The Richmond Society remains concerned about the proposed re-development of the Homebase site on Manor Road. The height, density and impact on local amenities were areas of concern in the original plans, which were rejected by Richmond Council. The amended proposals submitted after the Mayor of London called in the plans include significant changes, namely the increase in the number of units, addition of a new building and changes in the configuration of the others.
We welcome the development being largely car free and that it is a residential scheme with more affordable housing. We also support the reduction in height of the two blocks nearest Manor Road. Our concern remains that the increase in the total number of units from 395 to 433 is an intensification of the development which will put even more pressure on local services and amenities such as GP surgeries and schools.
Our main concern, however, is that the volume of traffic will be significantly increased in what is already a highly congested area leading onto the A316. Although the development itself is car free it is likely that traffic from deliveries or taxis will increase. If the amended plan is to proceed public transport facilities must be improved. Ironically, TfL plans to reduce the number of buses serving the area.
Richmond’s new MP Sarah Olney objected to the revised plan in a letter to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
HOUSE OF FRASER REFURBISHMENT
The Richmond Society has formally commented on a planning application for refurbishment of the House for Fraser department store in George Street, Richmond.
We are supportive of the pragmatic approach being advanced through the planning process by the owners Canadian & Arcadia to adapt the existing building to reflect demand in the current market and to ensure the best prospect of full occupancy and, as a result, an injection of much needed vibrancy into the commercial centre of Richmond.
This approach is, in our view, preferable to a comprehensive redevelopment of the site with all the negative short- to medium-term consequences that this would entail.
We are sympathetic to the financial viability argument for extra floor space. Equally, we are sympathetic towards the concerns of some residents about height and visual impact in particular and we applaud the efforts being made by the owners and the planning officers at LBRuT to address these matters and to arrive at a sensitively designed refurbishment.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England consultation on draft recommendations for changes to ward boundaries in Richmond upon Thames - reported in issue no. 3 of this bulletin in November - has been extended to 17 February.
No change is proposed for the number of councillors in the Borough - 54 - or the number of wards - 18. In our area, small changes are proposed for the South Richmond, North Richmond, and Ham, Petersham & Richmond Riverside wards. The Commission’s report on its first review in this Borough for ten years can be read here. You can have your say on the recommendations here. Alternatively, you can make a submission by emailing email@example.com or by writing to: Review Officer (Richmond upon Thames), The Local Government Boundary Commission for England, 1st Floor, Windsor House, 50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL.
For the fifth year in a row, Richmond upon Thames has been voted the happiest place to live in London. The annual survey by Rightmove asked 22,000 homeowners in 194 locations across the UK how they felt about a dozen factors, including a sense of belonging, cultural scene and green space.
Most people are highly satisfied with the borough’s parks and green spaces, according to the Council’s latest survey. The biennial survey shows 97% of more than 760 respondents think the borough’s parks and green spaces are either excellent, good or satisfactory - an increase of 1% on the previous survey two years ago. Some 98% say they feel parks are easy to access and 93% feel safe whilst using them.
Turner and the Thames: Five Paintings is the first exhibition of paintings by JMW Turner to be held at Turner’s House (Sandycombe Lodge), 40 Sandycoombe Road, Twickenham. On view will be some rarely seen oil sketches of the Thames painted by Turner while he was renting Syon Ferry House at Isleworth. The exhibition opens on Friday 10 January and will run until Sunday 29 March. It will be a timely companion to our own event on Thursday 19 March when Tom Chesshyre will speak on Liquid History: A wander along England’s longest river.
South Richmond Police Liaison Group meeting at the PayPal office, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond TW9 1EH at 7:00 pm on Tuesday 14 January.
Our first event of the New Year will be a talk on Eel Pie Island: Boatyards & Bands, Artists & Inventors by Celia Holman, an Eel Pie Islander, at 7:30 pm on Thursday 16 January. As usual, doors to the Theatre at Richmond & Hillcroft Adult Community College, Parkshot will open at 7:00 pm when refreshments will be available.