Grass Clippings

August marks a slight shift in temperatures first thing in the morning and after dusk. The sun is getting weaker as autumn approaches. We have started to notice that the days are getting shorter and nights extending. The first phase of leaf fall has begun, and trees are beginning to set fruit in abundance. It’s probably been a summer to forget. Correction let’s adjust that to a year to erase from the general memory, with all due consideration for the events of the last twelve months and the weather conditions. Thankfully the Club has endured and flourished and has provided a sanctuary for Members to enjoy sport and the friendship of others in a safe space. September is a time for Members to come together after the holidays and in October we welcome new captains to each sport and look forward to the beginning of the sporting calendars. Like the god, Janus, we all have one face looking backwards at what we have endured in retrospection and one face turned forward to hope for better times ahead. January, for whom the month is named after this very Roman of gods, was such a time for contemplation, for the end of one year and the beginning of the next. At the Club this process begins in the next month as we welcome the start of the sporting calendar.  Please make the most of our grass tennis courts in the next two weeks as works to regenerate courts 19-24 for next May will begin w/c 13th September. We will then close courts 25-28 the following week for essential maintenance preparation for summer 2022.

Local developments

Several developments coming through will see changes to local landmarks in the Barnes area. These projects have already started or are in the development phase at the current time. As they are on the doorstep of many Members, they may be of interest to those who are interested in community news and changes.

Hounslow Planning Committee has approved the application for the proposed new footbridge beneath Barnes Bridge.

The committee of the Barnes Footpath Project Board was chaired by Chiswick councillor John Todd (who is deputy chair of Dukes Meadow Development board). With approval granted from planning, the way is now clear for work to start on the project. The walkway is part of the overall regeneration plan for Dukes Meadows.

The main benefit to the public is that pedestrians will no longer have to divert up Dan Mason Drive and the Promenade and away from the river while walking on the Thames Path.

The design of the proposed new footbridge beneath Barnes Bridge was submitted by Moxon Architects. The design is for a curved structure which would sit below the bridge and link the Thames Path to Dukes Meadows.

When the consultation on the Dukes Meadows masterplan was being carried out, the pedestrian bridge was one of the items which rated most favourable feedback, indicating strong local support for the project.

Just beyond the Club, between the railway crossings on Vine Road lies a pocket park known as the Vine Road Recreation Ground. The park, known to dog walkers and families alike began a century ago, when the Barnes Urban District Council purchased 5.5 acres for £3,850 from the executors of the estate of Walter Barker, the market gardener who owned the land, with the aim of providing a space for recreation. Initially there was no access from the western (Westfields) end.

In 1932, following negotiations with Joseph Pither of 68 Railway Side, a piece of his land 10’ x 55’ was purchased by the Recreation Ground for £100, with an agreement to erect a 6′ fence between the land and his remaining garden. This land provided the main pedestrian access from Railway Side that continues to this day.

Over the years there were many additions: the main pavilion with changing rooms and a tea-room, a ‘keeper’s cottage’, paddling pool, playground, bowling green and bowling pavilion. In later years the bowling lawn was utilised as a croquet lawn by a local team and local schools would hold sports days at the decorations ground too. At one stage in living memory, a team of three full time groundsmen and an apprentice were all employed to look after this site alone.

Friends of Barnes Common (FoBC) has operated on and from the Vine Road Recreation Ground (the park) for over seven years. From discussion community action group has devised a plan to introduce a greater range of facilities for the local community to better serve the needs of all groups and improve the wellbeing of all who use the space.

FoBC is a community-based organisation and registered charity. Their vision is to embrace Conservation, Biodiversity, Wellbeing and Lifelong Learning. The primary mission is to use our custodianship of local open spaces to inspire the community to be engaged, to encourage participation and ‘ownership’ to build resilience and leadership and respect the environment for present and future generations.

For some time the leadership team has undertaken research and, with respected professional help, prepared ideas for the Community to enable them to produce a Master Plan proposal which has allowed them to approach Richmond Council for its approval of the plans.

Phase One: Entrance, Cafe and Play Area
Once funding is secured Phase One of the Vine Road Project will look at removing FoBC storage area to an off-site working area, developing a new cafe facility for the park, including brand new toilet facilities. During construction safe access to the rest of the park, Montessori Nursery, Playground and Paddling Area will be retained.
As part of this phase of the project new landscaping will be added around the new facility including a new accessible pedestrian entrance, cafe courtyard, 0-5’s play area and lawn.

Phase Two: Enhancing Park Features
The second phase of the project will look to upgrade and enhance the existing park features including a new pump track, adventure playground and wetland area. While major landscaping improvements are underway a reduced park will remain open to the public including the new cafe facility, 0-5’s play area and lawn area.

Phase Three: Upgrading Facilities
The final phase of the project will look at demolishing the existing pavilion and upgrading the structure with a new modern educational facility to support the park’s conservation and community outreach programmes.
This facility will be an asset for the whole community and enable future programmes to flourish at Vine Road providing spaces for events, meetings, offices and teaching spaces. Full details of the plans and how this will be implemented in the next few years is available online at the Friends of Barns Common website and also with the park itself.

Your monthly gardening checklists from Steve the Gardener:

Sow hardy annuals, such as Cerinthe’s, Ammi, scabiosa and cornflowers, for flowers early next summer. Get ahead of the game and plant now.
Plant wallflowers, pansies, forget-me-nots and other spring bedding in pots and borders
Collect ripe seeds from your favourite flowers and store in labelled envelopes, ready to sow in spring
Plant up containers for autumn interest, using cyclamen, heathers, heucheras and other colourful bedding plants
Bring any houseplants that you moved outside over summer back indoors, before temperatures start to drop
Lift, divide and replant congested clumps of perennials, such as achilleas, once they finish flowering
Apply vine weevil control to pots if plants show the tell-tale sign of notched leaf margins

Peter Bradburn, Course and Grounds Manager –