Council Publishes Twickenham Riverside Feedback

Last week El Brute published the feedback from its most recent exercise to listen to residents’ views on its ideas for Twickenham Riverside.  After getting roundly lambasted, damned, slated and panned after their initial publication, Richmond Council had another go at doing some listening to the locals (by which we mean trying to find support for continuing with their preferred course of action).

Water Lane car park - Twickenham riverside

Water Lane car park – Twickenham riverside


What do we know so far?  The Council’s chosen firm of architects was Q&F  Terry. Now that young Francis has separated  from his father’s firm, the Council’s preferred architect is Master F Terry. Same but different? Dunno.  What we do know is that just about everybody in Twickenham wants to see better use of the riverside site and that very few liked the original Terry design proposals – ill-suited architecture, too much residential development, large scale, no clear town square, too much parking by the river (or perhaps not enough depending on your point of view and where you live) were just some of the complaints. Cue more Council ‘listening’ but not much sign of any intention to go back to the drawing board for a wider ‘taking stock’.
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Filed under Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

Heathrow Expansion Will (May) Go Ahead. (Or May Not)

[Update: 25 October. As expected the Government has just voted in favour of a third runway at Heathrow]


It now looks as if it’s definitely going to happen. Or it may not. After years of dithering a decision in favour of expanding Heathrow will (i.e. could) be made by the end of October. Note the ‘coulds’ and ‘mays’, or maybe that’s Mays. In short, no one really wants to be the PM who gives clear and irreversible support for expanding the UK’s busiest airport. David Cameron made a clear decision to have a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. And what did that get him? A chance to practise his after dinner speeches, annotate his Number 10 diaries and weigh up offers of lucrative consultancy work, we’d imagine. OK, so a third runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick isn’t exactly Brexit but it’s certainly highly divisive. A bit like HS2 with wings.

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

With so many local residents, local MPs and local Councils opposed to more planes filling the skies over west London, it’s not surprising that a decision keeps being fudged. All this goes on to the great annoyance of Heathrow who have said they’re ready to rock and roll with the construction work – they have the funds to do it from assorted sovereign wealth funds, pension schemes and elsewhere (all of whom no doubt have your very best interests at heart). It probably does make business sense to expand Heathrow but the purely commercial angle is just one aspect of such an important decision. There are the social, environmental and political angles too. Given these complexities, some question whether a third runway at Heathrow can ever actually be delivered.

The government decision in favour of Heathrow will still only mark the beginning of a new stage in the whole process. There’s a further public consultation planned, a Commons vote (complete with rebellious Tory MPs such as Zac Goldsmith, our very own Tania Mathias and the ever-pragmatic Boris Johnson), a planning process and, no doubt, assorted risks of legal challenges. Four years is likely to be the soonest that any construction could begin however, if the experience of the last few decades is anything to go by, in four years’ time we might see the government of the day establishing yet another new commission to look into airport expansion.

Plane landing at Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

* BBC News – latest
* Teddington Action Group – local opposition group
* Richmond Council – opposed to Heathrow expansion
* Back Heathrow – pro 3rd runway


Filed under Heathrow, Local Issues & News

Public Meeting Planned Over El Brute’s Romano-Regency Riverside Plan

To paraphrase former plucky-Brit-cum-war-boss Winston Churchill, we cannot forecast the actions of Richmond Council when it comes to Twickenham Riverside. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. Wise words Winston! But what is that key? Is the key to understanding it the Council’s desire to just get something built and move on so that they can say, “At least we did something?”. Is it about building a fancy-dan lasting legacy to something or other? Or is it to provide ‘new heart for Twickenham’ as their most recent consultation push suggested? Dunno.

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of design from LBRuT website

But what we do know is that the original regency themed design concept complete with colonnade and amphitheatre proved unpopular with a significant majority. Yes, there will always be naysayers, nimbys, blockers and haters but the lack of public support for a redevelopment that is desperately needed was quite telling. Telling too was the Council’s second big consultation on the subject which took place over the summer and which barely mentioned the original scheme despite a clear intention to stick with the same principles and the same architects.

Public meeting about Twickenham Riverside

Public meeting about Twickenham Riverside

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

Pic of the Week: Cash Machine Carnage

Top tip: If you forget your PIN there’s no need to lose your rag and take it out on the machine.  At around 2.30am on Saturday morning a loud bang rang out along Heath Road in Twickenham. Was it an explosion of some kind? It certainly sounded like one. The result? One mangled cash machine… devoid of cash.   The ex-stand-alone cash machine is located on the corner of Heath Road and Heath Gardens, opposite Tesco Express. By the morning, the scene was taped off and police officers were busy looking for evidence in the debris strewn across the pavement and talking to locals who may have seen something.

The incident is similar to one on the morning of August 10th when thieves used propane to blow open a cash machine at an Esso petrol station on Hounslow Road in Hanworth. And there are more examples around of this type of cash machine robbery. Propane, petrol, sensible stuff.

If you have any information that might be of interest to the boys in blue, we’re sure they’d love to hear from you.


Well out of order

Well out of order

Looking for clues...

Looking for clues…

The former cash machine

The former cash machine


Filed under Local Issues & News, Pix of the Week, Random Stuff

Twickenham High Street Update: Summer 2016

The dog days of summer. A burning yellow sun pounds Twickenham with its unrelenting heat, turning green to brown, turning pavements soft underfoot and turning minds to the great question of whether any new cafes or charity shops have opened recently. OK, so our summer hasn’t been quite like that but we will attempt to shed some rays of twickerati style sunlight onto the matter of changes on our high street.

Remember Iso Sushi? Perhaps you blinked and missed it. Actually that’s a little harsh as it lasted for about two years. Still not got it? It was a sushi bar on York Street that opened at around the same time of Ke Sushi on London Road, long before the 2015 BBQ rib invasion. Anyway Iso Sushi has now gone and in its place we have Umi, a new Japanese restaurant. Could do well? Maybe. But didn’t there used to be a Japanese place a bit further up York Street? Either way, that was then and this is now so good luck to Umi.

Umi. Japanese on York Street Twickenham

Umi. Japanese on York Street Twickenham

Kerla Melon, the south Indian place on Heath Road has closed and been replaced by Kochi, a new restaurant offering… South Indian Dining. Word is that the chef, or chefs, used to work at Pallavi which was one establishment that did actually have a decent run in Twickenham. One to try? Why the devil not? And if you don’t fancy that there’s always Little Mumbai, the almost-as-new Indian a few doors down. We’re not sure if any other restaurants are about to be replaced by similar restaurants but we’ll sure as hell let you know if we find out.
Oh, and as pointed out in the comments below,  Taste of Mogul on York Street is looking a tad closed at the moment. 

Kochi, South Indian Dining

Kochi, South Indian Dining

We heard that the Mulberry Tree pub will be ending its short-lived tenure on Richmond Road and is to become some kind of French bistro. If so we wish it well, especially as that space has proved tricky at sustaining businesses over the years. To those who say, “Bring back the Mongolian Barbecue” we simply say, ‘move with the times’.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the My Local, formerly Morrison’s M-Local has closed down. It was part of a national chain so whether it was a Twickenham thing or a ‘rest of the UK’ thing we just don’t know but please don’t suggest bringing back Blockbuster! 

If you’re one of the people beginning to panic about the Great Twickenham Coffee Drought we bring you news that help is on the way in the form of a new Costa Coffee. It’s on London Road where the Mailboxes / Princess Alice Hospice Charity shops used to be. Sort of opposite Cafe Nero, The Press Room and the new Caffe di Roma. You get the idea don’t you? In other words, stop fretting, you are not going to run out of bloody coffee!

Costa Coffee, London Road, Twickenham

Costa Coffee, London Road, Twickenham

And as for Princess Alice, well she’s moved around the corner into Heath Road to the place where Spirited Wines was before it closed for what we now call a “Twickenham Refurb”.

Moved: Princess Alice Hospice Shop

Moved: Princess Alice Hospice Shop

And talking of the “Twickenham Refurb”, with High Road Auctions now shut after its own ‘refurb’ we put the question to you,”What should happen to this space now?” No doubt some developers might be thinking that turning it into flats would be a nice little earner and it’s true that we don’t really need more retail. So what then? We asked the question on Twitter and the idea of a Citizens Advice Bureau was put forward… by Richmond CAB. Very droll. How about a food hall? Or a cycle shop and cafe for all those mamils clogging up our streets? Or a yoof focused emporium with concessions selling clothes and vinyl (yes, it’s back you know). Or a mini food-court? Or even the long awaited cheese shop? Would any of them ever work or are they all destined to fail? It’s a tough gig but someone out there must know the answer. Maybe that person is you? Or should we be focused on getting King Street fully occupied first, and here we’re thinking the old Laverstoke shop, for example which, as you will recall, was a coffee shop for a little while not so very long ago. And so it goes.



Filed under High Street Updates, Local Issues & News

Twickenham Riverside Development: Will LBRuT Listen?

REVISED: This item is an updated and re-vamped version of the one published on 12th July.

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Folks, for months we had been expecting the big reveal, the grand unveiling, or, if you will, the presentation to end all presentations! We are of course talking about the revised plans for the Twickenham Riverside development. Remember that old thing? How could you not? It’s big. Well, after trailing the pop-up shop to review the revised designs, we’re now told we’ll have a wait a while yet as more consultation is required. Apparently.

As you full well know, and do not pretend that you don’t, when El Brute presented their regency inspired ‘design concept’ for the site last year it was met with views that ranged from mild disappointment all the way to downright anger. OK, so there was indifference too and even a small smattering of delight but for the most part the ideas presented fell quite a way short of what most residents were hoping for. Be honest, have you actually met anyone who really liked the design? The much discussed town square seemed to be missing, the opening up of the King Street shops to the river via Water Lane hadn’t happened and the prospect of a regency inspired amphitheatre with up to 40 flats on top didn’t really compute with the brief of making best use of this prime riverside location. The colonnade of shops didn’t go down well either, although the creation of garden space in front of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens was generally popular… except with people who currently park their cars there.  So far, so meh! For others, the fact that the plans were not a new lido also presented a major obstacle.

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of design from LBRuT website

El Brute sought feedback and the result was a resounding ‘no thanks’ from the hundreds who took the time to reply. Of the 754 consultation responses received just 93 said the plans met the needs of the local community. Ouch! A local Riverside Action Group was formed to try to persuade Richmond Council to re-think the whole process but the Council pressed on, telling you lot that it would listen to your views and make amendments to the designs that had been created by its chosen architects, Q&F Terry (esteemed “designers of new classical buildings”) who had won El Brute’s ‘competition’. Continue reading


Filed under Council, Twickenham Action Plan

Pic of the Week

The River Thames was unruffled by the result of last Thursday’s referendum. It was good to see someone, or rather something, keeping calm early on Friday morning as the result became clear. 


Filed under Pix of the Week, Random Stuff

Richmond and Twickenham Say Remain While UK Brexits

ice-cream-van-twickenham-twickerati And in other news… After months of campaigning, claiming, counter-claiming and downright confusing-ing, the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. In a tumultuous referendum, the country has decided to roll back over 40 years of Project Europe and try to re-assert its political independence. Nationally it was a close call, with 52% voting to leave and 48% to remain but here in London’s premier borough the result was more clear cut with 31% opting for out and 69% to stay in.  El Brute announced the Borough’s results in the early hours of the morning but even before then the direction of travel was clear.

Local MP Tania Mathias described herself as ‘Euro cautious’ but voted Remain. Meanwhile over the river Zac Goldsmith voted Leave. Uncertainty across the country and internationally about the impact of Brexit will also see yet another airing of questions of local importance such as a third runway at Heathrow. Is it more or less likely now? And what about the impact on jobs, inflation and house prices?

So, as you digest your Full English Brexfast this morning you can ponder on why Twickenham and Richmond bucked the national trend and whether, like Scotland, calls will grow for an independence referendum in the Borough to allow it to secure its very own membership of the EU.  After all, if Luxembourg can get a seat at the top table, why not Richmond? After all, they’re both duchies of a sort.

Oh, and here’s the LBRuT announcement.



Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

It’s Twickfest Time Again – Twickenham Festival 2016

Live Music, Twickenham

Live Music, in Twickenham, in the past

It’s June and Twickenham Festival is back! Long gone are the days when we’d do comprehensive listings of every fair, fete, and effing alliterative fun day on this site. It’s just too time consuming and your subscription fees just don’t cover it anymore. But, because you’re nice and we wouldn’t want you to miss out, we’ve dropped a few pointers to selected highlights below.

The ‘official’ start of #Twickfest is Friday 10th June with the traditional tug of war competition. It begins outside the Eel Pie pub at 6pm. Expecting lots of heaving, grunting, groaning, sweaty faces and blistered hands. If that conjures a rather troubling image then fear not, it’s actually an entertaining event.

If you’re after something a little more culturally highbrow then that same weekend sees the Conchord Festival of chamber music take place at St Mary’s Church. Not too far away, All Hallows Church is also running its own music festival across the weekend. Continue reading


Filed under Local Issues & News, What's on