HOMEBASE, MANOR ROAD REDEVELOPMENT
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has declined to call in the plans for 453 units to be built on the Homebase, Manor Road site after London’s Mayor gave planning consent. He advised that, under the call in principles, the decision should be taken locally - which means the Mayor because he had replaced Richmond Council as the Local Planning Authority. Richmond Council expressed “extreme disappointment” with Jenrick’s decision not to intervene.
At the Council meeting on Tuesday 26 January Richmond Society Trustee Stephen Speak asked if the Council would now be following up certain discrepancies in the GLA’s planning reports that the Mayor had used when taking his decision. He suggested that, because the reports could be shown to have used flawed and out of date information, the Council should consider mounting a judicial review of the process followed.
Later at the same Council meeting the matter was debated by Councillors based on a cross party motion initiated by Cllr Pam Fleming and seconded by Cllr Nancy Baldwin. The motion, which received the unanimous support of all Councillors, recognises the strong feelings of residents and suggests the Council continue to explore with them and with Ward Councillors the implications of the application and the scope for amelioration or challenge.
We suggest building on this encouraging show of support by writing to your Ward Councillor with the request that the Council initiate a judicial review of the Mayor’s decision. This is a costly and difficult undertaking for the Council, but the repercussions of this development of 453 residential units across five blocks of 4-11 storeys at the gateway to Richmond are profound. The Council must use every tool at its disposal to ensure that the Mayor realises the magnitude of the problems underlying his decision.
Councillors also proposed the formation of a residents’ group to work with the developer and we strongly support this idea.
Please click here for The Richmond Society’s view.
RICHMOND PARK TRAFFIC
The Richmond Society welcomes a suggestion of a 12-month extension to traffic trials in Richmond Park which are part of The Royal Parks’ Movement Strategy. Road closures have successfully reduced vehicular traffic to the north (at the weekends) and east of the park, and there is general agreement that the overall environment in those areas is more pleasant. There is more traffic and greater congestion on the western park roads, however, leading to more safety concerns and significantly increased demand for parking at Pembroke Lodge. We have suggested that, until “new normal” visitor patterns are established, Royal Parks should delay implementing permanent alterations to the network or access to car parking. Richmond Council has urged the Royal Parks to extend the trial period for a further 12 months to enable for a robust assessment to be completed.
Richmond Council has extended its rapid testing programme to include people who are not experiencing symptoms or are asymptomatic. Essential workers, volunteers and carers for vulnerable people are eligible for the tests, as well as those who need regular reassurance that they do not have COVID-19. Rapid turnaround tests by lateral flow devices give results in under an hour, without need for laboratory processing.
Tests are being offered to essential workers such as supermarket and transport staff, taxi or mini-cab drivers, and workers in key public services or faith-based organisations. Residents who are volunteering or providing care for a vulnerable person can also apply. Tests can be booked by calling 020 8891 1411 or you can click here.
Richmond upon Thames has the lowest rate of infection among all London boroughs.
ULTRA LOW EMISSION ZONE
The Council is hosting an online Community Conversation to give residents the chance to hear from Transport for London on expansion of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone. The zone will extend up to (but not including) the South Circular Road on Monday 25 October 2021. Mortlake Crematorium and the borough’s Household Re-use and Recycling Centre in Townmead Road will be within the zone. Drivers in the zone will have to pay £12.50 per day for vehicles that do not meet required emissions standards. Residents can join the virtual Conversation on Zoom from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on Monday 1 February to hear from TfL and the Council. To take part register here. Check here to see whether your vehicle is compliant.
The Borough of Richmond upon Thames is to join a London-wide trial of a shared e-scooter scheme. The aim is to test the viability and safety of scooters as a long-term solution to air quality and congestion issues across the city. The trial, led by Transport for London and councils, would be the only legal way of riding e-scooters in public places in London. The use of private e-scooters on public footways and highways remains illegal. The Council has also approved a dockless-bike scheme.
The value of arts, parks, sports and libraries in the borough is under review by the Council with the aim of developing a ten-year vision and set of priorities. Residents can take part in a consultation which opened in January and closes on Tuesday 23 February here.
The Richmond Society’s next talk will be by author, broadcaster and columnist Matthew Syed who will speak about his “rebel ideas” - how to use diverse thinking to change the world. It will be at 7:30 pm on Thursday 18 February via Zoom. Admission to our lectures is free to members. Guests are welcome for a donation of £5 - or you can join the Society for £10 per year (details below) and attend all talks without charge. Details on Eventbrite.