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

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It’s Poundbury-upon-Thames! New Riverside Designs for Twickenham Published

Richmond Council approves. Prince Charles would surely approve. But do you approve? You can have your say with El Brute and also vote in our poll below.

Revised design ideas for Twickenham Riverside have been published under El Brute’s Twickenham Rediscovered / ‘New heart for Twickenham’ banner. The proposals come from architect Francis Terry, El Brute’s chosen one for this particular project.

In the latest briefing note Pamela Fleming, Council Cabinet Member for Environment and the driving force behind the project says: “These concepts are not the final designs… but I hope that people will approach this consultation objectively and work with us constructively on developing a scheme so that the riverside is a place everyone can enjoy for many years to come”. In other words, “We’ve set the parameters and you can have your say within those parameters. We’ve left some things vague too but get with the programme.”

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

The document makes a big play of all the consultations undertaken so far and summarises the themes that have emerged en route… with a few notable exceptions, of course. There is no mention of just how much the majority of people seriously disliked the scale and style of the original concept or that many would like to see the whole thing re-started with a fresh brief and a transparent process. There is no mention either of the lido scheme which also has a lot of local support.  Putting those rather fundamental points to one side, El Brute do acknowledge locals’ other concerns such as the desire for the development to have some kind of town square, to have options to bring the community together and to have relevance to Twickenham’s riverside heritage. To try to address these points Terry’s ideas do have a more of a market town or ‘village’ feel to them.

So what do we have now? Well… there are three proposals.
One of them (Option 3) is essentially a re-worked version of the idea first given an airing back in 2015. Given how unpopular that scheme was, this option can be put to one side. Imagine it as a party leadership bid by Andrea Leadsom for the Conservatives or, for Labour, that Owen bloke that no one had even heard of before he decided to stand.  Never. Going. To. Happen.

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of original design from LBRuT website

That leaves two options both of which move away from the dream of building a new Roman republic in Twickenham and look to the not-quite-so-distant past for inspiration. Think Bekonscot model village in Buckinghamshire or Poundbury in Dorset, the life-size model village that doubles as a suburb of Dorchester. Yep, it’s more Twee-kenham than Twickenham although Poundbury-upon-Thames does have a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?  In your face Richmond!!!

Possible Twickenham Embankment design From LBRuT website http://www.richmond.gov.uk/

Possible Twickenham Embankment design
From LBRuT website, http://www.richmond.gov.uk

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Brick Throwing Man Causes Heath Road Closure

A police helicopter buzzing overhead, Heath Road closed by police and a guy on a roof who has been chucking tiles and bricks into the street below. Not a typical start to a Saturday in Twickenham but that’s what we have had this morning.

Apparently the police went to a flat above a parade of shops on Heath Road at about 4.00am. A person then went up onto the roof and began throwing bricks and tiles into the street below. The road was then closed to prevent injury to passers by and it’s been that way now for several hours.

The situation is ongoing. Plenty of police are on the scene, including some equipped with riot shields, but so far they have opted to wait it out rather than risk injury or escalation, presumably with the person’s safety in mind.

With buses on diversion and rugby traffic heading to Twickenham is could make for a chaotic morning on the local roads.

UPDATE:
The situation continued into the early afternoon with the fire brigade and ambulance service in attendance. At one point he was heard calling for Coke and chocolate. Eventually the man, wearing not much by way of clothing but wrapped in the same red blanket that he had been wearing whilst on the roof, was taken down in a cherry picker and taken off in an ambulance, with medical attention perhaps being a priority in this instance.

 

Man throws object from roof.

(Pic courtesy of Olivier Fusil  / @olivierfusil on Twitter)

Man on roof

Man on roof

 

And here’s the man being taken down off the roof. (Video courtesy of Duncan Stone  / @DuncanCStone)

 

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Twickenham High Street Update (Yet Again)

When the going gets tough, the shops get going… from our town centres.  Harsh? Yes. True? Probably.  In our latest High Street Update we cover the usual array of departures but some good arrivals too. In fact with all these comings and goings it’s busier than Heathrow Terminal 6!

Costa Coffee has now been open for a couple of months on London Road.  It’s where Mail Boxes and the Princess Alice Hospice charity shop used to be.  Costa obviously spotted a gap in the market in Twickenham, a very tiny gap indeed.  Nero. Check. Starbucks. Check. Costa. Check. We’ve got ’em.  Add to that the likes of The Press Room (good coffee, btw), Corto (awesome almond croissants),  Cafe Zizou, York Street Cafe, Ruben’s Bakehouse, Sapori TW1,  Caffe Roma, Harris & Hoole, Rosie Chai and err, all the others and we reckon that Twickenham’s got  its tea and coffee bases covered for the time being don’t you? Room for one more?  On Water Lane, where Emily’s furniture store was, The German Bakery is up and running selling bread, cakes, coffee and enough gluten-free products to keep the most ardent gluten-phobe happy.

Costa, London Road, Twickenham

Costa, London Road, Twickenham

Talking of national chains which we sort of were, The Old Anchor pub on Richmond Road has been converted into flats with a mini Co-op supermarket on the ground floor. It’s due to open round about now and joins the ranks of Tesco, Sainsbury and M&S Food in the great pantheon of ‘express’ supermarkets in the town. Continue reading

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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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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

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

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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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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

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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.

TTFN

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