Richmond Council has outlined proposals for improvements to public spaces in the town centre.

A range of proposals and ideas was presented to the council’s transport and air quality committee on May 17, including traffic management, improved cycling facilities, cycling and walking routes and improved accessibility.

Richmond town centre is the economic centre of the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. It has traditionally had a strong offer of retail, hospitality, leisure, offices and culture, alongside its role as a transport hub for the borough.

Each of those elements has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the council is progressing proposals to ensure economic recovery in the areas is supported by a strategy to increase connectivity, drive footfall and make it safe for people to visit shops, access services and explore the area.

Priorities outlined in the report include provision of safe outdoor space, activation of under utilised streets and unique features and designs which add to the identity of the town centre.

A working group has been assembled, comprising local stakeholders, ward councillors, council officers and consultants. The group has been working to develop ideas and proposals to improve Richmond town centre in different ways.

The next stage of this process will be a broad-ranging consultation in Summer 2021. The consultation will give the community the chance to review and comment on specific proposals, including:

  1. Working with Transport for London to develop high standard pedestrian and cycle options on the A316 – to make Richmond’s natural bypass safer and more accessible to all
  2. A new multi-storey hub for more than 700 bicycles at Richmond Station, in partnership with South Western Railway
  3. Better and safer route options through Richmond town centre for cyclists, including connectivity with a proposed new cycle hub at Richmond Station
  4. Identifying and delivering a number of improvement schemes focused on greening and small-scale interventions, such as tree planting, improving seating, pavement quality and removal of disused phone kiosks and unnecessary bollards and provision of toilets

A shortlist of further project ideas includes new pedestrian crossings, improved signage and way-finding, decluttering and improvement of street appearance. The council has also worked with a local artist to design new guard railings, which will be installed only where required for safety. The new design makes it impossible for bicycles to be attached so as to help the overall removal of street clutter.

Cllr Alexander Ehmann, chair of the transport and air quality committee, said: “The way people use and move around Richmond town centre has shifted during the pandemic. Getting people safely back into our shops, pubs and restaurants and other venues is critical for economic recovery. But so is creating a sense of place that connects local people to the area and makes it somewhere visitors keep returning to.

“A critical first step is to make sure the town centre is accessible, connected,  walkable and cycle-able, safe, attractive, clean and sustainable.

“An integrated approach to place-led development, with innovative design and improvement, will help Richmond meet the challenges wrought by the pandemic, ensure it remains an important community and business hub and lead towards a recovery that works for everyone.

“Local residents, businesses and communities know their town centre best and know what is important to maintain and improve its sense of place. I would encourage everyone to have their say through the consultation when it launches in the Summer.”

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