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.
Tag Archives: riverside
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!
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.
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.
For many locals Twickenham swimming pool just means a derelict scrap of land, boarded off, overgrown and the subject of endless speculation about its future. It’s been a blot on the Twickenham landscape for years as plans to redevelop the site have faltered time and again. Yes, some parts have now be opened up as public space but there’s still a long way to go before the whole site does justice to its riverside location. Against that background it’s easy to forget that Twickenham Baths used to be a real working swimming pool where real people would go to enjoy themselves on a sunny afternoon.
Writer Kate Monro grew up in Twickenham. Here she shares her recollections of Twickenham Baths and of good times spent there. Feel free to add comments with your own memories on our Memories Page
Question: Would you like to see Twickenham town centre thriving with a good range of shops, an array of cafes and restaurants, new buildings which feature a balance of business and residential use, and a Riverside public space which is the envy of south west London? Answer: No thanks. Not bothered.
Surprised by that response? Don’t be. It’s not true. What’s not to like about that vision of Twickenham? OK, so the question wasn’t actually taken from the consultation on the Twickenham Area Action Plan but it does sound a teeny bit like one of them. So, assuming the answer to the original question is a “yes”, how do we get hold of this brave new Twickenham?
A lot us get our views of Eel Pie Island from the Twickenham bank but it’s always worth wander around the island if you get the opportunity. In addition to the working boatyard there are the artists studios dotted around the old boatyard and all sorts of stuff just lying around. (It must be hell on earth for visiting health & safety types). Our Pix page has a few photos of some of the odd bits & pieces over there. We’re not sure that all of it counts as art but we kind of like it nevertheless. Have a look here.
The Richmond and Twickenham Times is reporting that the future of the Twickenham pool site is up for grabs at Richmond Council’s planning committee tonight. Yes tonight! That’s February 3rd to you. That sneaked up on the inside didn’t it? The fate of the site has featured as a hot topic for years and most recently in the Barefoot Consultation, the conference on the future of Twickenham and in feedback on the All-in-One surveys. This issue is clearly one that needs very careful consideration. Lots and lots of careful consideration and consultation. And then a bit more consideration. Scrap that last bit, and hey presto it’s on the agenda for the LBRuT planning committee with a recommendation to approve the plans. Sure, this plan (as well as others) has been knocking around for a long time and no doubt those close to the planning committee and the redevelopment plans themselves were well aware but given all the endless deliberating and arguing this seems to have tiptoed quietly into the committee chamber.
The plans, championed by the Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group, are to open the space up to public use with hard and soft landscaping (i.e. concrete, grass and plants). One minute it’s a ‘secret garden’ opening next to the café and the next it’s plans for a scent garden. To be honest, with finances tight and the property market looking shaky it’s probably a sensible approach to get the site cleared and opened up for public use. The plans even say that the scheme should not prejudice future development on the site. But who’s paying for the work and who will be charged with running the place? We couldn’t see too much detail on that in the plans but that doesn’t mean it’s not around somewhere. The planning documents say “The management of the site would be undertaken by a Trust and work to set this up is currently being undertaken. The trust would work in conjunction with the Council to ensure issues such as security and health and safety were adequately dealt with.” Fine and dandy. We look forward to hearing more about the trust, what powers it will have on behalf of the people of Twickenham, who is on it and what, if any, interests they have? Is this the Big Sociey in action? Let’s hope it’s nice and transparent.
Anywayyyy… that’s just a long winded way of saying that True’s latest thingy in the community has been to open up another slice of the Twickenham Riverside to public use. That’s a bit more land for the twickerati to enjoy and a bit less fenced-off derelict site for them to fume about.Although billed on the Council’s Twitter feed as the opening of a ‘secret garden’, quite a few people managed to find their way there for the unveiling. You can see it on LBRuT’s Facebook page here. (Yes they really do have one). Those expecting to find a secret swimming pool on the site of what once was a real swimming pool were disappointed. In his speech Lord True confides that the garden has no name. Howse about the Garden of True-th? Not bad. A definite maybe. But sources say that the new piece of green space has a kind of Blue Peter Garden feel about it, just without either tortoises or Percy Throwers rampaging around it. Nowt wrong with that and so we’ll declare that Twickenham now has its very own True Peter Garden. It’s another small but welcome step on the long road to opening up the old pool site to the people of Twickenham. Whether this takes us much closer to the grander visions of piazzas, ampitheatres, boutique shops and illuminated, synchronised fountains is an another matter entirely, but for now, it’s progress.
VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: For those who want to see the grand opening in real life video, you can do that HERE. Shot by the intrepid monkeybanjo, could this be the first tentative steps towards twickerati tv? Jeremy Hunt would be so, so proud.