|Gunnersbury Park Café Plan Seeks Approval|
Friends group 'extremely disappointed' with latest revisions
An application for a revised plan to redevelop the café in Gunnersbury Park has been submitted to Hounslow Council.
The scheme will see the removal of the existing café and toilet block and the construction of a new café and carriage display building including public toilets.
The Friends of Gunnersbury Park and Museum have said they are 'extremely disappointed' with the revisions to the original plan. Despite describing the changes as 'non-material' the new proposal halves the size of the area given over to the display of the carriages. Given the reduced size this may mean that some of the current exhibits may have to be loaned out on a long-term basis to other museums.
The other major change in the revised proposal is the removal of the external toilet block which was built as recently as 2011. The Friends point out that as the new facilities will only be open during cafe opening hours. They comment, "It is hard to understand the logic of the proposed closure and we are objecting to it."
The project is part of a Heritage Lottery Fund submission, in support of the application for grant funding under the Parks for People and Heritage Grant programmes.
The existing café is a pavilion style building of circa 1950’s design, comprising a masonry structure to the rear and a timber framed, glazed structure to the front, over looking the Temple, Round Pond, finished with a shallow pitched roof. However, it is described as being now in very poor condition, surviving through ‘first aid’ repairs. Bringing the current structure up to scratch would cost over £200,000.
The designers of the new café claim it will be more welcoming than the existing facility and will also incorporate a display of the Rothschild family’s carriages which are currently on display in Gunnersbury Park Museum which itself is due to be closed for a number of years for refurbishment. The carriages will be move to a climate controlled room at the north of the café which will protect them from direct sunlight which can have a detrimental effect on the leather and fabric of the exhibits.
The café project will not be consulted on separately but will be presented as a part of the ongoing public consultation exercise associated with the main Gunnersbury Park project will see a major refurbishment of the park and museum.
New cafe building viewed from the south
Cafe viewed from the North with carriage display building on left
If you wish to see further details of the scheme you can search using the post code W3 8LQ on Hounslow’s planning portal.
February 13, 2015