An extensive consultation exercise by EDAW has produced a detailed strategy, suggesting directions for the future, a new approach to zoning, and a collection of suggestions for strategic sites all aimed at making Hounslow Town Centre a true destination.
A wide range of opportunities have been identified for new development, for upgrading public spaces, improving local businesses, boosting jobs and transport connections, creating desirable homes, and providing a spectrum of new leisure facilities and amenities.
The Council's vision for a better future begins with a plan to focus the town centre’s core land uses and create a critical mass of activity. Work will include smartening up the streets, creating better public spaces and a new civic square, improving parking, and concentrating effort on new shops, civic uses, leisure and nightlife within the town centre core, while creating and promoting a new office quarter.
The strategy is focussed on seven major sites ready for development. One has been known as Blenheim Centre Phase two, although it is unlikely to feel like a phase two of the mixed use scheme completed in 2006. That development received a mixed response, say the Council, mainly because of its incongruous scale and appearance and lack of connection with the High Street.
A key goal for the new strategy is to reconnect this site to the Town Centre, and create new and exciting commercial and community spaces. The area between ASDA and the High Street, could become a new shopping and leisure district.
While creating a better mix of retail and leisure uses in the town centre, improving the public realm, will encourage businesses to locate in the Town Centre, the Council say that further benefit will be achieved through the creation of an improved office quarter around Bath and Staines Road, where much of the stock is of reasonable quality or could be refurbished. New office development in the town centre will be focussed here.
Housing will continue to be an important part of town centre development. The priority is to create a local centre around Kingsley Road, which will provide the local shops and services that people need day-to-day.
Given that the Council has secured significant government funding to improve schools in the borough, the will and the wherewithal to create a new sustainable community at the heart of Hounslow is now in place.
The improvements will be backed up by major investment in public streets and spaces, beginning with the implementation of a new design for the High Street and Lampton Road. The Council also wants to create a new, high-quality public square on the High Street. This would act as a new civic focus for the town centre, and might host a market.
The local transport services will be improved to provide better links across the town centre from underground station to overground station via a new hopper bus service. This would create seamless connections with the High Street and other important locations like the Civic Centre.