Police Seek Information After Twickenham Assault

Police are seeking information after a 15-year old girl was reportedly sexually assaulted in Marble Hill Gardens near Orleans Park School. The Richmond & Twickenham Times reports that incident took place on the morning of Monday 17th July at around 10.10am. The girl had been followed by a man on her route to school, who then grabbed her and assaulted her. A member of the public intervened and the man ran off. He is described as white, around 50 years old, 5ft 10, and wearing a beige jacket and brown trousers. The girl was not injured in the incident. No arrests have yet been made and police inquiries continue. Schools advised their pupils to be extra vigilant. Anyone with any information should contact the police.

LINKS:
* Richmond & Twickenham Times
* Contact Police: Call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 / http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Cable Takes Lead

Vince Cable

Twickenham’s MP Sir Vince Cable has become leader of the Liberal Democrats after no other candidates stood against him. He has previously served as deputy leader of the party and in the cabinet of the Conservative Lib Dem coalition from 2010 t0 2015. Having first become Twickenham’s MP in 1997, Cable was deposed by Conservative Tania Mathias in the 2015 General Election only to regain his old seat in June of this year. The 74 year old takes over from Tim Farron who stood down after the election. Cable is a vocal Europhile and has said he feared the UK was ‘heading for a disastrous outcome’ over leaving the EU and said he felt there should be an ‘exit from Brexit’.

But what does all this mean for little old Twickenham you cry? etc etc. Probably not a huge amount – less time for constituency matter perhaps – but we wish him well with the new gig. Someone’s got to do it, we suppose.

LINK:
* BBC News

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Pic of the Week

“It’s fun to ride to the YMCA, it’s fun to ride to the YMCA”
We think we just found a missing Village Person at the Giant Bike store on Heath Road.

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Twickenham Riverside Park… not Car Park?

El Brute’s “New Heart for Twickenham” project continues to generate plenty of debate. Not all of it supportive. The designs, the “up to 40” flats, the changes in the scheme, the sheer scale of it, the choice of architect, the disappearing town square (where did it go?). We could go on. We often do. But since our last item on the Great Twickenham Riverside Debate the question of car parking has perhaps been the one that has generated the most agitation. Just bloody well check the hashtag #twickenhamriverside on Twitter if you don’t believe us!  See! It’s a veritable ‘park not car park’ thing.  The deadline for comments on the latest designs is midnight on 11th July. If you’ve not yet had your say, do it now!

 

 

More cars please we’re British!

It’s hard to accept that the current arrangement of having Twickenham Embankment as a giant car park is the best use of this prime riverside space. Yes we 100% agree that Eel Pie Islanders and other locals need somewhere to park but can it really be the case that what we have now represents the very best solution to this conundrum?  It’s a large site and a bit of creativity from those more expert than us ought to be able to work something out. Let’s get the experts in! Use the service road, use parking spaces under the new build, redevelop the whole site with undergound parking? Why not?  Richmond has a car free riverside. Why can’t Twickenham? (Still needs space for a certain ice cream van, obvs.)

Richmond Riverside… with ice cream van and not much else

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True Time is Over at El Brute

The 4th of July marks the final day of the Blue Baron bossing the show at El Brute.  Conservative Council Leader Nick True, aka The Blue Baron aka The Duke of York (House), is stepping down from the role after 7 years in the hot seat. True will also bring to a close his position as Councillor for East Sheen by not standing in next year’s local elections.  He is being replaced as leader by Councillor Paul Hodgins who has yet to be assigned an appropriate twickerati nickname.  Hodgins is Councillor for Barnes and has been gracing the corridors of York house since 2006 where he has most recently been Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools. We’re not privy to the workings of the Council or the local Conservative Party but we might have expected a more high profile name such as Pamela Fleming to get the gig but that’s not the case. Is it a case of going from Lord True to Mr Who?

True’s legacy will be the subject of debate for years if not decades to come. OK, probably not but his quotes in assorted El brute press releases were always entertaining and irritating in equal measure.  He certainly did a lot of “slamming” and of course who could forget his withering request for “A period of silence from certain all too well ventilated local voices”.

He has been vocal in opposition to Heathrow expansion, has presided over the merger of the administrative and commissioning functions of Richmond and Wandsworth Councils and has led an authority which largely kept Council tax flat whilst making savings to its operational budgets and services. In Twickenham the early part of his Baronial Reign saw the redevelopment of the derelict swimming pool site to create the Diamond Jubilee Gardens.

He generated his fair share of controversy too. A campaign against LBRuT’s approval of Solum’s large scale development of Twickenham station was defeated in law.  He also championed the creation of a new Roman Catholic Secondary School with ‘voluntary aided’ status. That also went to legal fisticuffs in which the Baron triumphed again. But he didn’t get his way when it came to the Battle of the Gloriana. When True announced that the park at Orleans Riverside would become home to a large boat house for the former royal barge owned by fellow Lord, Lord Sterling, the locals weren’t impressed.  A very vocal campaign rallied against developing (and paying for) a new greenfield riverside home for the boat and eventually the plan was dropped. True’s dream of a “crystal palace for a fairy craft” (yes real words!) had turned to dust.

True’s Council took the positive step of aquiring the rest of the old pool site and nearby shops to improve Twickenham Riverside but now it will be left to Clls Hodgins and Fleming to carry the torch for Francis Terry’s retro-themed riverside scheme as the debate on the best use of the site rumbles on.

Twickerati van gets LBRuT branding and a special server

We hope that new Leader Paul Hodgins does what’s best for Twickenham, whatever that is and of course only you know that.  And we say, best of luck to Lord True in new ventures… although we’re not sure he’ll take up our suggestion of serving up ice creams from the van. Nice idea though eh?

 

UPDATE

Hodgins (or is that Paul “Whodgins?”) has already announced his own reshuffle of the El Brute Cabinet.  In ‘selected highlights’, David Marlow (South Twickenham) will become Deputy Leader while remaining as Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health.  Pamela Fleming (South Richmond) will also become Deputy Leader and continue as Cabinet Member for Environment, Business and Community. Stephen Speak (North Richmond) takes on the expanded role of Strategic Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance.  Children’s Services and Schools (Hodgins’ former brief) goes to Susan Chappell (Twickenham Riverside).  Two new roles have been introduced: Martin Seymour (Hampton North) takes on the new role of Cabinet Member for Planning and Strategic Development. He’s the lucky lad who will need to help Pamela Fleming sort out Twickenham Riverside, and Gareth Elliott (Whitton) will take up the new post of Cabinet Member for Digital and Technology. What a time to be alive eh?

 

And finally here’s something that is totally unlreated and was definitely not filmed at York House. It’s not a tribute or even a “Trubute”.  We find it amusing though, eh Ted?

 

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SPEAR Marks 30 Years with Charity Event

In the leafy suburbia of Twickenham and Richmond it’s sometimes easy to overlook the very real problem of homelessness that exists in our local area. Not so for SPEAR. The Twickenham based charity has a strong track record for its excellent work tackling homelessness across the borough and more widely across south west London.  This year SPEAR marks its 30th anniversary with what must surely be mixed emotions. It’s a great achievement to have played a key role in helping people in need for three decades but this must be balanced with concern that it still has a vital role to play in 2017. In fact, the demand for SPEAR’s services is increasing and SPEAR is needed as much today as 30 years ago when founded by Penny Wade.

The Penny Wade House hostel

To mark its 30 years, a special Anniversary event is taking place on the evening of Tuesday 11th July at Richmond Adult Education College  It  is not just a celebration of those SPEAR has supported from Homelessness to Independence, but also recognises the tremendous hurdles the charity and its supporters have faced in helping those most vulnerable over the last 30 years. The words of SPEAR’s founder Penny Wade are still relevant today: ‘No-one should die because they don’t have a home’.

Being based on Heath Road in the heart of Twickenham, SPEAR continues to be thankful for all the support given from the local community, to those most vulnerable.  One local client said:  “I’ve never looked back and never spent a night on the streets since – there is nothing like SPEAR in other boroughs and I feel lucky to know them – they give me what I need and more and I wouldn’t be here without them”.
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Time for Another Twickenham Riverside Development (& Car Park) Consultation

Water Lane car park – Twickenham riverside

Another season, another Twickenham riverside consultation. Running from June until 11th July you have a chance to give some more feedback on El Brute’s grand plan for Twickenham Riverside. You remember! It’s the one that architect Francis Terry has come up with. So much for all this talk about Labour or the Tories or the DUP or whoever returning Britain to the 1970s, this is the plan that takes plucky Twickenham back to the 70s… the 1770s, except that Twickenham wasn’t like this back then.

In the latest consultation document, Councillor Pamela Fleming said “In thirty-five years there has not been consensus on the best way of improving this beautiful stretch of the riverside, but at last we seem to be moving in the right direction. This has only been achieved by working together and recognising how passionate people are about the area. I hope we can continue this partnership and that together we can create a scheme that will enhance Twickenham and be enjoyed for years to come”. Quite. There has been some progress brought about by those passionate Twickenham residents but LBRuT needs to keep listening and act on what it hears.

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Yes we all want to see the site improved and LBRuT are billing this project as ‘New Heart for Twickenham’ which all sounds jolly good. Terry’s retro-designs remain and it’s clear that LBRuT have no intention of changing that. He won a ‘competition’, innit? Everyone has a different view of what should be done in terms of the remit and scale of the development but certain themes are common such as a proper town square or community area, limiting the extent of the commercialisation of the site in terms of flats, the need to better connect King Street to the river and finding a better solution to using prime river frontage as a car park. Continue reading

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Vince is Back: Cable Elected as Your New MP

It’s over! It’s done! We have the result! And the winner is… drumroll… Dr Vince Cable.

Twickenham (and surrounding lesser towns) has spoken and your new MP is your old MP even if he’s not been your recent MP. In other words, he’s back. It was the battle of the two Doctors in which Conservative candidate Dr Tania Mathias, who was regenerated as our MP in 2015, was beaten by former local MP Dr Sir Vince Cable. We say, ‘Thanks and bad luck Tania’ and ‘Congratulations Vince’ on your election (or rather re-election?) as Twickenham’s MP.  Cable’s majority is nearly 10,000, easily overturning Tania Mathias’ 2,000 majority from 2015. His win was more emphatic than the ‘cautiously optimistic’ noises coming from the Lib Dem camp had suggested. One might even say that the dance loving veteran politico achieved something of a ballroom blitz. Nationally the precise picture is still not totally clear although a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party is the most likely outcome.

Phew! With the voting over we know that we don’t need to have another general election for five whole years… unless of course the five year rule is overturned if something ‘important’ crops up like an inability to form a government, a failing coalition or someone fancies an election just for fun, or whatever. See you back at the polling station soon then.

Vince Cable

Twickenham was only ever going to be a two horse race between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and the incumbent Mathias, with her narrow 2,000 majority, was beaten by Cable who had served at Twickenham’s MP for 18 years until 2015. Cable’s challenge seemed strong – very visible, plenty of tweets, plenty of posters and ‘skateboards’ compared to Mathias – and so it proved. Did people vote on national issues like Brexit, austerity cuts and the ‘dementia tax’ or on local issues, or even on personalities?  We don’t know. Mathias has been quite popular locally and had supported local causes such as opposing Heathrow expansion and the closure of Kneller Hall. She’s also been an advocate of the rights of refugees and EU citizens, but these are issues that also feature in Cable’s thinking. Was it Tania herself or the ‘Vote Tania, Get May’ mantra that seemed to be a common theme among some local residents. Or was it a legacy of the Brexit referendum despite both candidates being remainers? Or was it just Vince Appeal? We don’t know. Continue reading

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Twickenham Festival is Back!

If you’re sick of the election and just want to spend some time enjoying life in God’s Own Outer London Suburb (or ‘the Gools’ if you prefer) then you’re in luck. Twickenham Festival is back! Other sites do far more comprehensive listings than us but we’ve included a few highlights below. It’s just the way we roll.

Twickfest 2017 just wouldn’t be #Twickfest without the Tug Off War to get things underway. It takes place at 6.30pm on Friday 9th June outside the Eel Pie pub and sees local teams huff and puff as they get a grip and try to avoid getting pulled off   their feet and across the marker on the road. Teams are cheered on by crowds of locals and, at the end of the day, the biggest yankers are the winners. Some people even film it for later viewing! [Editor: OK that’s enough!]

On Saturday 10th, new for 2017, there’s a Dog Show in the Diamond Jubilee Gardens. Registration is from 12.30pm with the main event running from 2.00pm to 4.00pm. There’s more info here on the various categories. Saturday also sees the return of the craft market in Church Street. Expect arts, crafts and a few food stalls.

On Sunday 11th between 10.00am and 12.00pm there is a children’s bike ride treasure hunt and picnic around Orleans Riverside Gardens and Marble Hill Park. You’ll need to pay and pre-booking is essential. Could be fun though?

Tugging away, Twickenham stylee

On Saturday 17th June Church Street Goes Green once again. The road will be astroturfed and filled with plants, gardening gizmos, food stalls and a generally eco-friendly mood will prevail. Let’s hope the eco-vibe isn’t soured by the groaning of planes taking off from Heathrow that day. The St Margaret’s Elastic band will be playing from 1.15pm to 2.15 pm and the Richmond Youth Jazz band will perform from 3.00m until 5.00pm. The greening of Twickenham also takes place on Sunday. Continue reading

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