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Village Planning - haven't we been here before?

Sunday 21st January 2018

Village Planning - haven't we been here before?

A study published in 1997 by the Planning & Building Control Division of the council sought to identify “the area’s special character”. It claimed that: “By publishing proposals for the preservation and enhancement of the area’s character and appearance, the study will take forward relevant policies… providing a framework for action by the Council, local residents, business, developers and statutory bodies.”

The Study is a careful, detailed and beautifully illustrated audit of each part of the Hampton Wick Conservation Area. It identified the problems in each area, presumably as “a framework for action”. So how effective was it? Let’s look at what it terms The Village Core and the problems it identified 21 years ago:

1. Local shops have become marginalised, many shop units vacant
2. Poor condition and design of shop fronts
3. Lack of easily identifiable short term parking
4. High Street lacks a focal point
5. Village boundaries are ill defined
6. Station and forecourt are an eyesore
7. Swan car park causes break in continuity of High Street and is unattractive
8. Very little soft landscaping and trees
9. Old Bridge Street lacks identity
10. Wide road junctions make pedestrian movement difficult
11. Apparent excess of residents car parking poles and signs in St John’s Road
12. No physical definition of road hierarchy. All roads appear the same width and type even though most are small residential roads rather than major through routes.
13. Park Road used as a “rat run” when traffic builds up at roundabout.
14. Loss of front garden boundaries to car parking
15. Inappropriate alterations eg. replacement windows, removal of render

Marks out of 15 anyone? We’d suggest that point 10 has slightly improved as a result of the sustained campaign by the HWA some years ago for traffic islands in the High Street which was ultimately successful. Possibly point 12 may have improved in some cases although point 13 is definitely still a major problem (made worse by sat navs).

So maybe the mark is 2/15…

We’d like the council to explain how and why the current Village Planning process is going to be any more effective than the 1997 Hampton Wick Conservation Area Study.

However, one thing is certain: if we don’t get involved and work hard to keep reminding the council what we as local people want and need, we’ll deserve what we get. Please try to get along to the Village Planning Question Time on 1st February, 6pm at Teddington School to show that you care and that together we’re on the case!