22 June 2008

Thames Landscape Strategy

The topic of the latest meeting of The Kingston upon Thames Society was the Thames Landscape Strategy and it was introduced by Jason Debney, the Strategy Co-ordinator.

The whirlwind overview of the work done, or planned, as part of the strategy was a mixture of encouraging, worrying and disappointing.

The encouraging projects were generally those that improved urban environments, such as the approach to Hampton Court and the area between Canbury Gardens and Kingston Town Centre.

The worrying part of the talk was on flood planning which has become more important because of the climate crisis. Key facts are that the Thames is now tidal beyond Teddington Weir (up to Mosely Lock) and that the Thames Barrier will no longer be used to manage floods as it has too much to do in managing high tides.

The depression came from the projects in rural areas, like Ham Lands, where the projects are making these more urban, going against the stated aim of creating a rural paradise (Arcadia). The most shocking images were the "before" and "after" pictures of Melancholy Walk where what looked like a country path has been replaced by a runway. Very sad.

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