Another Heathrow Airport Expansion Consultation

If you thought you’d had your fill of chances to ‘have your say’ on the expansion of Heathrow then you’d be wrong. If you thought that as a local resident your views would count for very little when stacked up against those of politicians and business, then you’d be right. Hey ho, that’s the way it goes but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have your say yet again in a brand new exercise. There are even things you can turn up to in Twickenham and other local towns.

This time it’s a Government consultation on their ‘approved’ option for a new third runway to the north west of the current two. It was launched recently and runs until 25th May and so there’s plenty of time for your views to be discounted. In launching the consultation, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling referenced leaving the EU as a reason why building airport capacity at Heathrow is ‘crucial’ for UK growth and thus the endless years of debate about Heathrow have become Brexitified. With Gatwick beaten into second place, expansion at Heathrow looks certain to happen, unless of course it takes so long to reach a final, final, final agreement that Star Trek style teleporting technology supersedes cramming people into giant metal tubes with engines tacked on the sides.  The current thinking seems to be that a new north west runway could be delivered by 2026, so let’s call that 2032 to be on the safe side. It might even be finished before the new Twickenham station!

Plane landing at Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Council, Heathrow, Local Issues & News

Pic of the Week: Comedy Pavement or Art Installation?

Here’s a scene that raises one simple question. Why? These new flats on Heath Road, called Twickenham House, have given rise to some comedy paving or perhaps it’s actually modern art, we’re not entirely sure. What seems to have happened is that once upon a time there was a pavement with a line of edging stones next to a building, then some hoardings were put up to allow construction work to take place and then the builders decided to make the line of the hoardings the precise line for the intersection of the old pavement and their attempt at new paving. The result? Something that looks like this…

But is it art?

But is it art?

If that’s the quality of finishing for the outside space we can only hope that they’ve done a better job on the inside. Is it actually finished? We don’t know but we hope Richmond Council’s planning bods are taking a long hard look at it, assuming their eyes can stay focused on it. Paving stones? Paving stoned more like.

new flats with 'comedy paving' on Heath Road

new flats with ‘comedy paving’ on Heath Road

You may recall that these are the very same flats where the developers’ boards promised views across Mediterranean rooftops rather than of a suburban railway bridge and a Tesco Express. I suppose we now have to call these things ‘alternative facts’. It’s a funny old world.

Twickenham House on Heath Road

Twickenham House on Heath Road

Room with a view… of the Med.

Views across the Med

Views across the Med

7 Comments

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

Twickenham Stationary While Community Hub Moves Forward

2017 is up and running, we’re one month in and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Is this going to be the year when work on Twickenham station finally gets underway?’ You think that but you know, deep down in your heart of hearts that there’s a fair chance it could end up being next year, or the year after, or maybe never. Twickenham Station? Twickenham Stationary more like!

A warm welcome to Twickenham

A warm welcome to Twickenham

Word on the street seems to be that Solum Regeneration, the company behind the big development, is planning to finally get things moving in April. It seems so long ago since their overly large mish mash of styles received approval from El Brute’s Planning Wonks. It is a long time ago. Solum has dabbled with the idea of progress but it’s been kicked back on several occasions for whatever reasons. It seems that things have proved a little more complicated than originally envisaged. Add to that part-owner Kier Property selling its share of the Solum joint venture with Network Rail to Capital & Counties Properties Plc and maybe explains part of the dither-fest of the last few years. It might do but Kier are still committed to the Twickenham scheme with C&C moving some of the others forward. So far, so nothing.

A station. In Twickenham

A station. In Twickenham

The reality seems to be that Solum and the RFU can’t get themselves organised to agree the dates at which the station work can get underway. There’s rugby (and money) at stake don’t you know. The ‘possession’ dates planned so far for 2017 begin on April 9th and are dotted across the year but some already clash with rugby or NFL games which could see them move yet again. And this is only for ‘enabling works’ such as setting up the temporary ticket office in the car park, moving cables and hoarding off works areas. Mary’s Terrace residents can expect a ring side seat for all this work and it’s not even the big stuff. The message seems to be don’t hold your breath because April 9th could easily become June or September and so on. We’ll just have to see who wins this tedious ‘tug of station love’ between the RFU, Network Rail and Solum.

Here's what you would have won

Here’s what you would have won


Meanwhile the ‘community cultural hub’ slap bang opposite the station which has been something of a mystery in terms of purpose and management will now be run by St Mary’s University.
Obviously to attract students there it’s going to require them to walk past about a dozen pubs and a couple of kebab shops first which could present a significant challenge but having St Mary’s involved might bring some fresh thinking to central Twickenham. The building will comprises a 300 seat theatre space, six multi-purpose studio rooms and a large conservatory area. So, what’s actually going to happen there then? St Mary’s say we can expect a cafe that will be open to the public, theatre, film, comedy and music nights and the inevitable conference and venue hire options. Full details have yet to be finalised but it would be good to see the building getting regular use with events that appeal to the whole community and not just becoming a satellite student union building or a bland conference facility. Managed in the right way it could bring something new to the town. Let’s hope so.

A hub. In the community.


LINKS:
* Network Rail – Kier sells its stake in Solum (old news)

* St Mary’s University to run community building

8 Comments

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

Twickenham 1 – 0 Chelsea: Blues Will Not Play At Twickenham

Costa going to China? Who knows? Costa coming to Twickenham? Nah, not happening. We are of course referring to grumpy-chops goal machine Diego Costa rather than the mediocre coffee chain who have, of course, already established themselves in Twickenham. More than two years after the idea first got a serious airing the RFU has finally confirmed that Chelsea will not be allowed to use Twickenham Stadium while their Stamford Bridge ground gets redeveloped.

It’s going to take three years for Chelsea to build their new Fancy Dan 60,000 seat stadium at The Bridge but the question of where to play in the meantime has perplexed football’s biggest brains for quite a while (insert your own joke here).

Not "The Bridge"

Not “The Bridge”

Wembley might still be an option, as might staying at ‘Fortress Bridge in some way during the build. There could be ground share options with Brentford or Fulham to consider too, maybe? How about the mighty Hampton and Richmond?? With Twickenham finally ruled out by the RFU many residents will breathe a big sigh of relief that the idea of 25 or more football matches a year taking place at Twickenham is now off the table. Some may feel that with the assorted rugby matches, NFL events, concerts and the like there is already a fairly busy schedule at the stadium with a fairly significant impact on the town. And what about you? Happy now? Or are you suffering from the Blues?

LINK:
* BBC News

11 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News

Question Time for El Brute at Village Events

Richmond Council, aka El Brute, are running a series of engagement sessions around Twickenham and Strawberry Hill to get your views on the state of the world in God’s Own Outer London Suburb (GOOLS). The sessions take different formats ranging from a Leader’s Question Time, with no less a personage than Lord True, the Blue Baron himself, via drop-in sessions and all the way through to ‘walkabouts’ where you can roam the streets pointing out all the things you don’t like, and maybe some that you do.

It’s part of LBRuT’s grand scheme of  ‘village plans’. These are all about trying to shape how your local area will develop and what the key issues, priorities and opportunities are. El Brute say these will help inform their work on improving the villages (Editor: And towns please! Twickenham is a town!) across the borough.  Previous Question Time sessions have taken place in the last couple of years at various locations, including East Twickenham, St Margarets and Whitton. Lord True’s state carriage will be travelling to Strawberry Hill and to The Stoop in Twickenham.

What’s hot? Parking, pot holes, traffic, schools, planning, noise, empty shops and dare we say the word ‘Riverside’?

Will you be having your say?

 

The seat of El Brute power

York House: The seat of El Brute power

 

 

Upcoming dates
* Wed 11th Jan 6.30 to 8.30pm. Strawberry Hill – Leader’s Question Time at Strawberry Hill Golf Club
* Wed 18th Jan 6.30 to 8.30pm. Twickenham – Leader’s Question Time at The Stoop (Harlequins Rugby Club)
* Sat 25th Feb 10am to 4pm. Strawberry Hill and Twickenham – Drop in consultation at the Emmanuel Centre, St James Church, Popes Grove
* Sun 26th Feb 10.30am to 12.30pm. Strawberry Hill Walkabout – Meet at Emmanuel Centre, St James Church
* More details and more dates in March via the link below

LINK:
* LBRuT Village Plan events

5 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

New Cinema Club for Twickenham

If you like watching classic and cult films which rarely get an airing on television or in cinemas then you’re in luck.  A new cinema club is launching in Twickenham to do just that.  Called, rather unsurprisingly, Twickenham Cinema Club, the aim of the new venture is to create a club run by members, for members. You can expect an eclectic mix of film with the idea that the members are the curators. There will also be a social element to screenings with an opportunity to chat before and afterwards. The opening film is 1945’s ‘Mildred Pierce‘ starring Joan Crawford. It’s something of a noir classic, a tale of ambition, struggle and mother daughter rivalry and is based on the novel by James M Cain whose other books include The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. How’s that for pedigree?

twickenham-cinema-club-logo

 

To join the club costs £10 per year with the first film free and subsequent films at £7. Otherwise it’s £10 on the door for non-members.  For local film buffs, the new club is a welcome complement to Richmond Film Society which has been running since 1963 and focuses on world cinema with screenings at St Mary’s University.

Mildred Pierce is showing at Patchworks at The Cabbage Patch pub on Wednesday February 8th.

 

LINK:

twickenham-cinema-club-debut-film

 

2 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff, What's on

It’s Thames Watergate! Dry Christmas Hits SW London

The was mild panic on Christmas morning across a swathe of South West London (and yes, that includes Twickenham) after a water pump failed at Thames Water’s Hampton works leaving thousands of homes with no water.  Here at twickerati HQ the pressure dropped to a level that there was just a trickle from the kitchen tap. For others in TW1 and TW2 there was no water whatsoever. Not ideal, especially on Christmas Day. And what does one do in a situation like that?  One takes to Twitter of course! Plenty of questions were being asked about when the service would be restored but also about whether it was possible to cook sprouts in wine and drink only alcohol for the day.  The White Swan were quick to point out that although they had no water they did have plenty of booze.

For those attempting to cook Christmas dinner there was there great debate about whether to press on or postpone.  Even at twickerati HQ the monumental step was taken to defer the arrival of 12 guests for an hour and a half as we waited for updates from Thames Water…. so there are always some positives to come out of situations of adversity.

After a few hours the problem was fixed, water was restored and thousands realised how reliant we all are on seemingly simple things like having water on tap (literally). But how was it for you?

 

Some water: in happier times

Some tap water: in happier times

 

LINK:

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News

Merry Twickmas, Twickenham

“Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, building Trumpton one block at a time. With flats by the river and parking galore, we just have to hope that it’s better than before”.

Yes folks that’s what Councillor Pamela Fleming is absolutely insisting gets sung before all meetings at Richmond Council this Christmas. We’re not sure if she can actually hold a tune but we do know that she can hold a (party) line.

 

twickenham-christmas-tree

Christmas is upon us just as it was at this time last year. It’s a time when we look forward to wincing at our bank balances and praying that our guests will leave  (just bloody leave!) but we also look back on the year that’s ending. It’s been year of strange events, plucky Leicester City winning the Premier League, plucky Brits voting for Brexit, and plucky billionaire bully-boy businessman Donald Trump winning The Pres Factor across the pond. Here in Twickenham we’ve had our fair share of surprises too.  Surprise that LBRuT, aka ‘El Brute’, stuck with their unpopular scheme and chosen architect for Twickenham Riverside despite strong local opposition. Surprise that the high street at the end of the year looks very similar to the way it looked at the beginning, and surprise too that a new third runway at Heathrow got the nod from the government. Actually none of those three was remotely surprising but they warranted a token mention.

What of the riverside scheme? Here at twickerati HQ we’ve been disappointed that the Council have persisted with a plan that doesn’t do justice to the potential of the site, is overloaded in terms of scale and features a design that pays a traditionalist homage to a non-existent past.  After all these years of dithering and deliberation Twickenham looks set to end up with something that’s ‘sort of OK’ rather than something great. It’s a shame.  But on the bright side we do have a wonderful new station to enjoy as we go about our business. You’ve not seen it? What?? Well it was definitely going to be built after the Rugby World Cup. Definitely! The rugby world cup ended over a year ago but nothing’s been started yet. On the plus side, it’s not actually behind schedule because the phrase ‘after the rugby world cup’ applies to all dates from November 2015 to the very end of time. Hurrah!

At least the development opposite the station on the former post office sorting office site is nearly complete. It’s even got our new ‘community building’ / ‘cultural hub’ in it where things will happen that the community can do or look at or maybe wear or something. In truth, we’ve no idea. If it can support a thriving theatre-cum-performance space then that will be good but the only concrete idea we’ve had is that it might have been better to have a community building as part of the riverside development but what do we know?

On the high street, long standing Chinese restaurant Jun Ming closed,  Arthur’s is up for sale and we said farewell to the mysterious Cakes World and Marc Jason’s Shoeworld. The Press Room and Caffe a Roma arrived but so did Costa. The Heath Road restaurant that never lasts and which was most recently called Flavours of Sicily didn’t last. Former Blockbuster video store turned Morrison’s supermarket closed its doors again and is now turning into a Screwfix and a Co-op mini-supermarket has appeared in what was the Old Anchor pub. This, my friends, is the way of the world these days.

So what else happened? We had summer festivals and Christmas lights. New primary schools opened, more places are on the way in a giant new block at St Richard Reynolds College as is a whole new secondary school on the Richmond College site in Egerton Road. A man made national news when he brought Twickenham traffic to a standstill on a rugby day by throwing bricks and tiles off a roof and thieves blew up a cash point on Heath Road and made off with the contents. Richmond Council continued its merger with Wandsworth with the aim of making savings in back office costs through sharing resources. And if you wanted an ice rink to get you in the festive mood then you were to be disappointed. El Brute rejected proposals for a temporary winter rink in Radnor Gardens. Apparently school kids need the space…. even when they’re on holiday.

Here at twickerati we even managed to disappoint ourselves by living up to our recently lowered expectations. We updated the site only occasionally and focused on the same few stories over and over again.  The simple fix of finding more time, of writing with more wit and style and of securing regular contributors proved to be not quite so simple after all. But we battle on and, after all, why wouldn’t we with plenty of Twick-o-centric developments likely in 2017. Work on the riverside, maybe that new station, some new flats that look just like all the others, shops closing, shops opening, a permanent home for the Eel Pie Music museum.

This is what living in God’s own leafy outer London suburb is all about. This plus the parks, the river, the pubs, cafes and restaurants and above all else the people, i.e. you lovely lot.

As we conclude we say to you, put away thoughts of that charming John Lewis advert and think instead of the new seasonal YouTube video from El Brute Supremo, the Blue Baron aka Lord True.  Buster the Boxer’s got nothing on him.  This Council video is all about listening to Sir  True’s view of the world whilst looking at the back of his head in a giant mirror. Nothing says Christmas quite like that!

And that, little friends, is that. Have a great Christmas, have a wonderful New Year and thanks for reading this blog over the last 12 months.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL

Some Twickmas going on

Some Twickmas going on

20 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff

Twickenham Christmas Lights Event – 27th November

Whilst we’re busy failing to bring you a round up of what’s going on in Twickenham, we thought we’d at least give a mention to the sizzlin’ spectacular Christmas Lights event taking place on Sunday 27th November. Put simply, it’s a Christmas event that’s taking place in Twickenham this Sunday, the 27th.

What’s on?  Plenty in and around King Street.  A Christmas market, a Santa’s grotto from 12.00pm and live entertainment from 2.30pm. Choo Choo! There are even train rides on one of those funny ‘petit train’ thingies.   There’s action in the Diamond Jubilee Gardens too. Oh, and look out for the reindeer.  The big switch on is at 5.30pm by the tree outside Santander.   Steve ‘off of the radio’ Allen will be doing the switch flicking.

 

Live nearer the Green? They’ll be turning a tree on there too.

 

LINK:

www.trytwickenham.com

(if it works for you)

 

Twickenham Christmas Tree

3 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, What's on