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New benches

By Bridget Osborne

New benches 8 July 2019

Stylish new benches have appeared in the little bit of land beside the railway bridge at Turnham Green Terrace, to be known henceforward as ‘the piazza.’ Voluntary organisation Abundance London has overseen their design and delivery, as part of an overall refurbishment of that area carried out jointly with Chiswick Back Common residents association. Abundance London has paid for them out of ‘Section 106’ money – cash given to the local council by developers to be dished out to local organisations for community projects. They have also cleared and replanted the flowerbeds – hence the beautiful summer border which sprung up lately – and have installed new bike racks.

‘The previous benches in the area were in a serious state of disrepair and not fit for purpose’ says Stephen Nutt. ‘Rather than reinstalling standard park benches we thought the new benches should stand out and have a bit of a wow factor’.

Steve was responsible for all the detailed work on the benches, says Karen Liebreich, co-founer of Abundance London, ‘ensuring we got such fantastic results through his attention to detail and willingness to spend so much of his own time making sure they were pretty well perfect’. This involved a lot of sitting apparently, on different benches in various parts of London.

As a result of his research they chose Woodscape to manufacture the benches from Cumaru (Brazilian Teak), with shot blasted stainless steel fittings. The company delivered and installed them last Wednesday. ‘Over time they should weather to a natural grey finish’ says Steve. ‘They should give Chiswick decades of service’ says Karen.

‘Stylish, nice and solid and really comfortable’

Chiswick residents certainly seem to have been wowed by their installation; some have commented on the fact that a couple are dual-sided, so you can look out over the Common or look at the road: ‘I think the new piazza is really wonderful’ wrote one.

‘We walked over there twice yesterday and again today to sit on the benches which are so lovely – they’re very stylish, nice and solid and really comfortable. Love how one of them curves and offers nice views both ways. I also really love the planting’.

‘The Turnham Green Terrace piazza is stunning’ said another; ‘the benches add the finishing touch and encourage people to sit and ‘just be’. So impressed with your efforts’.

Catherine Meisels of the residents’ association thinks they ‘tick all the boxes:’ they are ‘softly curving, allowing choice of views; generous sizes’ and ‘sturdily built’.

I also think they’re gorgeous, for what it’s worth.

Photographs below: Karen Liebreich ‘overseeing the installation’, Wednesday 3 July 2019

What next for the ‘piazza’

I can’t quite get my head round calling it a ‘piazza’ yet. In my mind that’s a vast marble space with Renaissance statues of noblemen and horses and gushing fountains. A fountain we do have. It was installed in 1901 and will gush again soon, according to Cllr john Todd. Under his gentle probing the council has established that the water supply nearby is still usable. It hasn’t been used for forty or fifty years he says, but it will be been freshly connected, so it’s clean and sealed off from potential germy contamination and he is hoping it will be up and running in time for the grand opening event on Sunday 15 September.

Also planned by Abundance London is a new community art work for the wall along the side of the railway. They would like to have repaved the area as well but that was not within their budget. But if there are any building companies who’d like to donate the wherewithal … or anyone else for that matter, there is still time.

The grand opening, the weekend of the Chiswick Book Festival, is planned in collaboration with the (second) Cook Book Festival with the enthusiastic support of the businesses along the Terrace, and will involve a lunchtime feast on long tables down the middle of the road, which will be closed to traffic for the day, for live music and activities for children.

abundancelondon.com