The Council is pursuing its own piecemeal and short term plans for the Riverside, and is now applying for permission to demolish the main changing room building fronting the River.
The Council has to obtain permission for demolition from the Secretary of State Government Office for London because the site is in a Conservation Area, For the Councils 5 year plan this building will be replaced by landscaping a walkway and providing two benches for the use of the public.
At least the Council’s planning committee has expressed concerns that there are no toilets and that the remainder of the scheme is surrounded by a 2.4 m high security fence.
But the building being taken down has its own toilets, could be used by the community and could form the Terrace Garden that has widespread local support.
The Council propose to build a children’s playground, on a strip of land adjoining Wharf Lane Unlike all other local children’s playgrounds this will be surrounded by a new 1.8 m high security fence.
Project costs to date are £720,000. Plus maintenance costs at present £50,000 per year.
Long term plans for the site are not known but the whole site is likely to be redeveloped for housing shops and cafes. The existing, now closed public toilets in Water Lane are planned to be sold.
THE PUBLIC ARE NOT BEING TOLD WHAT THE COUNCIL REALLY INTEND.
This information is required by the GOL in a Conservation Area. The current proposals have a 5-year duration only and will then be destroyed. Important Facts
- The site was, until closed by the previous Tory Council in public use. It should be returned to public use and should not be redeveloped for housing with only limited public benefit.
- Full information is not available for what it is proposed to build on this site after demolition.
- The existing buildings could be retained at lower level and used by the Community Organisations who have been identified and wish to use them. At present one building is used by a Community Welfare Organisation.
- Renovation of an existing building is more cost effective than rebuilding. A community based proposal to landscape the site and retain some of the buildings for river related and community uses already has Planning Approval.
- With imagination this site could vie with Richmond’s popular terrace garden overlooking the River.
- The present Council scheme is short term, resulting in uncertainty and repeated disturbance at some point in the future.
- The Council’s proposals relate to only 1/4 of the site. 3/4 of the site will be fenced of and a repository for fly tipping as at present and is planned to remain like this until redevelopment is achieved at some point in the future.
- This scheme is costly for the limited facilities proposed.
- There are no details of the precise protection for existing mature trees.
- There are no river related activities as required by the UDP planning brief for this site.
- The Pontoon requirement of the area Planning Brief T1 has been ignored.
- The surrounding sites are owned by developers keen to rebuild and improve the area. Why are the Council not urgently in discussion with them to redevelop these vacant and run-down sites in order that the pool site returns to public use?
If you have any comments, concerns and objections to what is proposed please let The Government Office for London GOL knows. ASAP
Please refer to applications numbers 03/1142/CAC and 03/1141/FUL.
Secretary of State
Government Office of London
Planning Casework North, South & West
9th Floor, Riverwalk House
London SW1 P 4RR