LB Hounslow are set to consider a report outlining visions for the future of the borough’s town centres, including Chiswick, at an upcoming cabinet meeting.
Councillors will be presented with a series of ‘big ideas’ for the future of the High Road. Many of the ideas are described as ‘aspirational’ but the report does reveal confirmation that a major redevelopment of the Post Office building is being considered and will have the active support of the council.
A new ‘civic cluster’ is being recommended in the centre of Chiswick, which would provide links between the library, the Town Hall, the Church on Turnham Green and the new development on the Post Office site. The cluster would aim to unlock new potential uses for the library and the Town Hall.
The report talks of ‘bringing forward’ the redevelopment of the delivery office and some form of community use being maintained on the ground floor but with no specific mention of a Post Office.
The projects set out within the big ideas for Chiswick are designed as a starting point to understand how the vision could be realised. An economic resilience strategy sits alongside and underpins the vision, setting out the approach and practical steps needed to achieve the vision for Chiswick town centre.
Hounslow’s town centres and neighbourhood parades have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Retail, leisure, cultural and hospitality have had to adapt to ongoing, changing restrictions on their operations. The impact of the pandemic has exacerbated and accelerated pre-pandemic trends such as a shift to on-line shopping and challenges historic business models.
Image above: Chiswick High Road
Removal of clutter and more green planting planned
The report states:
“Chiswick has many strengths which require a commitment to careful and sensitive management, rather than change.”
It is proposing a range of measures that would serve to improve the local street scene including the reduction of street clutter and more green planting, more support for independent businesses and building on the success of initiatives such as the Flower Market.
Surveys taken earlier in the engagement exercise for developing the strategy showed a high level of opposition to the Cycleway in Chiswick. When asked in a subsequent survey last year what they would consider to be a ‘quick and easy’ way to improve the High Road, the largest group of respondents (19%) said that Cycleway 9 should be reconsidered with the second largest group saying Street Space projects could be considered.
14% suggested improved walking and cycling routes with 7% saying more traffic calming was needed. The survey also showed a strong desire for improved community engagement from the council among Chiswick residents.
The report concludes that Chiswick should have:
“A holistic movement strategy that recognises Chiswick High Road is a town centre that should support a balanced mix of modes and local access movements.”
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