The Big Barnes Ponder

Help create a vision for the future of Barnes
10:30am - 4pm, Saturday 19 October 2013
Old Sorting Office Community Arts Centre, 49 Station Road, Barnes SW13 0LF


Join The Barnes Town Team at its first big community event. Residents of all ages, businesses and community groups are invited to help plan the future of Barnes and create a vision for the next 5-10 years.

Drop in for a few minutes, take part in a workshop or stay for the whole event.


How can we improve the wall and walkway along the river?

What retailers and services do we need in our shopping areas?

How can we better manage traffic and parking in Barnes?

What facilities do we need for young people and families?

How can we encourage a vibrant arts and culture community in Barnes?


Help us answer these questions and more at The Big Barnes Ponder.

Free prize draw for participants

First prize

Lunch for 4 at Sonny's Kitchen

The Barnes Ponder on Saturday October 19 was a huge success with over 300 people attending to share their ideas for the future of Barnes and debate the issues with fellow residents. The outcomes of the day will all be put together in a summary document over the next few weeks so if you weren't able to attend you can still get an idea of the issues discussed. If you have a suggestion that you would like to be added to the thoughts being considered by the Town Team please use the form below.

The ideas that came out of The Big Barnes Ponder Community Visioning Day have been grouped into seven key themes:

  1. The local economy and marketing Barnes
  2. Arts, culture and recreation
  3. The environment and public spaces
  4. Getting around Barnes
  5. Young people and play
  6. The High Street and river
  7. ‘North’ Barnes

Each of these themes will become a work area with a number of relating projects.  Each work area will be supported by a team of volunteers whose role is to deliver the projects in that area.

The Barnes Town Team’s first Community Forum took place on Monday 20 January 2014 at The Old Sorting Office in Barnes and was well attended by over 100 residents and stakeholders.  Following a presentation by place branding expert Tim Nicol (also chair of Stamford Town Team) participants joined the work area teams and started to discuss how they will take forward the projects that came out of the Ponder.

The work area teams

The initial work area teams were formed at the Community Forum.  Teams are still open to new recruits so that we can involve volunteers who haven’t been able to attend the events so far and so that we can ensure we have the right skills to promote and deliver the projects.  We will tell people about the projects and ask them to come forward via the Barnes Village newsletter and website, Prospect and other local channels.

Each work area team will have a team leader who will lead the work of the team, organise the meetings and sit on the Town Team to brief on progress and seek support with resolving any issues.

We anticipate that the teams will meet every month initially, at a time that is convenient to the group, as they plan what they are going to do and perhaps less frequently as work progresses.

The teams will need to understand the skills that they have in the group and any gaps.  We have started to identify the knowledge and skills that we think will be needed within each team so that we can look for people and there is more about this below.

We anticipate that the teams will need to be fluid, particularly in the early days, as people join and leave to move to other groups.  Also there are projects that may need the input and co-operation of more than one team.

Support for the work area teams

From the Town Team and Town Centre Manager

The Town Team and the Town Centre Manager will support the teams with their projects.  The Town Centre Manager will be in regular contact with the team leader to find out how the projects are going, what support is needed and to monitor progress and report to interest parties such as the Council.

The Town Team will have an overview of all the projects and provide strategic advice and support.  We aim to have a member of the Town Team on each of the work area teams.

Resources – people and funding

The Town Team and the Town Centre Manager will provide help with identifying sources of funding to support the project work.  We anticipate that this will be a mix of Council support and support through grants from other bodies which we will need to apply for.  We will be looking for someone who has experience of identifying and applying for funding to help us across the projects.

As communication will be critical for all the projects, we will also be looking for people with communication skills to work across the projects to help us ensure that residents know what we are doing and so are able to support our work.

The next steps

We are getting each of the teams together over the next few weeks to ensure that they are clear about their project brief and what they are going to deliver, start the process of prioritisation of the work, agree team structure and identify resource – both people and financial – that is needed to make the project a success.

Work area teams

The local economy and marketing Barnes

Team projects:

  • To improve our retail and service offer, filling empty space and bringing the businesses that residents want into our retail areas (based on our Love Barnes shopping survey) to make Barnes a lively and attractive shopping destination.  Initiatives include: investigating closing the High Street on festival days, getting a cash point into the High Street, developing a shop front design guide, putting together a Barnes profile so that we can approach new businesses about coming to the area.
  • To market Barnes as a destination to visitors and residents through a consistent branding and image.  Initiatives include: undertaking a branding exercise based on research and brainstorming with residents, putting in place a strategy to promote Barnes.
  • To work with local economist Robert Sadleir to identify an indicative ‘ideal’ spend from each household that would keep the local economy going to support communication activities.
  • To create a community website for the project.

We need people with the following skills or knowledge to help with these projects: Research, web design, finance, retail, property, planning, project management. If you think you can help please email Emma Robinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Arts, culture and recreation

Team projects:

  • To organise an active events programme to bring people into Barnes.  Initiatives include:  organising a Barnes Prom, events which focus on the river eg use of Small Profit Dock and Harrods Pontoon, musical events using a bandstand in the pond area, outdoor cinema.
  • To consider activities to support the community, in particular the young and elderly members.  Initiatives include investigating the potential for a satellite library in the High Street.

We need people with the following skills or knowledge to help with these projects:

Event management, finance, understanding of charitable sector.

Getting about Barnes

Team projects:

  • To implement “20’s Plenty” across Barnes
  • To support the work of Friends of Barnes Common and in particular to improve Barnes Station eg safety issues such as removal of undergrowth.
  • To improve the conflict between pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and traffic along the river at The Terrace and Lonsdale Road.
  • To explore how we can improve transport links to Barnes and within Barnes, considering bus routes, times and Boris Bikes.

We need people with the following skills or knowledge to help with these projects:

Travel and transport issues, environmental issues, project management.

The Environment and public spaces

Team projects:

  • To support and work with the Friends of Barnes Common to deliver the Barnes Common masterplan.
  • To open up views of the Harrodian sports ground.
  • To improve Suffolk Road Recreation ground.
  • To improve the way that cyclists and pedestrians use the river path so that both can enjoy the space.  Widen towpath to reduce pedestrian/cyclist/vehicle conflict.

We need people with the following skills or knowledge to help with these projects:

Research, planning, environmental issues.

Young people and play

Team projects:

  • To improve play facilities across Barnes, making better use of existing facilities and introducing new ones where they are needed.  Initiatives include exploring the possibility of a skate park in the Castelnau estate area, introducing sympathetic play facilities for young children in the pond area, exploring the possibility of a sensory garden in Suffolk Road recreation ground, to promote the Washington rec play area and introduce more signage, to ensure that young people in Barnes have space to meet and ‘hang out’, working with local youth groups.

We need people with the following skills or knowledge to help with these projects:

Research, planning, finance, working with young people.

High Street and river

Aim of the team:
  • To consider how the key focal points of Barnes, the river and the green could be better connected. Initiatives include considering improvements to the way traffic and pedestrians move through the High Street, exploring how the area is used by the community, promoting placemaking and environmental improvements to widen pavements, etc and supporting the development of Liffords Place.
  • To improve the river wall and its immediate area so that residents and visitors can appreciate our river location with better views of the water and an improved river walkway.  Initiatives include a feasibility study of the glass flood wall (we think the flood defences need to be replaced anyway in the next ten years).
  • To develop a shop front design guide including focussing on a preference for internal shutters.
  • Investigate more High Street traffic closure to “capture” trade for the High Street during key festival eg Barnes Fair and Boat Race day.
  • To improve access to the river so that people can make more use of it.  Initiatives include looking at the feasibility of a pontoon, refurbishing Small Profit Dock.

We need people with the following skills or knowledge to help with these projects:

Finance, placemaking/urban design, engineering, procurement, project management, planning, local government, research.

'North' Barnes

Aim of the team:
  • To make improvements to the Castelnau shopping parade to restore its vitality as a service for local residents, considering environmental and traffic/parking improvements.
  • To look at ways in which the ‘north’ Barnes and ‘central’ Barnes communities can be brought together.
  • Consider radical traffic management at the north and south Castelnau junctions e.g Poynton, Cheshire.

We need people with the following skills or knowledge to help with these projects:

Research, planning, urban design, retail, traffic and traffic and transport issues.

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