The Chiswick High Road Action Group (CHRAG) has pledged to work to seek developments that will protect the area now and in the future rather than ones that produce profits in the short term.
The group, which came together last year in response to reports in the local media about a large proposed development, has announced its aims. Last year they issued a questionnaire asking local people what they wanted from a local group and they have now issued this statement;
“It is clear that London is undergoing one of its periods of rapid development. In the past, these have produced many fine buildings such as the Victorian terraces that are still serviceable and loved today. They also, however, in the ’60’s and 70’s produced blighted areas that have struggled to recover from the damage inflicted on them and been condemned to economic decline.
“Chiswick High Road avoided this later period of development and is an attractive and thriving High Street. CHRAG is made up of local people who want to ensure that this happy state continues and that Chiswick is not exploited by development that profits from its character whilst undermining and destroying it.
“In earlier periods of intensive development areas have been saved by local people standing together to protect the neighbourhoods they love; less well defended areas were the ones that suffered most.
“We are not anti-development and accept that there is a need for homes, but we recognise that developers will push for the maximum height and density in developments to maximise profitability and seek to remove as much as they can of older buildings, which constrain and increase the cost of development.
“If there is no strong, local voice pushing back, the resultant developments are likely to be very large and dominant and have little respect for the current character of the area, which they will move on from once the development is complete.
“CHRAG is made up of residents, traders and representatives of existing resident and amenity groups. It does not supplant existing groups, but provides a forum for these groups to come together to conserve what gives the High Road its unique character and making it the successful local high street it is. The groups has a Facebook page and twitter account, which we welcome people to join to contribute to the debate and follow our activities.
“We anticipate that there will be new development proposals that will impact the High Road and have created a set of aims that will shape our response to proposals. They are based on the submission we made for the Context & Character study, which was itself created from the response to the consultation we carried, so we feel that it reflects local wishes. These aims are to;
- Conserve that which makes Chiswick High Road, against the current trend, a thriving local High Street and provide a strong voice for groups and individuals to oppose developments which would erode and destroy its current character.
- Preserve the current height of shops by opposing high rise developments which would canyon the High Road destroying its human scale and neighbourhood feel. Retain the current style and size of shop units on the High Road to maintain its local character and avoid large single shops dominating the street scene and altering it visually.
- Retain small independent businesses by keeping existing street stall sites and ensuring that the streets remain public spaces and by retaining small shop units. Ensure that parking availability, charging and policy supports small independent businesses.
- Ensure that prior to developments being granted permission, sustainable travel plans are created to support any increase in resident numbers created by developments and ensure that adequate plans are made to provide services such as schools and health services.
- Oppose developments adjacent to the High Road, which would dominate and damage it visually and create unsustainable pressures on its infrastructure.
- In essence, seek developments that will enhance the area for the people who live here now and in the future rather than ones that produce profits in the short term whilst destroying what makes the High Road pleasant and therefore currently successful