Tag Archives: Richmond Council

Gloriana in Twickenham: Where Are We Now?

For the second time in this saga it’s time to say goodbye to one Gloriana boathouse item and hello to a new one. You can still find our previous two items and their 600+ comments on the links below but we felt it was time to take stock of where this almighty rumpus has got to and launch a fresh article.

It really does appear that if Orleans Gardens is going to play host to Gloriana and her bargehouse then it’s not going to happen quietly. There are a lot of vocal locals out there expressing their disapproval. Some might call them nimbys (and that may be true in part) but it does feel like a very clear majority of the people who know and use the park are opposed to the plan. The question then is whether the views of those who don’t know it or don’t use it should be given priority? Should Twickenham locals have to “take one for the team”? And if so, who’s team is it?

Proposed site as seen from Ham

Proposed site as seen from Ham

So where are we now? Continue reading

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Gloriana in Twickenham: The Great Boat House Bust Up – UPDATED

Boathouse goes here.

Boathouse goes here.

This is now closed to comments. The latest item is here: http://wp.me/pVBg2-2Xe

Not wanting to be accused of spreading mis-information about El Brute’s plans to build a ‘permanent home’ for Gloriana at Orleans Gardens we thought we’d freeze the previous article. Why? Well, it’s mainly because the mahoosive number of comments (over 260!) was making it into a sprawling mess.  You can still read it and all the comments but we thought we’d begin afresh, fully revitalised so to speak, with a re-cap on some of the facts, a reminder that the ‘consultation’ has begun and rapid return to some idle speculation. We’ve even got all the links you could want below. Sorted!

And we’re even regularly adding NEW UPDATES at the end so keeping checking back for those.

Continue reading

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Filed under Council, Gloriana boathouse, Local Issues & News

More School Approvals Twick-side

Richmond College

Richmond College

It’s been a while since we talked schools on here. Too long perhaps. So let’s do it right now but let’s keep it brief… Two new primary schools have been approved for the area, both of which plan to open in September 2015. Teacher’s favourite, Michael Gove has given the nod for a Richmond Bridge Primary and a Twickenham Primary. OK, so perhaps he didn’t study the plans personally but they’ve been given the Gove-ahead (geddit?) by his Department for Education. Richmond Bridge will be operated by Bellevue Place Education Trust, Twickenham Primary by GEMS Learning Trust. When running at full capacity these two schools are expected to provide up to 840 primary school places for local children.

El Brute are delighted. There’s a great deal of pressure on school places locally, especially in East Twickenham and St Margarets – after all, who wouldn’t want to live around here – and the addition of four new forms per year group will help alleviate some of that pressure. Both projects now need to complete the tricky task of finding sites.

“Who are the people behind these schools?” you cry. GEMS Learning Trust forms part of GEMS Education which provides a range of education related services worldwide. It’s currently also opening new primary schools in Surbiton and Didcot. Bellevue runs a number of independent schools in the UK, two Swiss boarding schools (that sounds a bit posh, doesn’t it?) and, in September 2013, it opened its first school in the state sector, Rutherford House in Balham.

Meanwhile, El Brute’s grand vision for the redevelopment of Richmond College’s Egerton Road site into an education hub has taken another step forward. The proposal for a new free secondary school there of the non-denominational, non-selective, co-educational variety has also received His Goveship’s seal of approval. The plan would involve the site operating with three separate educational establishments – Richmond College (which would provide the sixth form), the new free school and the Clarendon special school which would move across from Hampton. This new ‘Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus’ is being developed as a partnership between the Council, Harlequins and Haymarket Media. The land would also provide a new base for Haymarket who are seeking to vacate their riverside offices in Teddington. The powers that be expect construction work to begin in late 2015 and the new secondary to open in September 2017. The school would provide five forms per year group.

LINKS:
* El Brute primary school
* GEMS Learning Trust
* Bellevue Education
* El Brute secondary school
* REEC

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The Twickenham Gloriana Experience (now with added poll, pictures & updates)

So busy has this item become that we’ve added an updates section. Click Here to go directly to it. And it’s also worth noting that the comments stretch back over two pages so look out for the ‘older comments’ button when you get to the end.
[Edit: this article has been superseded by a more up to date article here and another here.]

Previously, on twickerati…
Welcome to ‘Gloriana World’ at Twickenham! Don’t knock it, it could be coming soon to a river near you. The royal barge Gloriana ‘off of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee’ needs a home. The proposal coming from Lord True, sorry, we mean Richmond Council, is that a new, purpose-built boat house at Orleans Gardens could be just the ticket. And what’s more, we’re not just talking solely about a boat house, we’re talking about a visitors centre, new cafe and new play area too.

Gloriana at Twickenham in 2012

Gloriana at Twickenham in 2012

Here at twickerati HQ, we like to mix a bit of nimbyism with support for progress and change. It’s an odd mix. It sometimes works but it does also mean we get nervous when presented with grand solutions to problems that we didn’t know existed.

Continue reading

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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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Richmond Council: The Election Poll Predictor Item

York House Gardens

York House Gardens

The time is nigh. Residents of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames are about to vote. They’re about to have their say on who they want to represent them at York House. They’re about to express their democratic right to decide whose promises and plans they want implemented to make this part of south west London a better place for all. And yet, and yet, it’s still more than that. They’re about to hold their heads up and cry, “Yes! In this glorious borough, in this very Twickenham, in this green and pleasant corner of the greatest city on earth, I voted that person onto the local authority!”

We’ve got to say that apart from plenty of discussion in the comments on our mega-humongous “Twickenham Decides” thread, the campaigning from all sides has seemed, well, a bit half-hearted. And this applies in equal measure to the elections for our beloved would-be MEPs  – whoever they may be – as it does for our local councillors. A couple of leaflets, the occasional stand outside Santander and that’s been our lot. No posters up. No door knocking. No soap box demagoguery. Thank God for that!

But we’re not here to judge the campaign to control LBRuT or even to tell you who to vote for. With polling day imminent, we’re just after really simple predictions. Who will be the Brutes? Who is going to control York House come Friday morning?

And if you need a reminder, the current composition of the Council is:

  • Conservative   29
  • Liberal Democrats   24
  • UKIP (elected as a Conservative)   1
  • Labour   0
  • Other   0

Conservative majority = 4.

18 wards x 3 councillors each = 54 seats.

There, we’ve done the maths for you, now it’s your turn to predict (briefly) how it’s going to pan out.

LINKS:
* The twickerati ‘Twickenham Decides’ mega-commented election special

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New 20mph Zone in Twickenham

20mph on Heath Road (on both sides)

20mph sign

And we’re off! Or, maybe we aren’t ‘off’. Or, maybe that’s the wrong thing entirely. As usual, what do we know? Well, one thing we do know is that the signs to create a 20mph zone in Twickenham town centre are going up. Having a 20mph limit in the central area is a good idea although there will be those that argue that it’s generally not possible to get much above 20mph anyway. For them, 20mph may be an aspiration rather than a limitation. But along with the 20mph signs on the principal routes are the signs on the side roads to remind drivers that it’s back to a 30mph maximum once you leave the main drag.

The 20mph limit is part of the Twickenham Action Plan. Having the signs close to the centre may not simply slow traffic down, it can also serve as a reminder to drivers that there’s something to slow down for. Whether it has much impact on traffic flow or congestion remains to be seen, if you’re stuck in a queue on Heath Road, Richmond Road or Cross Deep then 20mph might feel like a dream. Either way, we reckon reducing speeds in the busy junction that is Twickenham town centre is a good thing.

What’s a bit more tricky is that once you’re off the main routes then you’re back to the usual 30mph limit. We understand the rationale, namely that if it’s no longer a 20mph zone then drivers need to know but the appearance of these signs seems a tad strange especially when the roads in question are smaller, residential side streets. Do we want drivers to put their foot down (even if it’s subconsciously) once they’ve made a turning into, for example, Queens Road or Grosvenor Road. Surely a 20mph limit throughout a central zone would be more appropriate? And it might even involve fewer signs.

El Brute are amenable to giving consideration to more 20mph zones in the borough but, as we reported previously, it was all a bit less straightforward than you might expect. But the Council have started to give more publicity to the 20mph option and, with the growing profile of 20mph campaigns nationally as well as locally, it might not be too long before LBRuT are rooting around for the Tippex and a black marker pen to change those new 30mph signs into 20s.

And in the meantime, we do have a teeny concern that some of the new signs might not be ‘optimally located’ when viewed against other street furniture and the verdant forested plains of central Twickenham. What do you think?

This seems clear enough!

20mph on Heath Road (on both sides)

20mph on Heath Road (on both sides)

As does this…

New 20mph signs... by crossing

New 20mph signs… by crossing

Ah, so there were traffic lights lurking behind it after all.

So there are lights behind it after all!

So there are lights behind it after all!

Normal service has been resumed… in this residential street

30mph for Queen's Road

30mph for Queen’s Road

And here’s one we hid earlier. It’s time to dig out the pruning shears.

LINKS:
* Previously on twickerati (Is 20 plenty?)
* EL Brute 20 mph page
* 20s Plenty campaign

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Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

Heatham House Improvements

Heatham House Youth Centre

Heatham House Youth Centre

Remember the great Heatham House debate of early 2012 when El Brute (aka LBRuT) asked ‘da kids’ to vote on the future of the centre? At the time the Council were hoping that the youth would opt to ditch HH in favour of a new purpose built, ‘state of the art’ centre which would (probably) have been on somewhere on the Twickenham sorting office site. Despite the Council consultation being worded in a way to strongly suggest that staying in that old building would not be the best option, the voting went in favour of staying put. Cue much discussion about the narrowness of victories, lobbying, etc but, as we know, the Council loves a good ol’ consultation and so it stuck with the majority view. There was even a ‘sour grapes’ press release to confirm that the youth centre would stay where it is.

Two years on and things look a little brighter. El Brute has just announced that it will spend £500,000 on Heatham House to improve facilities there, including tackling the Disability Discrimination Act compliance issues associated with the building. The Council’s website says that the work will include: redesigning the stage to create more floor space; proving a purpose built fitness suite; a new extension which will house an office, reception and social area; new showers and disabled toilet facilities; other equipment and soundproofing upgrades.

Heatham House remains a popular facility with young people in the area and now, with all this money being spent upgrading the building, it looks as if the boutique hotel suggested for the site will just have to wait a little longer.

LINKS:
* El Brute
* Heatham House

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New Sign Planned To Put Twickenham On The Map

Richmond Council will promote the Borough’s various ‘villages’ by using a Hollywood style sign on Richmond Hill. The aim is to increase awareness of the different parts of the borough by erecting 45 foot high letters spelling out the name of each village. Twickenham is first to go and the sign will stay in place for two months before being replaced by Teddington in June. Richmond itself is next in line for the treatment. Plans to follow that with East Sheen have been put back until 2015 as the Council grapple with the thorny problem of how best to represent the space between the words ‘East’ and ‘Sheen’. A consultation on this point will take place and will be followed by an online referendum and a substantial delay.

Of the plans, a Council spokesperson said, “The wonderful view from the top of Richmond Hill is very famous and, quite rightly, protected. This new scheme gives borough residents something to enjoy when looking back up at the Hill. Passengers taking off and landing at Heathrow airport will also be able to see this iconic new landmark and we hope it will encourage new visitors to our towns. At night the lettering will be picked out in green neon. It’s a win win arrangement for the Borough of Richmond”.

The consultation opens on 1st April with full details available on El Brute’s newly revamped website.

So, will this put Richmond on the map or is it just another gimmick? Have your say below.

Another proposal to put Twickenham on the map

Proposal to put Twickenham on the map

UPDATE: In a press release dated 11.59am on 01/04/14 Richmond Council announced that after a backlash from residents on Richmond Hill the plans have now been shelved.

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