Dukes Meadows Trust ‘appalled and dismayed’ to see riverside ‘torn up’ for parking

Image above: The Band Stand at Dukes Meadows in winter; photograph Anna Kunst

Dukes Meadows Trust, which manages the public space beside the river at Dukes Meadows, says it is ‘appalled and dismayed’ that the riverside is being ‘torn up’ by LB Hounslow ‘to create new parking bays and reserve an existing area of hard standing for coaches’.

The Council has marked double yellow lines on the Promenade near the Band Stand but they deny they are creating new parking and an area of hard standing specifically for coaches. The Trust put in a Freedom of Information request to the Council to ask what is the evidence that coach parking is needed and which organisations and councillors have supported it.

The Council responded that the information sought was ‘not held’ but that the changes to the area of the Band Stand are not to provide ‘coach parking’ ‘coach turning’ or ‘coach dropping off points’, nor are they intended to encourage this type of activity.

‘It is acknowledged the plan recently provided, included text which implied measures were being introduced to assist coaches but that isn’t the primary aim’.

The aim, they say, is to regulate parking, including that by coaches.

‘The areas adjacent to the Band Stand where the road is wider, and has double yellow lines marked, can be used for any vehicle to turn or manoeuvre and this could be used, for example, for those with trailers attached or other larger vehicles carrying out maintenance; they are not intentionally created for coaches’.

Image above: The Band Stand at Dukes Meadows in winter; photograph Anna Kunst

Struggle over who has control of Dukes Meadows

Chair of Dukes Meadows Trust Paul Davis said:

“The council refused to respond to reasonable requests for information, so the Trust was obliged to submit an FOI. That revealed the council had no evidence of the need for coach parking or dropping off points on the riverside and had not considered the public safety implications of having coaches backing onto the Promenade.

“All requests to meet on site to discuss the plans were refused.”

The Trust runs the Food Market beside the Pavilion in Market Drive on Sunday mornings and is responsible for the maintenance and management of the Splash pool for children. It maintains the shrubs, trees and plants in the play area and cuts the hedge it planted along Riverside Drive. It has recently planted a new avenue of Lime trees in the park and has been awarded Gold in the 2021 London in Bloom awards for their maintenance of the park.

They say they offered to pay for the services of an arborist to advise on protecting the tree roots in the Band Stand area. They had been assured that the tree roots would not be touched, but would instead be built over and would be affected no more than they already were by illegal parking on the grass verges.

‘Anyone passing by has seen that in order to lay the parking bays the ground and roots are being dug up’ say the Trust. They are not being “built over”. The Trust’s offer to pay for an arborists report did not receive a response’.

The Council acknowledges they do not hold an arboricultural report on the site and the work planned but say a site meeting has been held with the Community & Environment Officer at Hounslow Highways who approved the proposed implementation methodology.

Image above: The Band Stand at Dukes Meadows in winter; photograph Anna Kunst

“Destructive plans that waste public money”

Mr Davis continued:

“Our only wish is to improve and care for the park we love. Sadly, we find ourselves in the same position as Friends of Boston Manor; having to fight destructive plans that waste public money, are not in the interests of ordinary park users, and breach many of the council’s own policies on protecting the public from traffic, protecting green space and encouraging cycling and walking.

“We have recently become aware that the council has awarded itself a large sum of money to further develop the Promenade. These plans have not been created in consultation with our Trust or any members of the public. The council will not share the plans.

“Anyone who cares about the park should lobby their local councillors and request that plans are made public and consulted on. This is a public park and public money is being spent.”

The Council notes that aside from this location, there are proposals for coach turning and parking within the ‘Hockey club’ car park, as well as passing places on Dan Mason Drive, which form a part of the Planning Permission.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Dukes Meadows Trust petition delivered

See also: Dukes Meadows Trust celebrates 20 years

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