06/09/2018English Heritage submits planning application for Marble Hill Revived project
- Charity is calling on local residents to support the project and help secure Marble Hill’s future
- English Heritage has collaborated with local groups and individuals to develop the new proposals
English Heritage has submitted a revised planning application to the London Borough of Richmond for its Marble Hill Revived project, the charity announced today (Thursday 6 September 2018). The project is aiming to transform Marble Hill House and Park in Twickenham into one of the best and most beautiful public spaces in London.
Marble Hill has received little investment since the 1980s and English Heritage wants to make a series of £6m improvements to revive the landscape, open up the house more often, and – from the children’s play area to the sports pitches – improve facilities across the park.
Specifically, the revised proposals will:
• Conserve and re-present Marble Hill House and open it to the public, for free, five days a week for seven months a year
• Restore the structure of the lost 18th-century garden and, open up and replant overgrown areas to create new spaces and habitats, improving biodiversity
• Improve the condition of sports pitches and changing facilities
• Modernise and improve the existing café in the Stable Block
• Create a new play area for children
English Heritage has spent the past six months working with community organisations and listening to the views of local people after concerns were raised about some elements of the original proposals. As a result, the revised planning application features a number of significant changes to the proposals which were causing most concern – notably improvements to the café, landscape and play area.
Kate Pitt, English Heritage’s Audience Development Manager at Marble Hill, said: "Many people were very supportive of our initial plans, but there were also concerns about some elements. So in February this year we took a step back, withdrew the original planning application and worked with the local community to try to find a practical consensus on those areas of concern. Marble Hill desperately needs this investment and we need the community to support our planning application and help secure Marble Hill’s future, so it was important that we got it right."
In response to feedback from the local community, the changes English Heritage has made to the Marble Hill Revived project include:
• The Café – instead of extending the café as originally proposed, it will now be kept within the existing Stable Block building. The design of the new café takes its inspiration from a community proposal submitted during the consultation process and drawn up by a local architect who has worked with English Heritage on the café refurbishment.
• The Landscape – a greater emphasis will be placed on biodiversity and the restoration work will take place at a slower pace to reduce the short-term impact on wildlife.
• The Play Area – The existing baby area will be kept as it is. Adjacent to it, a second play area with low-level, ecology themed play area will be created. Around the perimeter of the park, an ecology-themed play trail will also be installed.
Kate Pitt added: "We’re delighted to be working with a local architect to ensure our final café designs of the café reflect the community proposal. We’re also pleased to have been able to collaborate with the 'Love Marble Hill' group who have passed us new information they have uncovered to help us be more precise about the date of a plan showing the design of the garden.
"We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the discussions over the past six months through the expanded Community Steering Group monthly meetings, at the three Consultation Workshops, two Open Days and other meetings. We believe that together, we have created a better proposal which does justice to the both the house and the park."
Local organisations which are supporting English Heritage’s Marble Hill Revived project include the Marble Hill Society, Marble Hill Playcentres and Kew Park Rangers football club.
Commenting on the Marble Hill Revived project, Denise Carr, Chair of the Marble Hill Society, said: "As a result of this extended period of consultation and engagement, the Marble Hill Society feels that full support should be given to English Heritage for their plans for Marble Hill. We have been worried that the house would eventually end up being closed completely, which would be such an enormous loss to Twickenham and 18th-century history. So we are delighted that the Marble Hill Revived project brings significant capital investment to improve the house and park, completely re-presenting it in a modern way, for modern visitors."
Katy Grieves from Marble Hill Playcentres added: "I’m really excited about the Marble Hill Revived project. I think it will really bring the park to life and offer more opportunities for local people to enjoy it. We’ve really appreciated how English Heritage has included Marble Hill Playcentres and other interest groups in the steering committee and worked with us to determine how we can make this project a real success for the local community. We at the playcentre really support the proposals and hope that everyone else does too."
Dave Cree from Kew Park Rangers also said: "Kew Park Rangers is a great supporter of the development plans as they stand, and we hope that with that development we will be able to have more of our members not only playing sport here, but also enjoying the fantastic facility that is Marble Hill Park."
English Heritage has been awarded a grant of £4.08m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund Through its Parks for People Programme for the Marble Hill Revived project.
The charity will be running an Open Day at Marble Hill on Saturday 15 September from 11am-2pm, when people can enjoy tours of the house and gardens and find out more about the Marble Hill Revived project. Alternatively, visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/marblehillrevived for more information.