Music in the park
I’m really pleased to announce that the Friends are organising a programme of Music in the Park on weekend afternoons in July. These will be Open Mic events hosted by Edwin Addis of the Hounslow Musicians Network and will feature local musicians, poets and school students.
We have strong support from Watermans Arts Centre and some funding from Hounslow’s Thriving Communities Fund to make it happen and we’re looking for sponsors to enable us to extend the programme. There’s lots to do in a short period of time and if you’re interested in helping out please do get in touch. We’ll start to publicise the dates and promote the programme in the next few weeks.
Completing works in the park
Since the park re-opened at the end of March it’s clear that the new landscaping, play and exercise equipment and new seating have been warmly welcomed and are being well used and enjoyed. The wildflowers have been spectacular.
There are some key features still to be completed:
- The wooden walkway by the river will remain fenced off for the time being, perhaps for months. We are told that a survey of the supporting structure was carried out at the end of March, fortunately confirming that the structure is sound. As repair works and complete replacement of the timber walkway needs to be completed from the river we understand that the moorings developer has been engaged to complete the restoration. However, we don’t yet have an indication of when this will take place other than as part of Phase I of the construction of the moorings which are due to be completed by December. Restoring the walkway is very important given the loss of space in the park to the westbound cycle track of C9.
- A decision will soon be made by the Council when to open C9 in the park for cyclists to use. In the last couple of weeks delineating tactile paving has been laid and signage on the cycle track will soon be installed. There are a couple of issues: lighting and the crossover from the road to the cycle track. The lamps are in store but there isn’t yet a confirmed date from the electricity company for connection to the grid. This may not be such a problem during the summer when C9 in the park could be used without lighting until quite late providing a safer journey for cyclists than the road with its pinch points. The crossover from the road to cycle track will need kerbs to be lowered and some pipes and cables for utilities (water and telecoms) under the pavement to be lowered too. It could be a while before C9 is open even without lighting.
- We have been discussing with the Council the installation of a retractable fabric cover for the yoga / performance area and plan for this to be in place before the July events to provide some protection against wet weather and strong light. The power points in the performance area and social area will only be connected when the cycle track lighting is installed.
- Works have commenced at the western entrance to connect the drinking fountain by the play and exercise area to the water supply. There is also to be a water point at the eastern end of the park too which we’re told may need to be connected to a supply on the north side of the High Street. Once installed this water point will be able to support a community garden at that point and will also ensure ready access to water to help newly planted trees and shrubs thrive. But we have no update on when this might happen.
- Tired seating and tables along the Thames Path will soon be replaced with new furniture the same as sited elsewhere in the park.
- Bird and bat boxes, insect hotels and a book depository will be installed over the coming months.
The park’s setting by the river makes it special and we have been, and will continue to be, very interested in the moorings development and construction of the car park / facilities building. The Council has confirmed that the contractual position is that the developer, having obtained a Marine Licence in March, has until December to complete Phase I of the moorings (which starts at the eastern end of the park and does not go quite as far west as the vessel Lis). Since our last update in March we understand that the developer has obtained a Demolition River Works Licence from the Port of London Authority. However, the Marine Licence from the Marine Management Organisation is silent about demolition works to remove concrete and other structures in the river because the developer’s construction Method Statement did not address this point. We have asked the Council is to seek clarification whether a variation to the Marine Licence is required. If it is we understand it would be subject to public consultation which would affect the timing of the works and making the December deadline not possible to achieve.
Friends Meeting and AGM
This note is sent to Friends and many people who are just interested to receive news updates about the park. We’ll be holding an open Meeting and rescheduled Friends AGM on Wednesday 29 June 2022 at 7pm at Studio Flox, Ground Floor, Watermans Park Building (access from Smith Hill or Watermans Arts Centre car park). Please make a note of the date.
For the last three years there has been no membership subscription to pay. As the Friends have started to incur some costs, such as liability insurance premiums, we will be seeking approval from members to introduce an annual membership fee of £10.
If you have any questions, would like to receive updates from or join the Friends, please contact Philip Jones at email@example.com.
Chair, Friends of Watermans Park
31 May 2022