News & Events

News update: 16 June 2024

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Mortlake Brewery Redevelopment

The latest applications for housing and secondary school went before the Council’s Planning Committee on 19 July 2023.  MESS raised concern about inter alia the density and height, the impact on heritage,  the low percentage of affordable housing and the inadequacy of public transport (click here) but both applications were approved subject to direction from the Mayor of London.  Since then the applicant has had to revise the plans to include additional staircases for buildings over 18m high to meet new fire regulations post-Grenfell and these new plans were the subject of further consultation and resubmission for Committee approval on 31 January 2024 before going to the Mayor of London. MESS took issue with a number of points raised in the Council officer’s report but the Planning Committee once again noted that there were indeed harms but that the social benefits outweighed the harms.  The applications for both the housing and the secondary school then went to the Mayor who had said on the previous applications in 2021 that the social benefits did not outweigh the harms.

The Mayor did not make a decision within the timescale, hence the applicant appealed to the Secretary of State against non-determination, the appeal was accepted, a public inquiry was arranged for the end of May but has now been postponed until later in the year.

Mortlake Brewery Film Studios

Meanwhile the developer has been using the vacant site as a film studio and has now received planning permission (13 March 2024) subject to a s106 agreement for its continued use as such until the site is ready for redevelopment.  MESS was in favour of this application (click here).

Barnes Hospital Redevelopment

The application for the retained mental health facility (MHF) and special needs school (SEN) went before the Council’s Planning Committee on 10 May 2023.  MESS raised concern about the MHF being confined to only 13% of the site instead of 21% and the SEN school now occupying 31% instead of 23% (click here).  The Committee nevertheless approved the application subject to s106 agreement which was finally signed in October 2023. Since then there has been a further bat survey, an archaeological study and a more detailed survey of trees.  The removal of unprotected trees is now happening and demolition works are likely to start in May.

The detailed plans for the housing were approved by the Council’s Planning Committee on 22 May 2024.   MESS made a representation about the absence of drawings showing the boundary treatment between the housing and the MHF/SEN school, the increase in the density of the development and the inadequacy of the very narrow South Worple Way as the provider of access to this site.   

Homebase, Manor Road

The plans, which have been called in by the Mayor, have been modified to meet the new fire regulations post-Grenfell and have been the subject of further consultation.  MESS has collaborated with friends in the Kew Society and Richmond Society in opposing this development (click here) just as both these societies and the Barnes Community Association have been supporting MESS over the Brewery redevelopment.  The Mayor of London has now approved the development subject to a s106 agreement which has been finalised.

Aerial Masts

The appeal against the Council’s decision to refuse the application for a 10m mast at the North Worple Way bus turn-around was dismissed on 5 June 2023 bringing an end to a history of 13 applications for aerial masts throughout our area.  MESS has commented on all these applications and produced its own photomontages (click here).

Other items

North and South Worple Ways

There has been an increase in rat-running traffic in these two roads and the Council has undertaken a study of rat-running traffic in these two roads, which MESS has supported (click here).  For North Worple Way the study has recommended ‘intervention’ at two locations, for which the Council invited comments by 19 Nov 2023 and MESS responded. The proposed intervention at Avondale Road – no entry towards the west except for permit holders – was approved at the Council’s Transport Committee on 27 Feb 2024. 

For South Worple Way there have been no such recommendations; instead there are now traffic restrictions in Vernon Road during school arrival hours which in theory have put a stop to this rat run, and these restrictions could become stronger (and possibly longer?) once made permanent.  The Council invited comments on these trial restrictions by 24 Nov 2023 and MESS responded. The proposal to make the traffic restrictions in Vernon Road permanent was approved by the Council’s Transport Committee on 27 Feb 2024.

Sheen Lane Centre Precinct

MESS has been involved in the Council’s study to enhance the Sheen Lane Centre precinct.  A plan has now emerged and was the subject of public consultation, deadline 5 Dec 2023 and MESS responded.

Milestone Green

MESS has also been involved in the Council’s study to enhance Milestone Green.  A plan has now emerged and has been the subject of public consultation, deadline 28 March 2024 and MESS has responded.

Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs)

MESS does not comment on CPZ extensions ever since it undertook a questionnaire survey of its membership to determine whether they were in favour of the Council’s proposed blanket CPZ for Parkside (the area between the Upper Richmond Road and Richmond Park) in 2019 and the result was 50/50.  Nevertheless, for your information, residents of seven streets in Parkside have since petitioned the Council to introduce a CPZ in their streets in order to remove alien parking, and two more streets have since joined in.  The CPZ for these nine streets has now been designated.

Richmond Park

MESS did not comment on the closure of Sheen Gate after undertaking a questionnaire survey of its membership to determine whether they were in favour of the closure and the result was again 50/50.  Nevertheless MESS has been in contact with the new manager of Richmond Park raising concern on other matters, not least the narrowing of the peripheral road on the bridge across the Beverley Brook.

Heathrow flightpath

MESS has not commented on the expansion of Heathrow because of its awareness of the 50/50 issue.  However, an interesting development has now occurred.  There is a proposal to alter the flightpath into Heathrow from being a straight line (or rather two straight lines, one for each runway with alternation between the two) into becoming a fan thereby easing pressure on those living under the straight line.  The fan includes Richmond Park and there has been much protest from many quarters that the park is a place of rest and recreation and should not be subjected to aircraft noise.  MESS has not yet taken the temperature on this one but will do so and will be sounding out its membership in the near future.   

Hammersmith Bridge

Progress on the emergency works was delayed by a boat hitting the deck in December 2023.  During the repair works to this damage the deck was temporarily open to cyclists but the repair works are now complete and cyclists have to dismount again.   

News of Members

We are sorry to report the sad news of several members who have died since the start of Covid namely Prudie Mennell, Richard Hastie Smith, Bruce Dinwiddy, Sir Peter Harrop, Andy Lankaster, Jack Parker, Peter Hames, Michael Daglish, Sir Brian Hayes, Martin Godfree, Peter Low and Eleanor Stanier.

For obituaries of Eleanor Stanier (a former Chair of MESS, Councillor and Mayor of Richmond), Jack Parker (founder and second Chair of MESS) and of Prudie Mennell and Peter Hames who both served on the Committee, please click here.

Future Events

Sunday 30 June: Members’ Walk around our historic walls

Please note that the walk is now fully booked but members are welcome to join the waiting list in case of any cancellations.   

Sunday 15 September, 1.00 to 5.00pm: Open House Day at the air raid shelter at St Leonards Court.

If you have joined MESS in the past year you must come and see it – and bring a friend.  You should know that MESS saved this shelter from extinction in 2010 and managed to get English Heritage (the predecessor to Historic England) to designate is as a Grade II listed building.  Since then we and our partners, Habitats & Heritage, have been endeavouring to get permission from the landlord to carry out works to this ‘at risk’ listed building but there has recently been a change of landlord.  Habitats & Heritage incidentally also look after Burton’s Tomb in Mortlake and several other such monuments in this area of London.

Sunday 22 September, Members’ Drinks with the Mayor, 12.00 to 1.30pm, at All Saints Church Hall Garden.

Please make a note of this event in your diaries if you haven’t already done so.  Further notices will follow.

Recent past events

Monday 20 May: Talk by Alastair Grant, long-standing MESS member and retired Royal Marine, on his newly published book, ‘Royal Marines in Russia 1919’, which was about their battle to protect the White Russians against the Red Army of the Bolsheviks.  It transpired that the 24-year old leader of the Marine continent was Alastair’s grandfather who later became a general.

Monday 18 March: Talk by Patience Trevor on our listed buildings followed by the AGM.  Patience is a heritage expert on the MESS Committee who has led several walks around our historic walls.  Her talk included buildings which have recently been listed and two well-known buildings which were candidates for listing but which have not been listed (The Maltings on the Brewery site and All Saints Church, both buildings on the local list of Buildings of Townscape Merit but not as yet on the Statutory List).


Monday 26 February: Talk by Juliet Ames-Lewis, CEO of The Richmond Charities, on Almshouses in the Borough of Richmond: history, heritage, community and the Almshouse movement in general. Juliet talked about her role running both Richmond’s and one of the UK’s largest almshouse endowments since 1600 and in the context of the wider almshouse movement nationally. She touched on recent empirical evidence to show that almshouse residents enjoy a “longevity boost” due to the staff support and the strong, active and harmonious communities in which they live. Juliet talked about the role of almshouse charities in the modern era and the huge number of new almshouses which are currently being built nationwide, in order to house our aging population in sensitively designed and appropriate, supportive housing.

Monday 13 November: Talk on the Great Stink of London by Stephen Fielding of Habitats & Heritage and how Engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette created a sewerage system for London that rid the city of disease (H&H is currently working towards the restoration of Bazalgette’s mausoleum in St Mary Wimbledon’s churchyard).

Monday 16 October: Talk on our Open Space Needs in the New Era by Andy Sutch at Tower House School.  The Council has updated its open space strategy to address issues such as access and maintenance in our new era of climate change and pandemics.  The Borough is well endowed with open spaces including parks, playing fields, green corridors, allotments, cemeteries, etc.  All these need further assessment and investment in our new era and the question arises as to how this is prioritised over the next ten years and which open spaces in our area are likely to get a slice of the action.

Saturdays 23 September, 4 November and 9 December: visits to the Brewery Film Studios.  Up to 50 members registered for each of the guided tours, this being the maximum number allocated to us.   The tours were excellent, a real eye-opener to those who have never been near a film studio before. 

Sunday 10 September: Open House Day at the Air Raid Shelter, St Leonards Court.  This was the first time we had opened the shelter to the public since September 2019 due to COVID restrictions in September 2020 and 2021 and to our mourning for HM The Queen in September 2022.  The numbers of visitors on this occasion were lower than in previous years and this may be due to current access difficulties and also to weather conditions which were surprisingly hot for that time of year.

Sunday 4 June: the biennial East Sheen Open Gardens organised by FiSH who this year  celebrated their 60th anniversary.  MESS provided its usual support.

Sunday 14 May: Walk along the boundary of the Parish of Mortlake with East Sheen (which is also the MESS boundary) focused on the alignment through Richmond Park from Beverley Brook to Conduit Wood.

Monday 20 March: our AGM, which was preceded by a talk by Mike Hildesley on the Beverley Brook (which forms part of our eastern boundary) including its “history, catchment, modifications, sources, water quality, biodiversity, amenity value, upkeep and future potential”. 


Sunday 4 September: MESS members’ garden party in the All Saints Church Hall garden.  After two years of lockdown and meetings on Zoom this was an opportunity for MESS to meet socially for the first time since our 50th anniversary lunch in 2019. Our Guest of Honour was the Mayor of Richmond Cllr Julia Cambridge.

Saturday 2 July: MESS had a stall at the Mortlake Fair on the Brewery playing fields and put on a display of its current issues and activities.

Sunday 26 June: the Chairman (in the absence of Patience Trevor who was in Covid quarantine) led another walk around some of our historic walls followed by tea in the front garden of Christ Church.

Monday 9 May: the Chairman gave a presentation on Zoom of the latest plans of the Mortlake Brewery redevelopment and invited the audience to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with his assessment of the plans and his remaining concerns by pressing buttons on their computers.

21 March, Colin Cooper, Head of Habitats and Heritage, gave a talk about the work of his charity which collaborates with local community groups in preserving and enhancing green urban spaces and biodiversity and also heritage assets including our air raid shelter, Burton’s tomb and several other assets in our part of London. This talk was followed by our AGM.

On 31 January, our Air Raid Shelter team gave a presentation to 40 members in All Saints Church Hall and at the same time to 50 members on-line (a first!) about the shelter, comprising two Tom Stanier films and a slideshow which included maps of the local bombsites. For more information about the air raid shelter, or to arrange a visit, click here and scroll down the page.


Monday 11 October: Simon Richards, Chief Superintendent of Richmond Park gave a talk to an audience of over 100 in All Saints Church about the Park and specifically the Traffic Management Scheme currently being trialled including closure of the road past Sheen Gate.

Sunday 12 September and Sunday 6 June: two walks around some of our historic walls led by Patience Trevor, followed by tea in the front garden of Christ Church and back garden of Shaun Lamplough’s house respectively.

Monday 17 May: Jason Debney, who runs the Thames Landscape Strategy, gave an on-line talk about the growing threat of flood-risk along the river and the need to re-wild the Arcadian riverside.

Monday 15 March: our AGM was followed by a showing of Tom Stanier’s half-hour film about the legendary Dr John Dee, with scenes of his life scripted by Tom and performed by members of the Barnes Community Players.  If you wish to see this film please click here (NB there are 17 seconds of blank screen at the beginning, and you do not need to open a “OneDrive” account).

Monday 15 February, Sandra Hempel gave an on-line talk about the history of Barnes Hospital. If you would like to read more about her book on the topic, or order a copy, please click here.


Monday 16 November: Dame Una O’Brien, former Permanent Secretary to the Department of Health, gave an on-line talk on Covid.

Monday 26 October: Patience Trevor, ex English Heritage, gave an on-line talk about our Historic Walls. If you would like to read more and see the maps which show the locations of our historic walls on today’s map base and also on Godfrey’s historic maps of 1893, please click here.

Monday 14 September: our AGM, which had been cancelled in March due to the start of the Covid lockdown, was finally held on-line and the new Chairman gave a presentation of the latest plans for the Brewery redevelopment following the call-in by the Mayor of London.