Improvement works began on the huge site on Monday (February 12) with the installation of bat boxes to support biodiversity as well as maintenance to improve views along the River Thames.
Following this, work will begin to build a new artificial rugby pitch.
As part of the plans a pedestrian bridge will be built under the arch of the Grade II listed Barnes Bridge, linking the footpath of the promenade to the footpath of Dukes Meadows.
Under the approved plans public areas will be spruced up and sporting facilities given a boost.
The plans were given the nod of approval by Hounslow Council during a public meeting on February 8.
Other improvements at the site include:
- improved entrances for pedestrians
- enhancement of the Thames path
- renovation of the bandstand area and promenade
- ecological improvements including tree planting, creation of new habitats for bats and improvements to the nature reserve
- a new and improved boathouse
- renovation of sports pitches and sports pavilions
The proposed footbridge, beneath the existing Grade II listed Barnes Bridge, will provide greater access along the Thames Path.
Its construction, by Moxon Architects and CampbellReith consulting engineers, will allow access to wheelchair users, mobility scooters and buggies.
The design will provide spectacular views up and downstream as well as into the adjacent Dukes Hollow nature reserve, one of the few remaining natural tidal habitats in London.
Ezra Groskin, of Moxon Architects, said: “The intention is to develop an affordable, efficient and honest solution that is easy to construct and pleasing to use.
“With a modest and refined appearance, the bridge will sit respectfully below the existing landmark structure, referencing its form without competing for attention.”
Councillor Steve Curran, leader of Hounslow Council, said: “I am pleased that this project has received the recognition and support it merits and I’m delighted that the journey with the community so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
"The proposed plans have worked as a catalyst to inject funding into Dukes Meadows and has brought local clubs and stakeholders together to work more collaboratively.
"The council is committed to improving the great asset that is Dukes Meadows and we will continue to work alongside residents and stakeholders as the improvements take shape.
"We’re grateful to the RFU who have contributed £1.5million which will ensure that works can begin without delay.”
A public consultation with more than 400 residents identified the top priorities as:
- Better formal facilities (62%)
- Better pedestrian experience (55%)
- Creation of a pedestrian bridge (53%)
- Changes to the Thames path (48%)
- Improved entrances (49%)
- Better natural environment (33%)
The plans are supported by the London Wildlife Trust (LWT) and national sporting governing bodies including the County Football Association (County FA), the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and British Rowing.
Clubs and authorities in the area that have contributed to the plans include Old Meadonians Football Club, Chiswick Rugby Club, Hounslow and Barnes Hockey Clubs, the Port of London Authority and charity Sustrans, which promotes sustainable travel.
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