If you thought that Twickenham’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations were over, you can think again. The big one has yet to come! Well, if not the biggest or most timely, then it’s certainly the most Twickenham-centric. 32 years after Twickenham Baths closed its doors to the public (and yes, locals insist it was called Twickenham Baths and not Twickenham Swimming Pool or Lido) the transition of a large chunk of the site from wasteland to spanking new green space is almost, nearly, just about ready. You already know that the fate of the site has been source of debate, argument and large amounts of inaction for years. The redevelopment plans favoured by the previous Lib Dem El Brute administration were controversial and, it’s probably fair to say, played a part in Serge Lourie & Co getting the heave ho from York House in the May 2010 election.
The new Brutes, led by Lord True, the Blue Baron, made a commitment to do something with the site and although the current plan might not be the most innovative and exciting in terms of maximising the regeneration opportunities for the whole riverside, it’s a damn sight better than more years of bickering and inactivity. Credit is also due to Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group and others for helping to move it forward.
Friday 1st June and Twickenham Festival gets underway with a Tug of War competition in front of The Barmy Arms on Twickenham Embankment. Actually let’s get things straight, this is not just any Twickenham Festival, this is the 2012 Twickenham Riverside Jubilee Festival. A bit too long for you? Well if you like to tweet we’ll also going hashtag crazy and calling it #twickfest. We’ll be adding comments & photos over the fortnight. Why not add yours? Well?!
UPDATE: Our main (i.e. bigger) gallery of Twickfest pictures is now here.
This sign was ‘rescued’ from the derelict Twickenham Swimming Baths site in the mid-80s. Nice one. Good to see people thinking ahead. You can’t imagine the health and safety police letting anyone get away with script like that these days. Next stop? A gothic script “No running, no bombing, no petting” sign.
Twickenham Pool Sign
Thanks a lot to Nina for this photo. You might also want to read Kate Monro’s piece for twickerati on her Memories of Twickenham Baths.
So, do you have any other Twickenham memorabilia you’d like to share on here?
El Brute’s TWickenham Area Action Plan (aka TWAP, aaka TAAP) is doing the rounds of consultation at the moment. You might think that you’ve already done your bit for the cause by contributing to LBRuT’s All-in-One, its Barefoot Consultation and the Naked Thinkathon. Okay, so that last one was not an actual event but it could yet be. We’ll let you decide what that nightmare scenario might actually involve and which Councillors might chair it.
Twickenham Town Centre
Meanwhile, if you want to see the real proposals for the next steps in the regeneration of Twickenham then you’ve got just a couple of weeks left
to have any input. Try not to let consultation fatigue get the better of you. It’s your town too!
The new Twickenham Travelodge is open for business and now armed with a 24-hour-party-people booze licence. And it’s great to see that it’s a handy stopping point for cyclists who can make use of its state of the art bike park facilities. Perhaps Travelodge might want to use this “warm welcome” photo in their publicity shots? In return for a modest fee of course. Lookin’ gooood.
Travelodge offers a warm welcome to cyclists
Our arts reporter snapped this one. Good innit? A bright, frosty January morning by the Thames at Twickenham. Over the water is Richmond Hill. That’s a proper bit of winter for you. Aye!
A whole lot of December going on in the late afternoon on the embankment at Twickenham.
The diving board
The redevelopment of the Twickenham pool site continues to move forward, increment by increment. Yes folks, we might get to see the rest of the derelict site open to public access by next summer. Could this be the secret garden part deux? Let’s hope so. It all forms part of El Brute’s TWAP, or as we should call it (but won’t), Richmond Council’s Twickenham Area Action Plan. So then, the TWAP? Where we at with that? As you know the whole thing has come about from the various All-in-Ones and consultations run by El Brute, together with a bit of input from the mysterious Twickenham Panel. We’ve covered the plan before and so we’re not going over it again, but the gist of it is that Twickenham can become an even better place to live and work with a healthy dose of regeneration around the riverside, the station area and King Street. What’s not to like? It’s bloody true, it is. Whether this can actually all come together given the fragile state of the economy is a different matter entirely but it’s good to have a long term vision for the town.
So what’s happening now then? Well, the next iteration of the TWAP will be available for public scrutiny sometime in December. We look forward to seeing it. Perhaps El Brute could do a little TWAP advent calendar featuring a site in need of redevelopment behind each window. We can but dream. But there’s no need to dream about the pool because there is action underway to open up the rest of the site in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June 2012. Or as we’d prefer to think, in time for the London Olympics. At this stage it will just be more open space a la “secret garden” but there will be a second phase which looks at the longer term use. It’s good news that progress is being made on this site at last, perhaps we could even try to get HRH down to cut the ribbon when the time comes next summer. It’s got to be worth a shot.
Richmond Council Press Release
P.S. In case you missed it in the summer, you can read Kate Monro’s piece for twickerati on her memories of Twickenham baths right here. It’s definitely worth a read coz she’s like a proper writer an’ everything.
For those who’ve been waiting avidly for the next step in the regeneration of Twickenham, the Twickenham Action Plan (TWAP) is on the agenda for this Thursday’s Council cabinet meeting. 7.30pm, at York House to be precise. (That snuck out quietly, didn’t it?)
After all the consultations, discussions, All in Ones, etc, El Brute has come up with 10 pages of officer’s report on the options, consultations and the way forward, and a walloping 96-page report on the full monty consultation. (What do you not want on the sorting office site? You mean you really want to KEEP Heatham House? Twickenham Riverside – let’s all just take a deeeep breath. Sell off the police station?? A compulsory purchase order on the Santander block? Who’s paying for that then? etc).
Despite all the consultations, the sessions, the glossy brochures and a hefty price tag (see page 9 of the officer’s report), the response to the plan was not exactly huge. 344 replies to be precise. Among those giving feedback is the Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group which has expressed its views, including the reaction of the company that owns much of the south side of King Street.
Nonetheless, there is a need for a plan for Twickenham, and this is a start. We’re promised further consultation later on this year. But as we’ve said previously, the talk and consultations are great but it’s the consensus and the actual development that’s the hard part. So, once again, as always, when it comes to the regeneration of Twickenham, it’s a case of watch this space.
* Council Cabinet Agenda
* The report for approval
* The 96 page consultation report
* Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group
* Twickenham Area Action Plan previously on twickerati