Planning Issues: The Bowling Green and the Car Parking

We have submitted responses to two planning consultations – on adapting the two car parks for charging, and on the revised application from Putt in the Park to take over the Bowls pavilion and green.

The parking application is a second attempt. It was refused the first time because it proposed too much intrusive signage for a Listed Park and Conservation Area. The Putt in the Park application has been revised because the Planning Department agreed with us and others that the proposals for extensive construction works on the site of the green should be included – before, it was only about the works to the Pavilion.

In both cases the applications are from the operating companies (Gemini Parking Solutions and Putt in the Park), not from the CIC, and the quality of both is poor.

Both emphasise the income which would accrue to the CIC, giving the impression that this should over-ride any weaknesses in the proposals. Income is not a planning issue. Had the CIC more fully engaged in the planning process, the refusals and subsequent delays might have been avoided and prevented a significant loss of income.

For the parking application, these are the key points which concern us:

• the impact of the unwelcoming signage on the overall visitor experience
• the use of the title “private land” on signage in a public park
• the language used which is unfriendly, unclear and sometimes verbose and officious
• the design which ignores the more elegant purple house-style signage in the Park
• the unnecessary intrusiveness of the highest signs, and
• the attempts to argue that the conservation area is of no significance in relation to these ugly proposals.

Our detailed response can be read here.
For reference, we have added our comments on the earlier version of this application here.

For the conversion of the bowling green, these are the main points which concern us:

• the application has still made no attempt to conform to LB Hounslow’s policy on the disposal of community assets (despite this being the reason for the earlier refusal)
• there are substantial errors in the Heritage Impact Statement, dated 26 February 2021, which undervalue the green and the pavilion together
• obtaining the proposals for the construction works on the green shows how the scale of the proposal and the impact on the park has hitherto been underestimated.

There are other issues which concern us, though these may not be seen as strictly planning matters:

• that the CIC’s handling of its relationship with the Bowls Club and with its surviving members has been dreadful and done damage to its reputation. The CIC cannot continue to deny the club’s existence now, as it has been formally reconstituted
• that making such a major alteration to the park at this moment is foolish, as it will constrain the very complex work being done on the preparation of a masterplan for the next 20 years
• that the park already has a major problem with the massing of attractions as close to the car park as possible, which Putt in the Park would make worse
• that Putt in the Park is a fair-weather attraction which can only add to the difficulties already experienced on busy summer days. If more commercial attractions are needed for the park (and that case has not been made) they should be designed to spread usage through the seasons.

As we are unsure whether this is still the deferred application and knowing that we cannot take for granted that the objections we made to the first application will be included, we have provided that first document to the Planning Department a second time.

Our response, and our earlier response, can be read here.

You can find more information about the two companies here