Solum Regeneration’s plans for Twickenham station were approved by Richmond Council’s Planning Committee last night. At a long and sometimes stormy meeting at York House the cases for and against were presented. Despite the ruling Tory Council having recently adopted an SPD planning framework for the area which wanted a maximum of five stories at the station, the Committee decided to vote through the plans anyway. So that shiny new SPD is clearly a complete waste of time.
The ruling marks three wins in a row for Solum in their development projects. First Epsom, then Walthamstow and now Twickenham. They must be delighted. Presumably they’ll be keen to get to work asap on their modern / Georgian pastiche if it’s to be ready for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Residents action group TRAG have said they will seek a judicial review of the decision but it’s hard to see how anyone would overturn it now given that it’s now got the full El Brute seal of approval.
Find more details on the Richmond & Twickenham Times site.
Solum Regeneration’s plans for developing the Twickenham station site go before a special edition of El Brute’s planning committee on Monday 19th December. You can drop by if you want. Could it result in an early Christmas present for the developers who want to build up the site with 115 flats (no parking, no affordable housing), retail space and, because we’ve been good girls and boys this year, squeeze in a new station building too? Ho ho ho.
Twickenham Station commuters
It’s an issue that’s been rumbling for a long, long time and despite valiant opposition from the resistance fighters of TRAG this could mark the point at which the Solum runaway train becomes unstoppable. Whoa! It’s true that the fat lady is warming up her vocal cords but she hasn’t actually started singing yet. There are a few more hoops to go through, conditions to be met and no doubt plenty of experts looking for loopholes and challenges. It’s going to be an interesting debate, especially hearing how the planners’ recommendation for permission to be granted stacks up against the Council’s own planning SPD framework for the area which advocated a maximum of 4 or 5 storeys on the station site. Spoilum’s plans more or less double that. So, although it might not yet be all over, approval on Monday will mark another milestone along the road of developers getting their way in the face of opposition from vocal locals. And remember folks, everyone wants to see Twickenham station improved, it’s all about the how.
Hey. Why so sad? Presumably you’re looking for the previous, very long running High Street Update and can’t find it? Worry not, Twickenham. Dry your eyes and look at the categories index on the right. You’ll be able to find previous versions there by clicking on “On the High Street”. Right then. Jog on. Where were we? Ah yes, it’s over a month since we last gave a round up of new shops and businesses on the High Street. The very shame of it. But we’ll press on regardless with an update here.
The Rugby Inn
In the land of Pubbington-Upon-Booze, what was The Grand Union on London Road is being converted into The Rugby Inn
. Surely some mistake here. This is suburban London not some small midlands town. Oh, yes. We get it now. Rugby. The sport! Because of course there really is nothing to Twickenham apart from rugby is there? It’s not open yet and it’s fresh layer of paint is not looking as sharp as it might on our dark autumn photo so we’ll have to assume it’ll be nicer inside. We’re not sure if the Grand Union chain have sold the pub or if it’s just a rebrand. Perhaps some of the late night problems
experienced by the GU had something to do with it. Here’s hoping for a better pub this time around.
We recently trailed the meeting about a Plan B for Twickenham station on here. There was a good turn out from the local community. The proposed alternatives were put to the audience and Scott “Hard As” Naylor took the opportunity to stick the boot into Solum’s current offering. Solum and Network Rail failed to show despite being invited and this gave a touch of preaching to the converted about the occasion. But fair play and respect to TRAG, rather than just complaining about the Solum’s plans, they’ve actually worked up alternative options.
Two schemes were presented, B1 and, wait for it… B2. As you’d expect from TRAG they’re both very low rise and focus on the station itself rather than maximising the property development opportunities on the site a la Solum. But as first cuts, they’re interesting and worth a look and in particular, B2 has an interesting blend of modern and 1930s about it. As to economic viability, B2 does include an option for flats to help fund the scheme, but detailed costings remain something for further investigation. Hang on a minute! Perhaps the RFU would like to contribute? And after England’s mediocre performance in the recent Rugby World Cup, a move away from sport and into propery development might be an option well worth considering?
You can see the plans here:
And there’s even video footage:
YouTube video of Plan B2
And while you’re on YouTube, you can see the other TRAG videos from the meeting showing the presentations in more detail. Meanwhile. Solum’s current case rumbles through planning.
* Previously on twickerati
* TRAG News page
* LBRuT planning page. You’ll need to be quick if you still want to comment!
* Solum Regeneration
We told you the station debate was getting up steam didn’t we? But did you listen? Did you chuff. So in case you missed it, it updated you on where the station debate had got to and why you still need to comment on Solum’s current plans. We said that just like with the Con-Dem coalition government there was no clear Plan B, but in reality there’s always some kind of Plan B on a drawing board somewhere. Well, now’s your chance to see a real Plan B for Twickenham station.
On Tuesday 18th October the Twickenham Residents Action Group, aka TRAG, are putting on an event at which an alternative set of options for developing the station will be presented to the public. The proposals will offer a lower rise alternative with a strong focus on ensuring the new station meets the needs of residents, visitors and rugby fans. They’re hoping for a decent showing to demonstrate that the Solum way is not the only way.
7.30pm – 9.30pm
Tue 18th October
Clarendon Hall, York House
* TRAG News page
* Previous twickerati item on the plans
* LBRuT planning page. You’ll need to be quick if you still want to comment!
* Solum Regeneration
Platforms at Twickenham station
It’s been weeks if not months since we covered the saga of the redevelopment of Twickenham station on here. In short, we’ve let you have your summer without irritating you with endless station shenanigans. Well, time’s up. Summer’s over and the autumn campaigning season is underway. All the players are still there so let’s ave a quick recap on who’s who:
* Solum – evil developer, lovechild of poor ol’ Network Rail and the not much known Kier Properties. Or, depending on your point of view, the saviour of Twickenham.
* El Brute – Richmond’s Tory council which seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place by wanting regeneration but not, it seems, with one of the few offers on the table. A council with more consultations going on than your local GP.
* Lord True – Council leader, champion of the redevelopment of Twickenham and all round Duke of York House. Not the same bloke as Ralph from The Fast Show.
* TRAG – Twickenham Residents Action Group which, depending on your point of view, comprises NIMBYs blocking any kind of progress or a group of committed locals wanting sensible controlled development of their town.
* RFU – Governing body of those with oval balls. Currently getting nervous about the prospect of fans arriving in Twickenham for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and being confronted by a giant building site.
* St Vincent de Cabal – the white knight of this tale, perhaps. Could he be the man to knock heads together to get things moving?
* Stephen Knight – another Lib Dem. The yellow knight? Leader of the oppostion at York House and the man who has called for all new flats at the station to be affordable housing. And, err, probably some other things too.
So, where are we then?
Hotel building work at "Fort Regal"
You can’t have failed to notice the rise and rise of Fort Regal over the last few months. Better known as the new Twickenham Travelodge, this building will not only provide a handy extension to the much loved Regal House but also provide low cost hotel accommodation to the hordes of visitors to our fair town.
Twickenham does need affordable hotel space, especially on rugby days, and if the new hotel brings customers to nearby shops, pubs and restaurants then that’s a good thing. It’s just a shame that this new block is quite so high. But that decision is all in the past now. We move on. We move on, but we also remember to thank the suits down at the Planning Inspectorate in Brizzle for their kindness. Twas they who overturned the decision of the Council’s planning committee. Thanks guys.
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?
While we wait for the Solum’s revised plans for Twickenham Station to get fully validated and open for comments on El Brute’s planning pages, the Richmond Informer (doing what its names suggests) informs us that the Twickenham Advisory Panel will be hosting a public meeting to give an airing to the whole station business. It’s perhaps the first time that we’ve seen the TWickenham Advisory Panel in action. Fair play to the TwAPs, we look forward to seeing what they can do.
They’ve even persuaded someone from Solum Regeneration to come along and explain it all. Perhaps it will be Nigel Carr who attended the Future of Twickenham Conference back in October and seemed to imply (though we could be mistaken, of course) that the people of Twickenham were opposed to modern developments. OK, so there are some people out there who’d love a mock-Victorian station block but most peeps just want a well designed, modern development that’s not ten (now nine) storeys high and will cater for the town and rugby fans for the next few decades. Perhaps Solum will surprise us. They could throw us a curve ball and flip around their revised plans to turn their River Crane-side Georgian terrace into the actual station building itself. Do this and Twickenham would become famous not only as the home of rugby but as the birthplace of railway industry too. Choo choo. There’s logic in there somewhere.
The meeting is at Richmond College on Thursday 14th July. If you want to attend then the Panellistas are asking for expressions of interest by phone or email. Likewise, questions are to be emailed in advance. The Informer has more details.
Meanwhile Solum’s plans for the podium on which part of the development will be built, have gone through another iteration. Revised drawings have been received by the Council. These are supposed to give a better picture of what the thing will actually look like when it’s built, including its proximity to the new hotel, Fort Regal, that is going up next door. If you commented previously you can comment on the revisions by 7 July.
* Richmond Informer Story is here.
* Why not follow the Informer’s local journo on Twitter here.
* Our last piece on the station is here. Or just click on “station development” category.
* Podium plan is here.
Solum Regeneration have submitted a revised planning application for Twickenham station. They are listening to the concerns of residents and the Council, apparently. They’ve even reduced the number of housing units from 165 to 115. So far, so good. The revised plan makes each of the three main blocks one floor lower. This will mean the highest block (in Solum’s world ) is seven storeys tall. Now, they say seven but once you add on the height of the podium on which it’s built it’s actually about nine storeys as we’d understand them.