Council Vision for High Road Includes Post Office Redevelopment

Report on Chiswick's future plans 'civic cluster' around Turnham Green

Visualisation of Chiswick High Road in the future from the report

A forthcoming cabinet meeting of Hounslow Council is set to consider a report outlining visions for the future of the borough's town centres including Chiswick.

Senior councillors will be presented with a series of 'big ideas' for the future of the High Road. Most of the ideas are vague and aspirational but the report does provide confirmation that a major redevelopment of the Post Office building is being considered and will have the active support of the council. The report is recommending the creation of a 'civic cluster' in the centre of Chiswick which would provide linkages between the library, the Town Hall, the Church on Turnham Green and the new development on the Post Office site. This civic hub would aim to unlock new potential uses for the library and the Town Hall.

There has been speculation for some time about the future of the Post Office building on Heathfield Terrace and this report provides confirmation that redevelopment plans are being made. The report talks of 'bringing forward' the redevelopment of the delivery office and some form of community use being maintained on the ground floor but with no specific mention of a Post Office.

The draft vision documents have been developed as part of the Recovery Plan – One Hounslow Forward Together response, and the Hounslow: Our Places, Our Prosperity strategy.

The report acknowledges that Hounslow’s town centres and neighbourhood parades have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Retail, leisure, cultural and hospitality have had to adapt to ongoing,
changing restrictions on their operations. The impact of the pandemic has exacerbated and accelerated pre-pandemic trends such as a shift to on-line shopping and challenges historic business models.

Google mobility data and the council's own footfall counters indicates that although Hounslow town centre has broadly returned to pre pandemic levels, Chiswick remain below, with Brentford significantly lower. Mastercard data evidences a plateauing of consumer spending on retail below pre pandemic levels.

The council is now proposing a new Strategic Town Centre Place Management group that brings together all services operating in the town centres to focus resources, respond to key challenges and opportunities and develop a co-ordinated localities approach

The report states, "Chiswick has many strengths which require a commitment to careful and sensitive management, rather than change." It is proposing a range of measures that would serve to improve the local street scene including the reduction of street clutter and more green planting, more support for independent businesses and building on the success of initiatives such as the Flower Market.

Surveys taken earlier in the engagement exercise for developing the strategy showed a high level of opposition to the Cycleway in Chiswick. When asked in a subsequent survey last year what they would consider to be a 'quick and easy' way to improve the High Road, the largest group of respondents (19%) said that Cycleway 9 should be reconsidered with the second largest group saying Street Space projects could be considered. 14% suggested improved walking and cycling routes with 7% saying more traffic calming was needed. The survey also showed a strong desire for improved community engagement from the council among Chiswick residents.

The report concludes that Chiswick should have, "A holistic movement strategy that recognises Chiswick High Road is a town centre that should support a balanced mix of modes and local access movements."


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January 2, 2022