Richmond Council Town Centre engagement survey reveals only 9% of people access town centre by car

By Heather Nicholls

9th Feb 2024 | Local News

Richmond Town Centre. (Photo Credit: Richmond Town Centre Engagement Report).
Richmond Town Centre. (Photo Credit: Richmond Town Centre Engagement Report).

Richmond Council recently released its 'findings reports' from their town centre engagement project.

Last autumn nearly 1,500 people contributed to an engagement project that set out to hear the voice of Richmond Town Centre. 

Richmond, like many other town centres, is seeing the effects of changing public habits.

The council says: "If we want to avoid Richmond losing its vibrancy, we need to adapt.

"We need to look to the future and make sure it's a place that people want to spend time."

The next stage will be to take the insights from this report, merge with other data and research, and develop a vision.

The report highlights six key themes that capture people's experiences:

  • Diversity of use on the high street 
  • Movement 
  • Heritage and identity 
  • Public spaces 
  • Spaces for young people 
  • Culture, leisure and sport 

Over the next couple of weeks, Nub News will break down the findings of the report - with this article focusing on 'visiting the town centre'.

In the survey, participants were asked how often they they go to the town centre, and what mode of transportation they use to get there.

The findings suggest that most people use the town centre a few times a week or everyday.

The report says that this highlights the importance of the town centre for people in the area.

As well as this, the report revealed that the majority of respondents indicated that they primarily utilise walking, the bus or cycling as their primary mode of transportation to Richmond town centre, highlighting a strong preference for active and environmentally friendly mobility options.

It added that the proportion of people who walk to the town centre was particularly high amongst those who live in or near the town centre (82%) and for those between the ages of 26-40 (62%).

It explains that a lot of participants emphasised the health benefits of walking, with some mentioning the pleasant walk along the river and through green spaces

The reports says: "The majority of respondents who indicated that they use the car to travel to Richmond town centre are visitors to the area.

"The survey responses indicate that people choose to use their cars primarily for reasons of convenience, speed, and flexibility.

"Many respondents cited the ability to carry heavy shopping bags, travel with young children, and the impracticality of public transport as key factors influencing their choice.

"Concerns about unreliable and infrequent bus and train services, as well as constant rail works causing disruption and difficulties with mobility, were commonly mentioned."

Participants to the survey, which was completed at the time of the Manor Circus Roadworks, also highlights the impracticality of driving due to traffic congestion and limited parking, making walking the quickest, cheapest, and most stress-free option.

Commenting on social media site X (formerly known as Twitter), Cllr James Chard, for Twickenham Riverside said: "This is striking. East Twickenham is hugely affected by traffic over Richmond Bridge.

"Much of it is through traffic, for which Twickenham Bridge was designed.

"16% cycling figure is remarkable despite layout. I'm excited about what may be possible."

The report found that cycling is most popular for those between the ages of 15-25 with 26% of respondents indicating that this is their main mode of transportation

Participants cited several reasons for choosing cycling, including its speed, convenience, and the absence of parking issues.

Many respondents emphasised the health and environmental benefits of cycling, describing it as a non-polluting, sustainable, and enjoyable mode of transport.

It also says: "Participants also appreciated the exercise component of cycling and the ability to navigate through green spaces like Richmond Park and along the river."

Read the full report here.


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