Here at twickerati HQ we’re all lovin’ this Instagram pic of the river at Twickenham. It was taken by Eel Pie Islander Michele Whitby and, as she says, “The only things on the river this morning were me, my kayak and the ducks – beautiful”. Beautiful? We’re inclined to agree. What a fantastic way to start your day.
Mucho upsettedness among many residents of south west London about trials being conducted by Heathrow airport on its easterly departure routes. Yep, them’s the ones when the planes bank round over Twickenham, Strawberry Hill and Teddington after take off, i.e. the ones that rattle your windows and have you reaching for the volume button on the remote control. The trial is officially called “Easterly departure trial 2″. It began on 28th July and runs through to 15th January 2015.
The purpose? According to Heathrow one objective is to “test the use of performance based navigation”. This involves using new navigation technology to allow aircraft to follow routes more precisely and so place less reliance on air traffic controllers. The second objective of the trial is to test different departure routes “with the ultimate aim of reducing separation on departures”. Nope, we don’t know either. Something about reducing delays on departure and holding times on the ground, according to the airport blurb. Sounds a bit like facilitating more flights too maybe, doesn’t it. Perhaps it’s even also about testing scenarios linked to that third runway thingy.
The idea to build a boathouse and dock for royal barge Gloriana at Orleans Gardens in Twickenham has been shelved by Richmond Council. In a press release on Friday 12th, El Brute said that although the results had not been fully analysed, “It is clear a substantial majority of respondents were opposed to Gloriana’s permanent home at this site. It has therefore been agreed between the Council and the Gloriana trustees not to proceed any further with this project”.
Here at twickerati we regard this as the right decision although it did take El Brute rather a long time to get there. Nice boat, sure, but Orleans Gardens was not an appropriate location for such a large construction. There was a very active and vocal campaign against the proposal led by the team at Save Orleans Riverside. As part of their work they secured 4,500 signatures for their petition opposing the plan and, as you know, our own poll (with over 1,600 votes cast) showed over 70% against with just 13% in favour. It seems that the Council did listen to the people, eventually. It will be interesting to see whether now, after their long silence, Twickenham’s Councillors will be willing to voice their own opinions on the matter.
You will recall that a while ago we told you about the launch of Twickenham Theatre? You don’t? Well, we did. Anyway, its first production is now underway. It’s a version of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Remember Sweeney Todd? Demon barber? Dab hand with a cut throat razor? Liked a pie? That’s him. The production is billed as a ‘musical thriller’ laced with wit and dark humour. It stars David Bedella and Sarah Ingram and runs until 4th October. And where is Twickenham Theatre you might well be asking. It’s at 68 London Road above the London Road Bar, that’s where.
So, are you going? Or have you gone? Give us your thoughts or reviews here.
* Twickenham Theatre
Booze? Here in Twickenham? Yes, dear readers we can now confirm that that does indeed seem to be the case. In fact, such is the town’s commitment to the cause and such is this site’s commitment to the town, that we’re bringing you news of three booze related events coming up. All take place on the same day so you can take your pick.
First up, we salute Twickenham Fine Ales, London’s oldest micro-brewery. The company celebrates ten years of brewing with a 10th Anniversary Party on Saturday 13th September at its Mereway Road brewery. It was founded in 2004 by Steve Brown and has gone from strength to strength, picking up fans and plaudits and moving to larger premises along the way. Sundancer, Grandstand, Naked Ladies; if you haven’t tried them you’re missing out. Twickenham Fine Ales can now be found not just in pubs in the local area and more widely across London, but you can also now buy it in bottles and direct from the brewery. Saturday’s anniversary party will see up to 10 Twickenham ales on offer, hot food, live music and the chance for a good old nose around the brewery. We say, Happy Anniversary guys. Tickets cost £10 and include 3 pints.
Secondly, and also on Saturday 13th, we draw your attention to the Wine and Food Festival which is being hosted by Last Try Wines at the Cabbage Patch pub on London Road. It runs from 1.00pm to 6.30pm and tickets cost £7 each (with offers on group purchases and for loyalty card holders). What to expect? Wine, wine tasting, learning about wine from suppliers, sampling interesting foods, wine, sampling interesting beers, more food. More wine.
And, as mentioned in the comments below, The Sussex Arms is hosting a Cider-Fest on Saturday. It runs from 1.00pm to 9.00pm with live music from 3.00pm. There will be a hog roast and, of course, a load of different ciders.
So there you have it, three dynamic local businesses putting on something a little bit different to bring better booze to the good burghers of Twickenham. Sounds alright, doesn’t it?
And in other news this week, Boris Johnson’s vision of a brand spanking new hub airport in the Thames Estuary got put out to pasture by the Airports Commission. Top commission bod, Sir Howard Davies seemed to think it was all a bit of an Eton Mess and decreed it “not the right answer” to the connectivity needs of London and the rest of the UK. In fact he expressed “serious doubts about the delivery and operation” of the plan. This means that we’re now down to a straight fight between Heathrow and Gatwick for handling extra capacity. Or are we, especially as Boris has said he doesn’t regard the estuary hub plan as finished yet. Err, yes we are. In other words, get ready for the approval of a third runway at Heathrow in the near future.
The Airports Commission is not going to issue its final report until after the 2015 election but you can expect the lobbying, arguments and counter-arguments to continue right up until then. And beyond.
And on that very subject, Heathrow Airport are running their own consultation at the moment. The purpose? To help shape Heathrow’s “proposals for property and noise compensation” if/when their third runway gets approved. They are even holding sessions in Richmond (Oct 8th) and Twickenham (Oct 9th). It’s your chance to tick a box on a form. Enjoy.
And so another school year begins. Same old, same old? Well, not quite. This September sees the arrival of sixth forms at local secondary schools. Did we say ‘arrival’, we actually meant return after a very long absence. It’s a move that has been welcomed by many residents although it’s not without its critics either, mainly over the cost. For the last 30 plus years, the provision of state sixth form education in Richmond boiled down to a choice of one establishment, Richmond College here in sunny ol’ Twickenham. Does a choice of one option really constitute a choice? We’re not sure. Either way, things have changed. Twickenham Academy took its first sixth form pupils in 2012 and now Waldegrave and Orleans Park follow suit. The Council’s new “post 16 partnership” comprises eight secondary schools in LBRuT, including Twickenham Academy, Waldegrave and Orleans Park, plus Richmond upon Thames College and even Richmond Adult Community College (yes, they do offer some courses for younger students). The range of options offered by this initiative is likely to have an impact on numbers signing up for A Levels at Richmond College and it also might prompt a reduction in the number of local kids defecting to Strode’s or Esher Colleges for their post-16 education.
All the necessary building work is not yet complete – perhaps that could become a case study for any ‘A’ Level Business Studies students out there – but September’s intake will be topping up their ink wells and breaking out fresh nibs regardless. Not all the schools are offering the same courses and there’s a document online to help prospective students navigate their way around the options for future admissions.
Meanwhile, plans for the new education campus on Richmond College’s Egerton Road site took a bit of a twist back in July when Haymarket Media announced that it would no longer be moving all of its operations from Teddington to the Twickenham site but would only be moving 20 around staff to support the new ‘tech hub’ on the campus. The company are said to be seeking a new base for their HQ elsewhere in the borough. The decision is a significant scaling back of the original plan but also serves to allay some local concerns about the scale of the whole development. According to an El Brute spokesman Haymarket’s decision would not affect the funding of the scheme nor its timetable. Work is due to begin in summer 2015.
Education, education, education. Have El Brute got this sixth form thing right? Marks out of ten, please?
It’s happening. The building work at Twickenham station has really begun. There are bits of scaffolding, a new bridge, assorted hoardings, men at work and the demolition of Puccino’s cafe and the toilets on platform 4. Despite the toilets being out of action we presume drunken men are still free to continue using the nearby stairway from London Road down to Mary’s Terrace as an alternative toilet facility.
So far the disruption to rails services has been relatively small although residents in the immediate vicinity might feel that they’ve had their share of noise already. The project covers a number of improvements in the run up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup although, as you know, the “big station build” is not now going to happen until some time after England Captain Chris Robshaw lifts the Web Ellis Cup at Twickenham Stadium next October. The work is being partly funded by a grant of £1.6m from Boris’s budget. Nice one. But as we’ve said before and we’ll say again, it’s always been a bit of a mystery as to why the overarching Solum Regeneration development plan was not able to stump up enough dosh to fund all the basic station improvements required. Funny dat.
Anywayyyy… the work includes new footbridges (one between the platforms and one over the whole line) and platform resurfacing. The impact? Well, before we’re ready to enjoy a whole new and improved ‘rail customer’ experience the station needs to be closed for several days. This is going to happen over assorted weekends and all lines through Twickenham will be closed all day. Expect disruption, cranes, scaffolding, more men in orange suits and plenty of noise during those periods.
The affected days/weekends are:
13th / 14th September
20th / 21st September
Sun 28th September
Sun 9th November (morning)
We’re not being pessimistic, just realistic, when we say to you, “Check travel websites the morning after the closures in case it all overruns”. If you want to find out more about the work (but not that elusive “big build”) then there’s a public meeting hosted by El Brute and Network Rail at the Brunel Room of the RFU on Wednesday 10th September between 7.30pm and 9.00pm.
During the closures there’ll be mucho mucho changes to timetables with buses replacing trains in the Twickenham area. And when it comes to getting that crucial replacement bus service, just make sure you’re better prepared for it than Messrs Jackson and Attenborough. Good Luck!
How are you getting on with them there road closures then? And what about that narrow cycle contraflow in Holly Rood too, eh? According to El Brute’s timetable, we’re about half way through the work to re-vamp the London Road / King Street / York Street junction. Despite it being holiday season there have been some pretty impressive tailbacks in the town centre recently but, let’s face it, it’s hard to re-build a road junction without disrupting traffic. Work is supposed to end on 25th August. Or rather, this current piece of work is due to end by the 25th. It’s a TWAP thing, and it’s because we’re worth it.
* El Brute press release