Tag Archives: Richmond Council

TWAP Update: Twickenham Town Square Gets Closer

Water Lane site, Twickenham

Water Lane site, Twickenham

Twickenham hasn’t always made best use of its Thames-side location. It’s perfectly possible to pass through the town without realising that the main drag passes just 100 metres from the river. That looks set to change with the Council’s acquisition of the large site on the corner of Water Lane and King Street currently occupied by Santander, Superdrug and M&Co. It’s a TWAP* thing, of course. The plan is to redevelop the site to create a ‘town square’ at the top of Water Lane, provide better access to the river and the Diamond Jubilee Gardens (possibly including some kind of outdoor performance space), and create a mixed use development incorporating retail outlets and residential properties. Sounds good. What’s not to like?

Council supremo Lord True, aka the Blue Baron, said, “The separation of Twickenham Town from the historic riverside, that was so critical to the development of the area, has long been regretted by local people, and led to wide spread under appreciation of the quality of the unique place. By acquiring the properties, the Council is fulfilling a promise to enable the creation of a new heart and square for Twickenham that will unite town and river again”. Cue air punching and stirring music.
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Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

Gloriana Boathouse Plan Dropped

Gloriana at Twickenham in 2012

Gloriana at Twickenham in 2012

 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.
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Filed under Council, Gloriana boathouse, Local Issues & News

Roads Closed for TWAP Work

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.

Road closed, Twickenham

Road closed, Twickenham

* El Brute press release


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Pix of the Week, Twickenham Action Plan

Gloriana in Twickenham: Where Are We Now? (with UPDATES)

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.

And with less than a week of consultation time left, we’ve even added a few more RECENT UPDATES below.

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


Filed under Council, Gloriana boathouse, Local Issues & News

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.

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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.

* El Brute primary school
* GEMS Learning Trust
* Bellevue Education
* El Brute secondary school


Filed under Local Issues & News

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.

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Filed under Council, Gloriana boathouse, Local Issues & News

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?

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

[post updated to reflect final results]


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

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.

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


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News