Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Strawberry Hill Plan Consultation Walkabout

One of our supporters (Ben Makins of Strawberry Hill) attended the “Strawberry Hill plan consultation walkabout” last weekend. He shared with us in an email that there is a marked increase in interest in the subject of Radnor Bridge. This was mainly evidenced in the types of conversations he had with Councillors and people from the area.

Its always good to get this sort of feedback. Please keep it coming.

Ben walked with Cllr David Marlow (South Twickenham and Cabinet Member, lead for Adult Services) and discussed the bridge as they went. He also chatted with one of the planning officers accompanying them who was well briefed on Radnor Bridge as a proposal and how it might sit with various Ham and Twickenham plans and Thames strategies.

One of the barriers to the bridge discussed during this walkabout was funding. But surely this is a small hurdle to jump when compared with the benefits our area will gain on so many levels.

Perhaps, it was muted, possible Heritage Lottery Funding might be worth exploring, especially as the Fund has already invested in Orleans and Strawberry Hill Houses and will hopefully approve the Marble Hill bid. It would make sense for the Heritage Lottery Fund to leverage the benefits of their current investment, by encouraging the link-up Radnor Bridge will bring to our four famous heritage houses (Ham, Strawberry Hill, York and Marble Hill houses). Ideal for encouraging tourism.

In addition to tourism, Ben also found the walking party discussed other development issues, which need to be to carefully considered - for which Radnor Bridge can make an important contribution. These included;
  • Growth of St Mary’s University (from 5000-9000 students).
  • Associated parking and traffic problems in and around Strawberry Hill village centre.  
  • The obvious need to increasing and improve cycle ways in the area. 
  • Plans to improve accessibility to, and therefore usage of, Strawberry Hill station (e.g.; the inclusion of a cycle store in the station yard). 
  • Enhanced bus services to support the better connectivity made possible with the bridge (especially important given the number of people needing to travel daily between Ham and Strawberry Hill).
 Finally, the walkers agreed that there is a growing concern the riverside site in Twickenham remains a scheme which lacks a purpose. What this site needs is a positive and constructive approach to ensuring ‘joined-up-thinking’ through surrounding areas along the river. This must therefore include plans for the Radnor Bridge if we are to address the essential issues needed to ensure the Twickenham Riverside development is to be made right.

If this can happen then some obvious synergies will be gained for all.

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