30 January 2015

New sheltered housing off Lock Road

I walk down the unmade up track off Lock Road that leads to the doctors' surgery a few times every year, even though it is a dead-end, just to see if anything has changed. And just occasionally they do.

The first sign that something big is happening is at the start of the track on the left-hand side. There used to be a lock-up here that was used the the Thames Landscape project but that has gone and a developer is not using the site.

The development itself is at the far end of the track in the area of land behind Mead Road. There had been plans submitted for here before but they had come for nothing. Now there are two be four sheltered flats with generous communal space.

It is too early to say precisely what they will look like but the elevations in the submitted plans look find and the little of the walls that can be seen at the moment shows bricks that are sympathetic to those in the neighbouring buildings.

The house on the right is new too. It has been added to the end of the short terrace that forms the end of Mead Road. It has also been done sympathetically and I like to see the solar panels on the roof.

29 January 2015

Modern house on Sandy Lane

Sandy Lane has an unusual mix of houses because of the way that it was developed and one that I have always liked is the one at the east end, next to the play area. I like the clean white modern design with the living space upstairs to make best use of the views.

Sadly (from my perspective) it is well screened from the front and is usually well hidden from the side but on this day the trees were bare and the light was good.

28 January 2015

A harsh trim on Sandy Lane

There are times when I do not understand what Richmond Council is doing, and this is one of them.

I had passed this way not that long before this and was appreciative of the way that the hedge gave privacy to the play area and, from that side, hid the passing traffic. Then the next time that I passed the hedge had been brutally cut right down to the height of the fence. This was a major operation as can be seen by the thickness of some of the branches that were cut.

In my opinion it now looks a lot worse. The hedge looks as regimented as a wall and the barrier between urban Sandy Lane and rural Ham Lands is severely diminished.

26 January 2015

Garages off Hardwicke Road

Some of the sets of garages may be going but there are still plenty around to enjoy and these are off Hardwicke Street, close to the junction with Dukes Avenue.

One of the nice things about these garages is that they are all different

The garage at the end has obviously just been worked on with its freshly painted section but it is the wheelbarrow that demands attention. I do not know if it was put there to keep it safe and dry or as a decoration but I'll treat it as the later and welcome it for that.

21 January 2015

In-filling on Meadlands Drive

Ham is beautifully littered with rows of garages but times change and cars can now stand the rain and no longer need to be kept indoors. Garages started to be used for other things but the need for them has been reducing and some of them are going.

This plot is on Meadlands Drive close to where it first touches The Copse at the East end of the road. There used to be a few garages here but they have now gone and something is growing in their place.

17 January 2015

St Richard's at night

Architecturally St Richard's in Ashburnham Road is one of the most interesting buildings in Ham thanks to its star-shape and its many-pointed roof. The roof rises on three of the six points of the star and the extra space beneath is filled with stained glass.

This is more obvious, and more dramatic, at night when the light inside the church highlights both the shape and the colour of the glass.

15 January 2015

What is happening to Ham Common Woods?

If you go down to the woods today you could be in for a big surprise. I was.

A recent walk along Ham Gate Avenue alerted me to work being done on the trees but I thought that was just a little trimming but walking along Ham Gate Avenue again a few days later I caught signs of the work being done in the heart of the woods and went inside to have a closer look.

What I saw was a lot of open space where once there had been trees and bushes.

The ground was littered with evidence of the recent damage, there were severed tree-trunks, sawn branches and wood chippings.

The narrow strip of mud on the left is the path. Walking along here used to give me the childish pleasure of exploring unseen in dense woodland, the sort of thing Rupert the Bear did. Now the path is exposed and the woodland is bare. The temptation to walk through these "woods" has gone.

9 January 2015

Save The World Club community mosaic in Ashburnham Road

I've taken pictures of the Save The World Club community mosaic in Ashburnham Road a few times, and rightly so, but not that recently and I have a better camera now and that is all the excuse I needed to do so again. I also wanted to capture it on a grey day to avoid the sunlight reflecting in it.

While the scale of the mosaic can be appreciate from a distance the detail is best seen close-up, and there is a lot of detail.

3 January 2015

Improving Cut Throat Alley

Firstly, thanks to the anonymous comment poster who alerted me to the recent changes to Cut Throat Alley. I would have founded them at some point but it was nice to be notified.

The improvements started at Riverside Drive with new paying stones and a dropped kerb leading on to Ham Street. Then there is a new path across the green island. Normally I would bemoan the loss of any green space but I am happy to make an exception in this case as the green space is low quality and the path is useful.

The first long section of the Alley looks a little brash at the moment but I think it will calm down with a little bit more wear and weather. The surface is rather like that used for Douglas Footpath but that was more orange and looked inappropriate running through a grass. Here the walls give the path a firm shape, keep the gravel in place and make sense of its colour.

The little shimmy in the middle of the Alley is its defining feature and elevates it from the common straight paths.

As it heads towards Melancholy Walk, Cut Throat Alley loses its wall on one side and I was delighted to see that the new path only stretched as far as the tree line, not the path boundary.

One of the many things that the Ham and Petersham Neighbourhood Forum is looking at is at improving routes for pedestrians and cyclists, something I heartily agree with,  and this is a good simple example of what can be done.