softplay map

On, 24th Februrary 2006, an application was submitted to the Richmond Council for planning permission to convert a unit in the St Margarets’ Business Centre from a light industrial (B1) to an indoor soft play area (D2). The applicant is a local resident and parent, Dipesh Bhoola, who is hoping to open an indoor play space like Hugo’s in Richmond or Snakes n’ Ladders in Syon Park.

The proposed unit (#2) is approximately 400 square meters and would have space for a maximum of 200 children aged 0 to 10 years. There would be a caf{e’} with “an exciting menu consisting of healthy foods … junk food will not be available.” The site will be run by four full time and 8 to 10 part time staff.

drawing of layout

According the the application, the Unit, which is the second in from the Moormead Park side, has been empty for a number of years and offers 6 dedicated and 10 overflow parking spcaes. According to the applicant, Dipesh Bhoola;

“I have been looking for suitable premises for a year. In most cases suitably sized premises have been in unsuitable area, such as industrial or sales and distribution parks with heavy traffic from large HGVs. St Margarets Business Centre is a rare find.”

The application makes a good argument for the need for such an amenity:

  • There are very few indoor play areas in St Margarets.
  • In Richmond and Hounslow Boroughs alone, there are some 50,000 children under 10.
  • A large portion of the area around the site consists of small families with high incomes, many of which can walk to the site.

However, they will cleary have to answer the following questions.

  • How will they manage the large number of cars and traffic that will come to the site? With only 6-16 parking spaces, there will be a large number (the application assumes 20-50 cars per day) of additional cars forced onto Winchester, Moormead Godstone and possibly Amyand Roads – most of these roads are not under a CPZ. Not to mention the sheer number of cars that will be pulling into Drummond Place only to realise they have to turn around and park elsewhere.
  • How will they make egress to the site safe? Currently the Mears and other traffic in the St Margarets’ Business Centre creates quite a bit of traffic and most of that is moving at nearly dangerous speeds. Additionally, there do not appear to be any pedestrian pavements for families to use in either the Winchester or Moormead Road direction.

current poll results

What do you think?

  • Vote in our poll (results)
  • Or leave a comment below (NOTE: only comments made on the actual Council pages will be lodged with the Council, comments on this site are for the community to discuss the matter more informally.)