Pics of the Week: King Street In Flux

When it comes to pomp and ceremony we’re better than the Queen or at least equal to her. The changing of the guard. The trooping of the colour. What do they say to you? Tradition? Days when Great Britain really was great? Tourists getting in the bloody way? All of the above, maybe? But we don’t actually care about SW1, we care about TW1 and Twickenham now has its own version of these esteemed traditions. We are, of course, talking about ‘the moving of the bus stops’ and ‘the widening of the pavements’. These two great ceremonies have become central to Twickenham life over recent months and, judging by some of the feedback on here and on Twitter, might still be for some time to come.

It’s a TWAP thing of course (that’s the Twickenham Action Plan, btw). Under the TWAP King Street is to become a more pleasant environment with no bus stops, wider pavements, more bike parking and with vehicle traffic flowing safely and sedately through it. That’s the theory. During the work the traffic in adjacent streets like Heath Road and Cross Deep seems to have got worse. Some think it will stay like that. We must not rush to judgement. Now, we all know that to be one of the most irritating and pompous phrases around but it also carries truth. It would be unfair to rule on the success or otherwise of the plan until all the work is complete but we cannot stop people from speculating in the meantime. In fact, we actively encourage it.

Wider pavements

Some width in Twickenham

Some width in Twickenham

Central reservation changes

DIg for TWAP victory!

Dig for a TWAP victory!

But don’t just listen to us, have your say too.

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A Marble Hill Mudfest (Updated)

The recent Foodies Festival at Marble Hill House drew in punters from around the area keen to experience a wide range of stalls, watch cookery demonstrations, listen to some live music and generally stuff their faces full of food and drink. Not a bad idea if you ask us. It was a good event. But of course it was an English Bank Holiday weekend and that usually means one thing: rain. OK, so it didn’t rain for the duration but there was plenty of it. The result? Getting all those vehicles off the park left the grass in front of the house looking more like farm tracks than a suburban park – and we should know, we went to the countryside once.

Not good:
Marble Hill mud (2) - June 14

Basically, a large area is a massive mess. We’re talking mud, ruts and the odd splattering of engine oil. We’re sure it will be sorted out between English Heritage and the festival organisers but it’s likely to involve some quite significant costs. The planning statement for the event indicated that it would return for a second year but we can’t see either English Heritage or park users being particularly keen on that unless something changes, and not just the weather. English Heritage’s ‘Design and Access’ statement in their El Brute submission said, “The principal physical impacts on the site are the wear and tear of vehicles during installation and dismantling, mitigated by the use of a track-way. Reinstatement of any damage to the grounds will take place immediately after the event”. Well, there was a trackway but it was clearly inadequate for the heavy rain / heavy vehicle combination over the weekend. Continue reading

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70 years ago, D-Day plans made at Camp Griffiss put into action

twickerati:

The 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings seemed like an appropriate time to highlight the role that Camp Griffiss, located in Bushy Park, played in the build up to the invasion. The Teddington Town website has a given a potted history of the camp. We liked it and so we decided to ‘re-blog’ it.

Originally posted on Teddington, Middlesex, UK:

HistoryToday the world honoured those that fought 70 years ago during the allied D-Day landings in Normandy, but did you know how Bushy Park played an important part in the invasion plans?

In 1942 construction began on Camp Griffiss, a 60 acre site created on requisitioned land in Bushy Park to house the Eighth Air Force, a strategic bombing force. This base was later was chosen by General Dwight Eisenhower as the location for Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), deliberately away from central London to minimise the risk from air attacks.

In addition to anti-aircraft batteries being placed in the park, Diana Fountain, Leg of Mutton pond and Heron ponds were drained and covered with camouflage netting so as to not aid enemy bombers with navigation and bomb-sighting of the base.


Camp Griffiss from the air, along Sandy Lane, looking North. Click for larger version.

For three…

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Twickenham Festival Heaves Into Life – The Photo Item

Twickfest has arrived! It was heaved into life in the traditional way – the tug of war – outside The Eel Pie pub on Church Street. As in previous years teams from around the town are battling it out for the title of top tuggers. In fact, with the election dust still settling we can’t help but think that some kind of political party based theme might have been appropriate. Or, given the relatively low turnout for local elections, perhaps introducing tug of wars into the democratic process could be one way to drum up a bit of excitement.

Meanwhile, there’s a wide range of events going on across June to keep you busy. You can check our listing of what’s on when by clicking here. Or if you just want to see photographic evidence of ‘stuff’ then we’ll be adding photos of assorted festival shenanigans to this item over the weeks ahead.

LINK:
* The Twickerati Twickenham Festival What’s On Guide Bonanza

PHOTOS

Tug of War

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Alright, pet? And the winner is…

A few weeks ago we began the search to find Twickenham’s cutest pet. We said there was no prize on offer. We lied. Such was the torrent of fine looking felines and cute canines that you drew to our attention that we asked a few local businesses if they’d like to judge the contenders and offer a prize. And guess what? Those friendly folk at Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery on Church Street took up the challenge. Better still, they’ve offered not one but two prizes. God, don’t you just love this whole local thing? You can see the mighty Twickenham pet parade via the link below but… drum roll.. the winner and runner up are:

First place – and the recipient of a voucher for afternoon tea for two at Sweetie Pies – is… Muffin! Or rather Muffin’s owner @rainbowlem. Top snapping Rainbowlem!

 

The runner up – doing it for the dogs is… or rather are… Little and Large as pictured by Dave. Result! Dave’s just got himself a £10 voucher to get all caked up at Sweetie Pies. Nice work Dave.

Awww. How cute? Little & Large.   (Photo: David)

Awww. How cute? Little & Large. (Photo: David)

 

A big thanks to all who took part in the non-competition, to our prize giver, of course, to our winner and runner up.

Sweetie Pies

 

 

 

 

LINKS:

* Twickenham’s Cutest Pet
* Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery

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Twickenham Festival 2014 – It’s Here! Event Information.

HELLO! The weather might be a bit so-so but the great twickerati (that’s you btw) won’t be deterred by a cloud or two. You’re better than that. What the hell, let’s re-phrase it… we’re better than that!

Twickenham Festival and a load of other summer fun is upon us. We don’t do proper listings on this site (it’s just too hard and we’re just too lazy) but we have pulled out a few highlights for you. And of course, as you’d expect, we’ve provided copious links to sites which contain not only more, but better, information than you’ll find here. So let’s get to it, let’s get ready to #Twickfest!

[UPDATE: And now that things are underway, we've created a new item for festival pictures so take a look.]

Morris Dancers outside The Fox, Twickenham

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Runaround… Now! Twickenham bus stops on the move

A new bus stop... in Twickenham

A new bus stop… in Twickenham

The long-awaited, much-discussed and oft-disputed move of central Twickenham’s bus stops from King Street to adjacent roads takes effect on Monday 2nd June. Expect mucho confusion on day one… and maybe days two and three but we’ll get there in the end. Probably.

The aim? To improve traffic flow and the general vibe of King Street by getting rid of the bus stops to Heath Road, Cross Deep, York Street and London Road. It’s a TWAP thing, of course. Where there were broadly two bus waiting areas (one on each side of King Street), let there be nine! Okay, so most of those are already in existence but we never like to let facts get in the way of a good story.

Will it achieve its objective? Will an improved King Street be worth the extra shenanigans for bus changers as they trek from stop to stop? Will the new central section and 20mph limit turn King Street into a traffic-calmed Utopia? There’s only one way to find out… and so, as Mike Reid would have growled back in the 80s… Runaround nowwww!

LINK:

* LBRuT bus stops page

Another new bus stop...

Another new bus stop…

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Pic of the Week: Station Work Underway

The stone cutters and angle grinders are out, cranes have roamed the site like mechanical dinosaurs and men in garish orange overalls have been measuring, hitting and cutting anything that they can lay their hands on. It’s brutal out there. Yep, work on Twickenham station has shifted up a gear and is accelerating faster than the overcrowded 07.53 to Waterloo. There’s a new footbridge between the platforms – currently not open for use – and the bridge running from Mary’s Terrace to Cole Park Road is also out of action – shrouded in covers… and mystery.

The major part of the redevelopment of the site is going to take place after the Rugby World Cup next year which, let’s face it, is almost certainly what would have happened judicial review or no judicial review. However, some of the platform & station related improvement work should be complete by the time the event kicks off. The footbridges, step-free access, better lighting, resurfaced platforms are all set to be finished by May of next year.

Work at Twickenham station

Work at Twickenham station

Oh, and if you want to comment on this item please do so. And “oh” again, if you want to get into a mahoosive station-related political debate about who said what, when and why then you can use one of the existing election threads for that.

LINKS
* Network Rail

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Richmond Election Result Special – Conservatives Increase LBRuT Majority

polling station sign in lbrutThe polls are closed, the counting is complete and the seismic shift in the political landscape of the borough has… drum roll… not happened. With all wards now declared, the Conservatives have held Richmond – no surprise there – but with an increased majority. In 2010 the Council comprised 30 Tory councillors and 24 Lib Dems. After yesterday’s vote, that now becomes 39 Conservatives and 15 Liberal Democrats.

East Sheen has returned three Tory Councillors, including the Blue Baron himself, making another episode of The True-man Show a certainty.

“And what of Twickenham?” you cry. Well, in Twickenham Riverside there were rumblings of a possible upset especially with the UKIP charge being led by Tory defector and station-opposer Scott Naylor. The result? The Conservatives returned three councillors, just like in 2010. Susan Chappell the incumbent topped the list followed by newbies Benedict Dias and Helen Hill. The Lib Dems led the ‘also rans’, then the Green Party candidate, then Labour and bringing up the rear, Scott Naylor and his fellow Ukippers. UKIP’s strong campaigning yielded fewer than 300 votes for each candidate. Ouch! We wonder if ‘Nails’ might have actually fared better standing as an independent.

In St Margarets and North Twickenham, previously a split ward, the Liberal Democrats picked up all three seats, a gain of one councillor at the expense of Conservative Chris Harrison. If you live in that ward, Geoff Acton, Ben Khosa and newbie Alexander Ehmann are your class reps.

South Twickenham stayed blue as Clare Head, David Marlow and David Porter all held their seats with very comfortable majorities. There was no UKIP presence here seat although the Green candidate did beat the Labour trio.

In West Twickenham, what was previously a ward of three Lib Dems has ended up with a yellow and blue split with Liberal Democrats Piers Allen and Helen Lee-Parsons being joined by Tory Jane Boulton. Heathfield returned two conservative and one Lib Dem, a gain of one blue seat over 2010. And that forms a bit of a theme in other wards across the Borough with the Conservatives gaining individual seats from the Lib Dems here and there, such as in Fulwell and Hampton Hill, Hampton, and Hampton North, to give them their increased majority.

Interestingly, the Conservatives’ share of the vote was unchanged from 2010, 44.9% compared to 44.3%, while the Lib Dem share dropped from 42.2% to 31.8%. The Lib Dem votes appear to have gone to Labour and the Greens who both increased their share compared to 4 years ago (12.5% v 9.5% and 6% v 2.5% respectively). With 3.9%, UKIP made a small impression. It’s hard to think of disaffected Lib Dems going purple so perhaps these ‘newKips’ came from the blue corner which, given the stability of the Tory share, could suggest some Lib Dems defecting to the Conservatives to make up that shortfall. Either way, this feels a lot like an election lost by the Liberal Democrats rather than won by the Conservatives. Turnout was 46%.

The Conservatives will be delighted with the result and the Liberal Democrats will be left pondering what went wrong for them. And perhaps Vince Cable will be getting a little nervous as he looks ahead to next year’s general election.

So there you have it, check back soon for more news and views.

Happy now?

LINKS:
* El Brute Results Page
* BBC Politics
* Richmond & Twickenham Times

[post updated to reflect final results]

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