HAM AND PETERSHAM NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM
PUBLIC MEETING and AGM, GREY COURT SCHOOL,
28TH FEBRUARY 2017
1. Welcome by Maggie Bailey, Head Teacher
Ms Bailey welcomed everyone to the school, especially Helen Beedham, widow of Andrew, who did so much work to launch the Neighbourhood Plan. She informed the audience that Grey Court was the highest-performing school in Richmond, noting the increasing emphasis on building the emotional health of the pupils through sport, music, art and drama and ensuring they have the resilience to withstand the challenges of modern life. While the school tries to impress on pupils their responsibility as stewards of the community, she urged the audience to have no hesitation in reporting any instances of misbehaviour to her and promised to investigate and respond in detail. She commended the good work of the forum and regretted that she could not be present for the rest of the meeting.
2 Introduction from the Chair
Brian Willman introduced himself as Chair of the Forum committee since early 2015. He noted apologies from the three councillors. He thanked Lisa Fairmaner for her work as chair of the drafting team until September 2016. He noted the current consultation period on the plan and explained that each attendee had been given a copy of the policies of the Plan (from the Ham and Petersham magazine), minutes of the last EGM, a ballot form to vote on preferred projects to take forward and a blank card for other comments. While the Plan has policies on a number of areas, in this agenda the focus was on Travel and Streets, Ham Parade and St Richard’s Square and Housing.
Since the last EGM the committee and drafting team had met monthly, progress had been publicised through the Ham and Petersham magazine and drop-in workshops on key topics had been held in 2016. The Chair then explained how the community could take part in the consultation and the next stages, leading up to a public referendum in 2018, which would allow it to become part of the statutory planning framework. He emphasised the aims of the plan to preserve the open spaces and mixed community, and control future development so that there was not too much, too quickly.
Re. Ham Close, the Chair explained that while the Forum was not responsible for plans for the site, the committee had taken a full part in the consultation, fully supported the residents in seeking improvements to their housing and had expressed concern about the heights of planned blocks and the number of units proposed.
3. Vision and Objectives of the draft Plan Geoff Bond, member of Forum committee and Chair of the Ham and Petersham Association
The plan belonged to the community and this was an opportunity for people to tell the committee their views. He introduced the vision of the plan:
To retain Ham and Petersham’s identity as a sustainable mixed residential community in a semi-rural historic landscape
How the plan can achieve this vision in the following areas:
- New development needs to be appropriate and enhance the character of the area
- New housing needs to have a balance of tenure, size and type and include affordable and older persons’ housing.
- Green space needs protection
- Transport strategy needs to encourage better links and safe walking, cycling and use of public transport
- Community facilities to promote health, education and physical, mental and spiritual development
- Retail and local services – help shopping facilities to be viable and vibrant
- Environmental sustainability – energy and water efficiency and minimising flood risk
4. What’s so special about Ham and Petersham? David Williams, member of forum committee
Ham and Petersham is an attractive area with a stable and well-defined community, bordered by the river, Richmond park and Petersham meadows. For historical reasons it has a great deal of open space for a London suburb and it is critical that this is protected, enhanced and maintained . The plan gives a real say regarding future planning and it is essential for the community to comment on it.
5. Our Neighbourhood Plan Justine Glynn, member of committee and drafting team
Words used by local people in previous consultations to describe the area include green, friendly, rural etc.
There are many NPs all over the country. A new one is starting in north Kingston, bordering our area, but H&P is the only NP in the borough of Richmond (other areas have village plans organised by LBRuT).
A brief history of the plan was outlined, from its launch in 2013. Initial scoping exercises were followed by open meetings and drop-ins and most recently policy workshops in 2016. The chapters in the plan are:
Character and heritage
Travel and Streets
Retail and local services
Opportunities for change
Further detail on three of these areas was presented at this meeting (see below). Comments are welcomed and the consultation is open until 10th March.
6. Travel and Streets Danielle Coleman, recent member of the forum committee, standing in for Justine Langford
Borough maps confirm that Ham and Petersham has a low level of access to public transport and consequently high car usage. The main issues arising from the workshop on this topic had been related to traffic congestion, parking, poor lighting and flooding on the Thames path. Ideas generated included improving connectivity without building new roads e.g. creating a cycle network, improving the environment for walking, slowing traffic speeds, and creating spaces to sit outside shops to support local business. The idea of a foot and cycle bridge to Twickenham was approved by most of the workshop participants.
7. Ham Parade and St Richard’s Square Chris Ruse, member of Forum committee and chair of drafting team
Ham and Petersham has always had multiple shopping centres e.g. Ham Parade, St Richard’s Square and Ashburnham Rd shops which are all designated as key shopping frontages with strict controls on usage. To prosper they require an attractive mix of shops and a safe and convenient environment, which could be facilitated by a ‘town centre manager’.
Ham Parade could be improved by measures to calm the traffic speed and redress the balance of the space between traffic and shoppers, e.g. giving more priority to pedestrians on the eastern side. Parking spaces need to be maintained while at the same time connecting the Parade with residential areas via walking and cycling.
St Richard’s Square has a good mix of shops and is well-used. However, it could be improved by providing more seating and reducing the dominance of cars.
8. Housing Brian Waters, member of the drafting team
The housing policy includes the following points on new developments:
- Major developments should include provision of new transport links
- There should be a range of sizes
- The balance of social and market housing in the area should be maintained
- Highest building standards should be encouraged
- Design principles should be based on immediate context
The chapter on ‘Opportunities for change’ includes areas with potential such as Central Petersham, Cassel Hospital, St Michael’s convent.
The NP can also identify small brownfield sites where additional homes could be sited. This is important to reduce the threat to open spaces from development plans. The Forum can grant ‘Planning Permission in Principle’, which is a new power, without reference to LBRuT.
9. Funding Opportunities Chris Ruse, head of the drafting team
Sources of funding:
CIL – a charge on the additional floorspace of new developments which developers contribute to the funding of new infrastructure determined by the council and local communities. 25% of this money raised within the NP area will be spent in consultation with the NF.
Section 106 agreements – a legal agreement between the developer and the council to fund infrastructure or affordable housing to make the development acceptable in relation to planning policies. This is the principal means of securing affordable housing from private development.
Other sources: LBRuT, GLA, TfL, Natural England, Historic England, Environment Agency, Big lottery Fund, Sport England, Heritage Lottery Fund and national and local charities and trusts.
10. Project Prioritisation Chris Ruse
There is a need to prioritise and to balance long-term aims with measures that can be achieved in the short-term. The committee had selected seven proposals for discussion and attendees were asked to form small discussion groups and indicate their preferred options.
11. Questions and Answers Panel
Q. What can we do to retain a good mix of shops at Ham Parade?
A. The Richmond Local plan does have a limit on the number of estate agents and it is now possible to convert usage to retail. The NP recommends investing in the quality of the space, looking at the use of backlands, generating activities to bring people in and support local shops. The introduction of a town centre manager would be helpful.
AF mentioned a new community investment initiative around Ham Parade.
Q The plan is excellent in most respects, but concerns include:
- The emphasis on affordable housing, rather than what needs doing
- Emphasis on cycling which is not good for shopping or commuting
- Unintended consequences of a bridge, i.e. creating more parking
- Need for Ham Street to become one –way
Re. the bridge, the parking issue has been raised. There are pros and cons to any plan. In some respects the isolation of the area has made it what it is, but there is a need to strike a balance.
Q Public transport, especially the 371 bus, is very good and we don’t want a station.
A We want to enhance transport links through encouraging cycling and walking, which will make people safer and fitter.
Q What does LBRuT think of the NP?
A There have been a number of meetings with the borough and there is a collaborative relationship. As the only area to have a Neighbourhood Forum, Ham and Petersham receive 25% of CIL money, while other villages in Richmond receive 15%.
Q The junction of Ham St and Woodville Road is very dangerous and would be even more of a concern were more houses to be built.
A The Forum hopes that the plans for Ham Close will include provision for traffic. It is difficult for the NP to influence this.
The committee asked for any further questions to be submitted in writing on the cards provided.
12. Summary and next steps Brian Willman
The consultation closes on 10th March. The committee will then respond to comments, submit the plan to Richmond council for scrutiny and then it is hoped that the referendum on the NP might take place at the time of the local elections in May 2018. It then becomes part of the statutory planning framework within borough, London and national contexts.
13. AGM Business Andree Frieze
Apologies were received from three local councillors, Penny Frost, Sarah Tippett and Jean Loveland.
1 Minutes of the EGM of June 2015 were approved.
Matters Arising – there were none.
2 Election of committee – Danielle Coleman and Paul Dowsett were standing down. AF read out the names of the current committee who wished to stand for re-election. All were approved. There were no new candidates. Anyone who wishes to stand for the committee is welcome to get in touch.
The committee meets monthly and all are welcome to attend. Dates are publicised in the H&P Magazine.
AOB. The committee were thanked for all their hard work.
Next committee meeting: Tuesday 21st March, Ham Library.
The meeting closed at 9pm.
Questions asked in writing at the AGM held on 28th February 2017 with replies from committee members (in blue)
To what extent – in the plan – is the development of community cohesion a priority?
The current proposed policies that related to this include:
- Improvements to shopping areas to include making the areas more attractive for walking and cycling with more space for shops and cafes to use the pavement and encourage local patronage and the opportunity to linger and socialise.
- Improving the infrastructure for walking and cycling to encourage local trips by these modes give more opportunity for social interaction.
- Improving local leisure and community facilities for local people.
- Encouraging a diversity of housing size and type to allow residents to stay in the area.
We would welcome further suggestions for policies that would support this aspiration.
When will see a difference to any of the ideas presented? Action would be good to keep people involved.
The current consultation period ends on 10 March and we will respond to the comments that have been made. The Plan then has to be approved by Richmond Council.
The Plan is already having influence as developers have to take account of the views expressed. As we move towards full approval of the Plan at a referendum next year, this influence will increase. We will be consulted about the distribution of CIL funds when these are available and we will respond using the views that we have gathered.
Roads and transport
Can the Ham Forum do anything to improve the coordination of road works between Ham and Richmond in particular?
This is not within the remit of the Neighbourhood Plan and we suggest you contact your local Councillors to discuss.
Improved traffic flow for cars and vans/also buses which are the main means of travel to work from Ham
The Plan aims to reduce congestion by supporting public transport, walking and cycling to reduce reliance on private motor transport and supporting the creation of good cycle routes to local town centres of Kingston and Richmond.
The Plan also supports the building of a pedestrian and cycle bridge to Twickenham, to offer an alternative route to local town centres and public transport on the Middlesex side of the river. However this project has a high capital cost and would require planning permission.
Is there anything that can be done about the crossroads at Lock Road/Ham Street and Ham Common? It is an area waiting for an accident to happen. Also coming along Back Lane into Lock Road is difficult as you do not get a clear view of people driving up Lock Road.
This junction is in Kingston borough, however the plan supports improvement to Ham Parade shopping area and the junction might be considered part of these improvements.
Improvement to visibility Lock Road/ Back Lane might also be considered as part of improvement to the shopping area.
There have been initiatives by some residents to raise this issue with the council and we also suggest you contact local councillors about both of these issues.
Idea: have a 10-12noon parking restriction along Ham Common going towards Ham Gate Avenue
This is an interesting idea but the Plan does not currently include proposals for parking controls as it has not been an issue raised previously. From our perspective, many residents are opposed to these.
Speed camera on Riverside Drive!
Traffic filter at Ham Cross junction
Speed bumps approaching junction of Ham Common and Ham Street
The Neighbourhood Plan supports the reduction in traffic speeds to make the environment more pedestrian and cycle friendly. Implementation of any measures are the responsibility of LBRuT. You might contact your local councillors to discuss.
20mph speed limits
- are they enforceable when introduced?
- traffic speed on the Petersham Road does not adhere to the limit
- how many drivers have been fined for speeding since the 20mph limit was implemented?
If implemented, we would monitor the outcomes. Queries regarding statistical data would need to be directed to the Richmond police.
1 I agree that a bridge over the river will make Ham Street a car park. As residents we have opposed double yellow lines and pay machines (to urbanise the road and car park) but they will happen if there is a bridge. We would like to reduce the traffic inside Ham after all.
The Neighbourhood Plan aims to reduce traffic and to support travel by sustainable transport. If a bridge was proposed this would need to go hand in hand with a plan to prevent commuter parking.
2 The problem of landlords hiking up the rent will stop the creation of lively retail areas. John the Greengrocer had to leave as his landlord doubled the rent and took away the upstairs flat. I’m not sure how we can protect our shops.
Sadly, limiting rent increases by private landlords is not within the Neighbourhood Plan’s gift. Some residents are looking into the creation of a community shop with investment from local residents. There could also be changes at regional or national policy level to encourage community shops e.g. business rates incentives. This could be discussed with local councillors and lobbied for at local and London level.
Concerns about Woodville Road – it is the main artery road from Wates Estate to Ham Street already and environmentally unhealthy and dangerous for pedestrians on the Common
The Neighbourhood Plan aims to reduce traffic and to support travel by sustainable transport. This particular issue might be something you could raise as part of the Ham Close consultation and with local councillors.
Concerns for the Grey Court School pupils crossing a busy road and queuing outside shops
Any suggestions to improve safety might be made to Grey Court School and local councillors.
How much influence does the neighbourhood plan have on the Ham Close development?
Ham Close is going to be a major influence in the whole area. How much influence do you have in what RHP do? Can you do more with planning decisions?
If the planning application for Ham Close is submitted after our Neighbourhood Plan is adopted then RHP and Richmond planners will have to follow the policies set out in our plan. Our Neighbourhood Plan is the document Richmond planning officers must use to make planning decisions for Ham & Petersham.
We have set out requirements for all development and also specifically for Central Ham (Ham Close). The policy states :-
9.9 Policy 04a
i) Any scheme for the redevelopment of all or part of Ham Close must have regard to the character of the surrounding area set out in the Ham Close Neighbourhood Character Study.
ii) Any scheme which includes the redevelopment of existing community facilities forming part of a Ham Close must make provision for their equivalent replacement.
iii) Any scheme for Ham Close which results in an increase of 10 or more residential
units will be required to provide additional community facilities in line with policy CF1 of the Neighbourhood Plan.
Policy C3 – the proposed Ham Close development does not have regard to appropriate height of the buildings overlooking Ham Village Green. The proposal will change the semi-rural character of the Green to make it far more urban.
Assuming the Ham Close planning application is submitted after our plan is adopted then all development must follow the guidance in our Neighbourhood Plan. There is a Central Ham policy which includes Ham Close and also design guidance for all development.
Policy H5 2 (page 34) in particular states that the design principles for all new housing development in the neighbourhood area are:
2) heights generally between 1and 3 storeys, and 4 storeys in appropriate locations.
Developments of more than 4 storeys will not be normally be considered acceptable and will need to demonstrate exemplary design, architectural quality and environmental
performance as well as positive benefits in terms of the townscape and local aesthetic
quality and relate well to the local context
Road from Ham Street to Woodville Road is extremely dangerous with a blind corner. What will happen when Ham Close is developed and even more traffic is generated?
RHP must submit a traffic survey along with their planning application so should pick up this dangerous hot spot and how they propose to manage it. However, it should be raised, if you haven’t done so already, at the next consultation event they hold.
Ham Close – if this development goes ahead the Forum will need to keep a very close eye on transport routes. St Richards Square, Croft Way, Dukes Drive will be the most likely access route for lorries etc. The planners have only looked at Petersham Road and Sandy Lane junction. Ham Cross has not been considered at all at this point.
Richmond planners must consider the impact of demolition, transport of materials and building the development as well as the final scheme in any new development.
A full traffic survey should pick up the impact Ham Close development has beyond the immediate vicinity.
More than one area
- need to engage with young residents
- bridge would ruin the river views
- Option 5 – these are not the only green spaces – what about schools, woods in the area
- tart up the shop fronts
We have consulted with the students at three local schools to find out the views of younger people. They have remarkable similar views to their parents.
It has to be a joint effort to improve shop fronts. There’s only so much that owners of private businesses can do. Probably the most power councils/neighbourhood bodies have is when new shops are opening and there are restrictions on lighting, signage and design, though its still limited. There were attempts for example before Sainsburys opened to encourage them to have a more heritage look rather than the one we got. Once businesses are up and running it might be contentious to force them to alter their profiles as there is considerable expense in carrying out a shop refurbishment especially for independent businesses.
Is it possible to control the use of bicycles towing a cart containing children? This must be unhealthy and dangerous. A horrible accident could happen
Supporting sustainable transport including walking and cycling is national, regional and local policy. This in intended to reduce traffic (including the school run), improve people’s health and reduce pollution. The plan supports the creation of safe routes for walking and cycling.
The Fox and Duck needs to be tidied up and made attractive so that local residents will go there
This is a matter for the owner of the business. We have made proposals for enhancing the central Petersham area.
Path from Ham car park to Teddington Lock needs improvement
Thanks for this observation that may be included in the final Plan and is a possible project using CIL money.
Shops opposite Grey Court School – smarten up with cladding etc
It has to be a joint effort to improve shop fronts. There’s only so much that owners of private businesses can do. Probably the most power councils/neighbourhood bodies have is when new shops are opening and there are restrictions on lighting, signage and design, though its still limited. There were attempts for example before Sainsburys’opened to encourage them to have a more heritage look rather than the one we got. Once businesses are up and running it might be contentious to force them to alter their profiles as there is considerable expense in carrying out a shop refurbishment especially for independent businesses.
Matters not mentioned/discussed:
- environmental pollution Petersham Road/Richmond Road. Its rather like a valley below hills. The amount of pollution generated by vehicles is high (illegal?) and will get worse particularly with the quantity of new houses to be built
The plan supports the use of sustainable transport by improving the environment for walking and cycling. TFL recently issued pollution levels for areas near schools in the capital (NO₂µg/m³). The EU legal limit is 40µg/m3 (40 micrograms per cubic metre of air). The German School 32.3, Russell School 33.7, Meadlands 31.9, Fern Hill School was 34.5 so all were lower than the EU maximum level of 40 but not good. The mayor’s office are proposing to limit the use of higher polluting cars in the capital.
- high rental, eg £30,000 a shop unit on Ham Parade, and the impact of the higher business rate will almost certainly accelerate the decline of Ham Parade
The realignment of business rates is an additional threat to the viability of Ham Parade. But the change in mix is also a sign of the times with traditional retail in many areas being replaced by online. It was common 20 years ago for a high street to have a travel agent, bookshop, and record shop but there is no role for these anymore unless they serve a particular niche. The demise of the grocer and butcher may be part of the same trend in the sense that they find it difficult to compete with supermarkets / home delivery unless they provide a greater choice, quality or knowledge in some specialism.
Our suggestions for the Parade include a change to the layout and the dominance of traffic over every other consideration. If the Parade were a more welcoming environment to visit it would provide more encouragement to start- ups. We also believe there is a role for a Parade manager.