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The HWA’s Choose Option 2 campaign– the background

Sunday 12th May 2024

The HWA’s Choose Option 2 campaign– the background

In 2022 the HWA developed a vision for an improved village centre and High Street.

Our proposal was to “Achieve a calmed village centre by closing the mouth of Park Road to general road traffic and introducing a pedestrian / cyclist friendly area in village centre.”

Key features included:
• Park Road junction closed to motor traffic and enlargement of St John’s Place area to create friendly, green focal point (“piazza”) for Hampton Wick.

• Pedestrian / cyclist friendly area – a raised platform along approx. 80m of the High Street and a centrally located road crossing to calm traffic and enhance the sense of a village centre.

We discussed the concept with residents and traders both in focus groups and individually before taking the idea to local councillors and council officers from whom we received an enthusiastic response.

Over the past two years we have written about this project in our HWA magazine, on our website and in email newsletters. We have received lots of support for the idea from HWA members and non-members alike.

The council commissioned external consultants (WSP) to work up more detailed plans which could then be taken out for full consultation with residents and businesses. The HWA was involved in several workshops.

We became alarmed when the project suddenly diverged radically from the original vision. Option 1 came about when the council’s consultants seemed to misunderstand the loading requirements of the Foresters. Because – once – an articulated lorry was sent by the brewery, one of the consultant factfinders returned to the office convinced that a loading bay big enough for that was necessary and the idea of a giant loading bay right across the front of the piazza was born. As well as putting vehicles front and centre of the village centre, it meant that both the proposed central road crossing and the existing pedestrian refuge would be lost making it significantly more difficult to cross the High Street.

Despite the landlord of the Foresters insisting that his suppliers will send whatever lorry he asks them to, the consultants seemed reluctant to budge, insisting it wasn’t possible to site the loading bay other than across the front of the piazza. Nonetheless, the HWA committee found a way for an alternative loading bay arrangement, saving the piazza from the blight of the giant loading bay. Under pressure from HWA and our local councillors, the consultants then prepared Option 2 which is much closer to the original vision.

However, when the consultation documents were published, we were extremely concerned that the most significant feature of Option 1 – the large central loading bay across the entire front of the piazza – was very hard to see in the plans and not really depicted in the artist’s impression. Speaking to people who have looked at the documents confirmed us in this view.

We therefore felt the need to:
-     Clarify what the proposed Option 1 actually is – a large central loading bay across the front of the piazza, removal of pedestrian refuge and no central crossing – so that people could make informed decisions.
-     Clarify that the vision the HWA has been working on and publishing for the past two years is represented by Option 2 (and not at all by Option 1) – achieving an entirely traffic-free piazza with central road crossing linking together both sides of the High Street.

We also needed to reassure people that the implications for parking have not been finalised, that there is no need to lose as many spaces as indicated in the consultation documents, and that Option 2 will allow replacement parking spaces to be put in the High Street.

Of course, people will have different views and we hope that everyone will express their thoughts to the council via the consultation questionnaire which can be found here https://haveyoursay.citizenspace.com/richmondce/hw-24/
Previous HWA website articles:



See also the HWA Magazine, March 2023 edition.

Council’s consultation document