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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

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FBHP opposes conversion of Jenny Lind pub to KFC

Last night the council planning committee considered the re-submission of the application to turn the former Jenny Lind pub in Hampton Hill High Street into a take-away. If granted the building would be converted and extended to house a KFC take-away within a few feet of the Hampton Hill New Gate to Bushy Park.

Pieter Morpurgo spoke on behalf of FBHP, 2 others spoke on behalf of Hampton Hill residents and traders. No one spoke on behalf of the developer. There had been over 300 objections sent in before the meeting.

The application was rejected, so we have won round two.

There will definitely be an appeal as KFC are already announcing it on their web site, so that will have to be followed up with ever more vigorous objections.

The following is the text of the FBHP presentation:

Bushy Park is a Grade 1 listed landscape with Grade 1 listed structures in it, and a proposed SSSI is currently awaiting notification by Natural England. In the planning submission Section 14 it is stated that the site is not in, or close to a biodiversity site. This is incorrect. Bushy Park – within feet of the site is a biodiversity area of national importance. The Park contains a regionally important area of Lowland Acid Grassland, a UK priority habitat for conservation and a habitat in the Borough of Richmond Biodiversity Action Plan and it’s a Site of Metropolitan Interest for biodiversity as designated by the GLA. It is the responsibility of the council as well as the general public to protect such a delicate and historic structure.
Deer are scavengers. They will eat anything, as was proved at a routine autopsy on a deer in Richmond Park where it was found that the deer’s stomach contained litter and food stuffs dropped by the public. Even more dangerous is the effect of cooked chicken bones. These can be fatal to dogs as is well known; the Deer Society and Wildlife officers I have spoken to state that they are equally fatal to deer. The plastic forks supplied by take-aways could also kill.
We are told that litter pickers will be used. In reality this won’t happen in the park because they would have to clear up the park in the dark probably surrounded by a herd of deer, who will very quickly have learned to find the new food source. Even if the litter doesn’t kill the deer, the food stuffs which pass through them will change the nature of this important acid grassland.
The car park by the site is partly owned by the Royal Parks and although outside the walls of the park is used by park users. Having a take away so close will reduce the number of spaces available for them. There is already enormous pressure on car parking around the park. It is a popular venue, and the car park is the only one on the Hampton Hill side.
As important as these reasons are, perhaps of the greatest concern to the council and local residents and park users is that the change in use of this building will encourage people to congregate in the park with their food particularly in the evenings. There have been many instances when anti social behaviour has forced the Royal Parks to lock the pedestrian gate. Anti social behaviour is a very serious problem in the park. Just last year vandals caused the complete destruction of the Hampton Hill Cricket Club building in the park only a few steps away from where this take away is proposed. The council should be helping to discourage these types of individuals, rather than allowing, through the granting of this application, a further opportunity for people to congregate, drop litter and cause further damage to one of the most best loved, precious and what should be one of the most protected areas in the borough.
I would urge the council planning authorities to reject this application without further delay. Granting it would simply allow more developers to apply for similar permissions, making the problems the park face even worse. As I’ve already said, it is a grade 1 listed landscape and it, and its environs should be treated as such.

Pieter Morpurgo, FBHP

Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Thursday, 22nd Nov 8:00 pm

TALK by John Sheaf, “Bushy Park and the surrounding area in old photographs”

Latest report

On the morning of Saturday 3 November a group of members of the Friends assisted Sharon Evans, the Bushy Park Head Gardener, in planting an area of the Woodland Gardens.

Full report...