Summary of key issues from consultation to date
During the Stage 1 consultation Soundings aimed to understand the issues, needs and priorities of the local community and to commence a meaningful dialogue working towards a shared vision. We have done the following:
Attended community events & meetings, and circulated 2 Newsletters to raise awareness about the project; Identified and linked up with local stakeholders; Established a Reference Group to act as a sounding board; Established Theme Working Groups to explore key issues; Held a Public Exhibition; Walked about the site with boat residents; Held 2 Reference Group Workshops to discuss key issues in more detail.
Headline Findings from January Reference Group Workshop
Theme Group 1: Identity, Local Assets and Heritage
- The integration of historical aspects into the design is positive as are the alleyways and the proposed orientation of the new buildings to the sunshine.
- The precedents shown are too sterile and do not reflect the character of Brentford. Books that are available at Chiswick Library could provide better historical precedents.
- The idea of meanwhile use is positive, these could include: after-schools club, dance and youth club, film, gardening, horticulture.
- The proposed creative engagement strategy, particularly for young people, demonstrates that the group has been listened to, however some traditional buildings have been overlooked.
- At the next meeting the group would like to see: better precedent images and a specific creative engagement proposal.
Theme Group 2: High Street, Retail and Trade
- The wide pavement proposed for the High Street is positive, however, a shared surface could slow down buses and be unsafe for pedestrians.
- The High Street should be special and characteristic of Brentford and assets such as the waterside and St Lawrence’s church should be better used.
- There is doubt about the scale and size of retail units (reference to Mary Portas Report).
- The south side of the High Street needs to work well with the north side and should include cultural facilities e.g. Watermans.
- The High Street needs attractors both for locals and visitors eg specific brands - what will the ‘Brentford Button’ be?
- At the next meeting the group would like to see: Retail, Transport and Cultural Studies.
Theme Group 3: Waterside
- Character zones and focus areas reflect local character well, good starting point, however character areas should be connected.
- Height should descend from High Street to waterside; an average 4-5 stories would be more suited to the area.
- Moorings require parking spaces, service and storage facilities; soft edges are not suitable for moorings.
- Heritage Boatyard is a good idea, especially if linked to MSO Marine; Waterside Activity Centre good if linked to ISIS.
- Tall buildings should be at the centre of the scheme or on the High Street, not at the waterside.
- Waterside and ground floors should be kept operational for working boats.
- At the next meeting the group would like to see: more detail and evidence that comments are being acted upon.
Theme Group 4: Public Realm, Streetscape, Environment
- Tall buildings do not suit character of area – changes in height should be more gradual.
- 3 ‘key’ spaces are very good, however the term ‘yards’ is confusing.
- There is not enough green space at centre of scheme and there is not enough parking.
- More explanation of open spaces within scheme needed – what is private and what is public?.
- There is a risk that width of lanes will create dead-end spaces (like Ferry Quays).
- Clear information required on which streets in the scheme will be pedestrianised and which vehicular.
- At the next meeting the group would like to see: proper exploration of alternative massing and more time for discussion.
Headline Findings from Stage 1 Events in 2011
There is a high level of support for change and people have fed many ideas into the process. In particular people liked the approach to heritage, the retention of historic buildings and opening up the canal to the public.
Concerns were raised around the following issues:
- Social Infrastructure (services, health, education, nurseries etc)
- Transport and parking
- Heights of taller buildings and density
- Consolidation of an economic & retail strategy
- Wider area issues including Watermans
People feel that a lot could be achieved in the short term through:
- Tidying up the area
- More creative involvement
- Meanwhile uses of the site
The feedback received from the Reference Group and from the Public Exhibition in October has been categorised as follows:
Four key questions have been identified within each group and the design team has responded to each of these. The diagrams below shows the key issues raised and the design team's initial responses to them. Click on the images for an enlarged version. Alternatively, click on the links below to download.
Summary of Design Team Responses and Actions to Stage 1 Findings
In response to the issues raised through the Stage 1 consultation the following studies have been commissioned or are being developed:
- Economic development strategy
- Retail strategy underway
- Waterside character study
- Energy and environmental strategy
- Access and parking strategy
- Meanwhile uses and cultural strategy
- Creative engagement strategy
- Design development to test key issues of density, heights, relation to ‘Town Square’, grocery store, access & parking strategy, public realm, and look & feel.
- On-going consultation and involvement through Reference and Theme Groups
- Architectural competition for St Lawrence’s Church
For more detailed information please download the following documents from the Downloads section of this website:
- The Stage 1 Consultation Report
- The Key Issues, Responses and Actions Document
- The Minutes of the Community and Resident Reference Group Meeting 2 (23rd November 2011)
Summary of your thoughts from Brentford Festival & other events
We learned that:
Brentford is a proud and active community, which has an enthusiasm to see the High Street and the waterfront improve for the better. Response to the proposals is generally welcoming and there is principle support for the direction they are heading. This project is widely seen as an opportunity for improvement, however there is a degree of cynicism as Brentford have been through this before and concerns that, for it to be successful, it has to be ‘done right’.
From the Brentford Festival in September 2011 we learned that ‘You wish for’:
“... a thriving, happy High Street”
“... good access to the canal”
“... make more of Brentford’s heritage”
“... curved, homey, narrow roads”
Members of the public are invited to an exhibition of the planning application submission
Tue 2nd Oct 2.00pm - 5.00pm
Wed 3rd Oct 5.00pm – 8.00pm
Sat 6th Oct 11.00am – 2.00pm
Mon 8th Oct 11.00am – 2.00pm
The Docking Station,
108 Brentford High Street,