We are pleased to confirm that significant landscaping and improvement works are scheduled to commence in the park on 15 November 2021 with a target completion date of 31 March 2022. However, it will be necessary to close the park, with the exception of the Thames Path, during the works.
The 2016 planning consent for the construction of moorings and a car park / facilities building also included improvements to the park. Those plans for the park have had to be updated because in 2019 the westbound cycle track of C9 was approved to pass through the park.
Earlier this year, Rob Petrow, a landscape architect, was engaged by the Council to update his 2016 landscaping plans to reflect the planned route of C9. The Friends Committee met with Rob to discuss the impact of C9 and features that could be included in the park. In June the Council’s parks team and the Friends engaged with two local primary schools - Green Dragon and St. Paul’s - to ask their pupils about what type of activities they would like to do in the park and there was a public survey. Updated plans were presented to an open meeting in July and received planning consent on 1 October. You can find the masterplan here.
The landscaping and improvement works that will take place include building C9 and it’s worth highlighting some of the features:
- There will be a new pedestrian ramped access at the eastern entrance that is separated from C9. A low hedge will separate C9 from paths in the park. C9 will be close to the northern wall and lighting installed beside the track. Between C9 and the wall there will be tree planting along with native woodland plants.
- The wooden boardwalk which was to have been removed will now be saved and restored giving back some welcome space to visitors to the park.
- Several trees originally intended to be removed will be saved and there will be additional planting of trees.
- The children’s play area equipment and features, a basketball hoop for older children and exercise equipment for adults of all ages including seniors reflects the survey results. There will be a drinking fountain near the play and exercise area.
- A social area at the west of the park will include a table tennis table and a book depository and space for a pop-up vendor.
- There will be spring bulb planting, wildflower terraces, insect hotels, more seating – some under pergolas. An area has been set aside for a community garden.
- A pergola will shelter a yoga /performance space with access to an electricity point.
- The well-loved arch with its wind chimes crafted by children at the western entrance will be untouched and heritage assets such as cast iron caps from the gas works currently sitting on wooden posts in the river will be saved and displayed in the park when the moorings are built. There will be space set aside for two orientation boards as part of Brentford Voice’s planned Heritage Trail between Kew Bridge and Brentford bridge.
Whilst C9 reduces available space in the park for visitors other than cyclists, and its features and signage need to ensure the park is safe for everyone to use, we are pleased that Stefania Horne and her parks team has taken the opportunity to update the 2016 plans, incorporate new features and restore the boardwalk which has been closed off for safety reasons for many years.
It’s a shame that the park, other than the Thames Path, will be closed during the works. However, completing the works in phases would have increased cost and time and was considered impractical because, as far as possible, the landscaping will be achieved by moving earth already on site. Given the park’s previous use as a gas works the contractors will be required to undertake contaminate testing. Information about the landscaping, how to access the Thames Path and the closest alternative parks will be displayed at both ends of the park.
Apart from park landscaping, the Friends are particularly interested in the slow progress of the moorings development. We are told that the car park / facilities building structure must now be completed and the construction hoardings removed by end December 2021. Works in the river require a licence from the Marine Management Organisation who will be concerned to ensure environmental protections are in place during the construction of the moorings. Removal of existing concrete and timber posts and building the new moorings cannot therefore take place until the developer has a licence to do so. An application was submitted in June but has only recently been open for public consultation which runs until 2 December 2021. You can find details of the application with the reference number MLA/2021/00267 on the MMO website. The Friends are considering how to respond to the consultation. Once a licence has been granted we are told the developer will have 9 months 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).
If you have any questions, would like to receive updates from or join the Friends, please contact Philip Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.