Category Archives: Leisure

Some cream for Jersey Gardens

The late and great Richard M Nixon often spouted the etymological fallacy that the Mandarin word for crisis was interchangeable with the word for opportunity.

JG Sign

One of my first trips out after the council elections in May 2014 was being shown around Jersey Gardens by one of its Friends. Tales of some neglect, past failed ambitions and thieving of the ornate. Crisis? Perhaps, for some but never insurmountable.

Another alert at that time was from Councillor Theo Dennison, the council’s cabinet member for finance and other things, announcing that bids were being sought for the large pot of S106 developer planning contributions in the council’s account. Opportunity? For sure.

From my eighteen bids made on behalf Osterley & Spring Grove Ward and other parts of Isleworth in November 2014, one made it on to the May 2015 cabinet report. Theo saw the merit and £76,600 was allocated for, “Improvements, restorations and repairs to boundaries at Jersey Gardens. Sustained practical support for Friends of Jersey Gardens and other groups interested in its improvements.” Met with a little scepticism, it took a couple of emails to convince the FOJG Chairman that the cash was real before he was prepared to pow wow.

Stolen gate on St Mary's Crescent to be securely replaced

Stolen gate on St Mary’s Crescent to be securely replaced

We met on site before Christmas with Gaye from the council’s parks team, Jim and Unsa from parks contractor Carillion and John Love from Thistleworth Tennis Club, the latter to see whether there was scope to combine some joint fence works. Notes from that meeting can be found here.

Reconvening at Osterley Library in February 2016, Carillion came back with a scheme for this phase of works which was agreed by the Friends and includes:

Wood Lane to Ridgeway Road North fencing to be replaced

Wood Lane to Ridgeway Road North fencing to be replaced

  • Replacement and renovation of the most deteriorated pathways within Jersey Gardens and a cleaner and flatter ramp up to the playground area
  • Refurbishment of unused original gates currently facing Great West Road securely relocated to St Mary’s Crescent and the Ridgeway Road North access New double gates by the tennis court
  • Improved access points to the play area
  • Replacement and repair to low fencing along the Ridgeway Road North footpath and along the footpath towards Wood Lane.

These works are due to start later this month, March 2016 and other Friends and residents have also been advised via the latest newsletter which can be found here.

Jersey Gardens south eastern view with Osterley Hotel on skyline, 1932 photo courtesy of Hounslow Libraries Local Studies Section

Jersey Gardens south eastern view with Osterley Hotel on skyline, 1932 photo courtesy of Hounslow Libraries Local Studies Section

There is certainly plenty more to do to realise the long standing ambitions to restore Jersey Gardens, a unique and beautiful by product of the construction of the Great West Road in the 1920s.

Following a call for the next round of S106 bids, a request for funding of a potential second phase was made in January 2016 for,

  • Footpath illumination from Wood Lane to Ridgeway Road North
  • Improvement of paving to the playground
  • Horticulture and landscape apprentice project in conjunction with LBH Skills and Employment Team, Carillion, Hounslow Highways, National Trust, Capel Manor College and others to restore the Sunken Garden.

The outcome of this and another 16 bids (see my responses for both calls for bids here) will be shared when known later in the Spring 2016. Should there be similar success in securing funds, I shall continue to work with the Friends and others help progress further works in Jersey Gardens.

As always, happy to discuss but in the meantime, if not already a supporter, please make contact with the Friends of Jersey Gardens either by e mail to its Chairman, colinhume131@gmail.com or leave letters c/o Friends of Jersey Gardens at Osterley Library, St Mary’s Crescent, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 4NB.

TL 5.3.2016

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Filed under Great West Road, Leisure, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Osterley, Parks

Thornbury Park: some progress – out there again on Monday 1 February 2016 at 10.30 am

Following a good explore with a dozen friends late November 2015, a fair list of actions was compiled and shared with the Hounslow Council Parks Team and contractors Carillion. A record of the walk on 21.11.2015 can be seen here.

Folk out on the Thornbury Park walk on Saturdaymorning 21 November 2015

Folk out on the Thornbury Park walk on Saturday morning 21 November 2015

Some matters have been addressed but there is still a reasonable amount to attend to.

To progress, and with apologies to those unable to make it on a Monday morning, the parks team and contractor have agreed to meet me and anyone else able to attend, to go through the list.

Meet by the play area at 10.30 am on Monday 1 February 2016.

Whether able to make it or not, there is good news for those who had previously made requests for the installation of outdoor gym equipment in Thornbury Park.

Example of outdoor gym equipment, pigeon optional

Example of outdoor gym equipment, pigeon optional

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Filed under Events, Health, Leisure, London Road, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Spring Grove, Thornbury Park

Thornbury Park: More friends than you may have thought

Another decent turnout in The Music Room, Spring Grove House courtesy of the good people at West Thames College last Wednesday 4 November 2015.  This time for people to share thoughts and experiences of Thornbury Park and to explore the potential of setting up a friends group for the place.

Thornbury Park looking west from near the Rennels Way and Sidmouth Avenue entrance

Thornbury Park looking west from near the Rennels Way and Sidmouth Avenue entrance

There were quite a few justified grumbles about the way the park is maintained and managed, litter, graffiti, drinking, motorbike riding, drugs activity as well as lack of other facilities and no organised activities and sports.

But at the same time almost all present had good to say about the place, an oasis of green in a growing town with albeit limited and semi neglected play and sports facilities, a good place to walk with or without a dog.

The most encouraging aspect of the evening was the good and practical ideas offered by residents present, a wish to move forward but not ignoring the present issues. Each was given an opportunity to write three things they like, three don’t likes and three ways they would improve Thornbury Park.  A summary of the points can be found here and a full list containing all comments made is here.

Also heartening is a list so far of 11 residents offering their time and skills to form a friends group as is the support, offered and implied, by the St Johns Residents Association, Hounslow Council’s Community Partnerships Unit and Hounslow Central Ward councillors, two of whom, Ajmer and Pritam Grewal were in attendance too.  The note taking of Christine Diwell from the Isleworth Society was much appreciated and these (including a discussion on Isleworth Station, the same night) can be found here.

Sign on a housing estate local to Thornbury Park offering advice to youngsters

Sign on a housing estate local to Thornbury Park offering advice to youngsters

What’s next then?  A report of the meeting will be shared with Hounslow Council, Carillion and the Police and feedback and their comments sought.  Residents who signed up their services will be contacted over the next couple of weeks with a view to meet, discuss and plan.

It would also be good to meet, even at this time of the year, for an hour’s walk in Thornbury Park at 10.00 a.m on Saturday 21 November 2015.  Rendezvous by the playground near the London Road entrance.

As always happy to hear from anyone, email tony.louki@hounslow.gov.uk

TL 7.11.2015

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Filed under Leisure, London Road, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Spring Grove, Thornbury Park, Thornbury Road