Our Purpose Statement
Following the local referendum and the council’s adoption of our Neighbourhood Plan in 2019, the Forum has adopted a new purpose statement which is to:
- monitor development management policy and its application in the area as laid out in the Plan
- seek to ensure the Neighbourhood Plan is given due weight
- review the Plan and ensure it remains up to date.
In addition, the role of the Forum will be initiating, co-ordinating and playing a part in local initiatives and projects alongside other groups in Ham and Petersham as appropriate. One such project has already formed the basis of a council bid for Liveable Neighbourhood funding. We will not duplicate or take over the current work of the many other excellent local groups that exist.
The key groups we will be working with are the ward councillors, the local amenity societies, the schools and other local public services. Our local council will be involved through their “community conversations” and other ways. Most of the Forum’s future initiatives will be planning, transport or environment related. The Forum will play its full part in making a reality of everyone’s aspirations to safeguard and improve what we value in Ham and Petersham.
What has the Forum Committee been doing?
Objection to new phone mast
The Forum, many local residents and other organisations successfully opposed the planning application for a new phone mast on Ham Lands. Due to its height, appearance and positioning, it was clearly not in line with the Neighbourhood Plan’s policy of protecting the area’s green character. The Plan notes that many areas of Ham and Petersham suffer from low broadband speeds and poor mobile phone reception and that this is a significant issue for many homes and businesses. We would like to go to the council with suggestions for suitable areas where a mast can be erected that will provide 5G and serve all four of the major networks. Please get back to us with any thoughts you have.
Development of St Michael’s Convent site
There are two aspects of this development that the Forum has been concerned with. One is the community access plan to the site an issue which has still to be resolved. The other is the continuing gradual encroachment by the developer into land which should not be used for new building. The Neighbourhood Plan states that “Any development proposal for the St Michael’s Convent site should restrict new buildings … to the areas of the site that are already developed…”. The areas that have not been built on are designated open land which we seek to protect and so an objection to further encroachment has been sent to the council.
Richmond Park’s movement strategy
This is a big issue for our local community to deal with. While the Forum appreciates the long-term aim to reduce traffic through the park, we believe it is important to consider traffic flows in the areas around the Park. Ham and Petersham has fewer options than many other areas bordering the park and there is a significant knock on effect when the Park’s roads are closed. We have responded to the consultation and attended the Royal Park stakeholders’ group meeting held in November 2019. A total of 2,500 responses were received to this consultation.
The next headline draft strategy is due at the end of January 2020 followed by a five week consultation. The Forum has been involved in the council’s Liveable Neighbourhood bid for funding from TfL to pay for measures which include encouraging more cycling and walking and this can play a useful role in traffic reduction.
Based on proposals in the Ham and Petersham Neighbourhood Plan and the council’s Active Neighbourhood study, Richmond Council made a bid for Liveable Neighbourhood funding from Transport for London (TfL) in 2017. The bid was unsuccessful, but there was a new bid in 2019 submitted jointly with Kingston Council. If successful, it will enable a better approach to the Ham Cross area including extending the cycle track, improving the safety of road crossing and developing proposals for improvements to Ham Parade. Ideas for enhancing the St Richard’s shopping area are also in the bid. We have supported this bid and will keep you informed of progress.
A new Thames crossing?
There has been talk of a potential new bridge between Ham and Twickenham for many years and last year the council made public a feasibility study that had been commissioned to analyse potential locations for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge. Two locations were identified in Ham: Ham Street to Orleans Gardens and from Ham Lands to Radnor Gardens. The ‘Radnor Bridge’ takes its inspiration from Kim Wilkie’s landscape Masterplan undertaken around 2000. The location at the end of Ham Street was favoured by attendees at the Neighbourhood Plan consultation workshops, as it links to shops and Twickenham bus routes and would make Twickenham Station walkable from Ham (3/4 mile from the river). It reduces our reliance on the congested Petersham Road and it would bring more visitors to Ham House without more traffic. There are a variety of views on this issue so expect much more consultation.
The Neighbourhood Forum EGM was held in October 2019 in St Richard’s Church. The Forum was first designated by the council in 2014 for a five year period and the EGM agreed to ask the council to redesignate the Forum for a further five year period.
2020 committee meetings
In 2020, the Neighbourhood Forum’s committee will be meeting at 7.30pm in the Ham Library Annex on:
The meetings are public, you can join in with our discussions and providing there is time, the committee is happy to include items that you wish to raise.
If you have comments, please contact us by email.