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

Continue reading

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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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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

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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. 

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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.

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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

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Eel Pie Island Museum Seeks Support & Crowdfunding

In 2015 the plans for a museum dedicated to the music heritage of Twickenham’s Eel Pie Island became a reality when the museum ‘popped up’ above Twickenham library. It provided a fascinating journey through the Island’s place in Britain’s jazz, blues and R&B music scenes from the 1950’s to the very early 1970’s. The exhibition ran through until the autumn and since then the small team behind it have been looking to secure a permanent home for the extensive collection of musical memorabilia.

The good news is that the Eel Pie Island Museum has just been given the green light from LBRuT to use some space in central Twickenham to establish it on a more permanent basis. Museum Curator, Michele Whitby told twickerati, “This is really exciting news! Last summer proved that there is a ready market of people who want to discover more about the fantastic music heritage of our town, so the team at EPIM are raring to get going again and build upon last years achievements”. Good news indeed.

Eel Pie Island Museum

Eel Pie Island Museum

Michele and co have launched a campaign on crowdfunding website Spacehive to raise some more essential financial support. The project is linked to the Mayor of London’s Crowdfunding Programme, and with a little help from the twickerati, (i.e. you lovely lot), the Museum could receive a contribution from the GLA to boost their coffers. As Michele says, “The more we can prove that the local community are behind us with this, the more likely we are to get a pledge from the Mayor. So, if people could take a couple of minutes to register and ‘like’ the project that would be great. If anyone would also like to pledge an amount to back us, however large or small, then that is even better! Every penny will help to achieve our goal of establishing a permanent tribute to Twickenham’s musical and river-related heritage.”

Eel Pie Island Museum

Eel Pie Island Museum – pop up

If you’re not familiar with Eel Pie Island’s place in the grand scheme of things then you’ll certainly have heard of some of the names that performed at the famous hotel there: Acker Bilk, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, The Artwoods, Rod Stewart, Davy Jones (soon to become David Bowie) to name a few, but of course there were many, many more.

The EPIM team point out that for the project to really take off the important thing is to show that there’s widespread local support for the idea, so to find out more about it, take a look at the Spacehive link below. The Museum is also keen to hear from any businesses who may want to pledge an amount as a form of sponsorship.

The museum team can be contacted on info@eelpiemuseum.co.uk to discuss ideas and options. The GLA starts judging the various campaigns on 6th June and so there’s no time like the present to help promote the past. Chop chop.

 

LINKS:
* Eel Pie Island Museum on Spacehive
* Eel Pie Island Museum
* Previously on twickerati (Oct 2015)

Other Twickenham Music Heritage Links:
* Swinging 60s Shuttle Bus
* Live Music @ The Eel Pie Club

eel pie island hotel

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Man Dies After Being Hit by Train at St Margarets

A man died yesterday (Tuesday 24th May) after being hit by a train at St Margarets station. The incident happened after the morning rush hour with British Transport Police being called to the scene at 10.15am. Quoted in the Richmond and Twickenham Times, a BTP spokesman said: “Colleagues from Metropolitan Police Service and London Ambulance Service also attended, and a person was pronounced dead at the scene. The person’s death is not being treated as suspicious and officers are now working to identify them and inform their family”.

MORE:
*  Richmond & Twickenham Times

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