrivals, measured by Ipsos MORI in 2018, is: private car 37%, walk 25%, public transport 18%, bicycle 17%, taxi/coach 3%.
The Royal Parks draft Movement Strategy 2020 is here. Comments must be made before Wednesday 25 March at email@example.com.
Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) welcomed the Appeal Court’s decision that the Aviation National Policy Statement approved by parliament in 2018 is unlawful because it does not adequately take into account the UK’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that requires signatories to demonstrate how they will reduce carbon emissions.
The decision is a major blow to plans for a third runway at Heathrow that will at the very least delay any expansion. The case was brought by environment groups, 5 local authorities including Richmond upon Thames, and the Mayor of London.
The Richmond Society is the largest component of RHC, which also includes The Kew Society and Friends of Richmond Green. For more information, see the RHC website here.
An application by Alhambra, a café next to the Angel & Crown public house in Church Court, Richmond for an on-sales alcohol licence will be considered by Richmond Council’s Licensing Sub-committee at 2:30 pm on Thursday 5 March in the Council Chamber at York House, Twickenham.
The Richmond Society opposes the application because it poses a substantial risk to 4 licensing objectives: prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance, public safety, and protection of children from harm, as well as the Cumulative Impact Policy on licences for alcohol sales.
We recently objected on behalf of local residents to another application, by Revolution bar at Richmond Riverside, to vary its licence to permit an extension of its operating hours. That application was refused. Public nuisance affecting local residents was cited as a reason.
Relevant documents can be seen here.
Crime figures for 2019 show there were 406 victims of personal robberies in Richmond upon Thames compared with 345 in 2018. There were more in the first half and fewer in the second half compared with the previous year. Residential burglaries across the borough were 595 in the second half (708 in the same period 2018).
Thefts from motor vehicles including theft of catalytic converters and parking meter distraction is a growing problem. Offences peaked in November with 256 for a total of 1,196 in the second half. In South Richmond ward, which includes the town centre, the increase began in August and went from 11 motor vehicle offences to 30 in December. Thefts have occurred around Richmond Green, the NCP car parks and at Richmond Station.
Richmond Council has been awarded £569,106 by the government to tackle rough sleeping during 2020-21. This is an increase of £86,000 from similar funding for the current 2019-20 year. It will enable an additional case worker to guide rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation as rapidly as possible and a coordinator to help pull all strands of this complex work together. Help will be given both to people who have just begun sleeping on the streets and those more entrenched. Case workers work with individual rough sleepers to negotiate a personalised route into accommodation.
Richmond upon Thames is the third fittest place in England and top in London, according to a report by Medicspot, a health website. It found 77% of adults in the borough either meet or exceed NHS guidelines for exercise. The NHS suggests adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. It says 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity can give similar health benefits.
Liquid History: A wander along England's longest river by Tom Chesshyre, author of From Source to Sea: Notes from a 215-mile walk along the River Thames, on Thursday 19 March. Doors at Richmond & Hillcroft Adult Community College, Parkshot, Richmond open at 7:00 pm when refreshments will be available. This Richmond Society event begins at 7:30 pm and is free to our members. Guests are asked to make a £2 donation.
Behind the scenes tour of Richmond Lock and Footbridge by the Lock Keeper following its major repainting programme, arranged by Environment Trust on Friday 27 March at 12:00 pm. Book here.
Queen’s Road: 500 years of history from farmland owned by Tudor courtiers to the site of modern social housing, is an exhibition which runs until Saturday 5 September at the Museum of Richmond in the Old Town Hall. On Thursday 23 April Paul Velluet, architectural historian and Trustee of Richmond Parish Lands Charity, will give a talk to our members and their guests about the Queen’s Road Estate as an exemplary approach to social housing in Richmond. Doors at Richmond & Hillcroft Adult Community College open at 7:00 pm when refreshments will be available. The event begins at 7:30 pm and is free to our members. Guests are asked to make a £2 donation.
Our first heritage walk of the 2020 season organised by Paul Velluet with Adam Harrison will be a guided visit on Wednesday 6 May to Griffin Park a few days after Brentford Football Club plays its last game at its old home ground. It will continue around parts of Old Brentford which we have not visited previously. Meet at 7:00 pm at the main entrance to the ground in Braemar Road, Brentford, a five-minute walk from the Route 65 New Road bus stop in Ealing Road. Alternatively meet outside Richmond Station by 6:30 pm.