Hot on the heels of the revelation over the prophetic powers of 80s popsters Spandau Ballet comes the news that Richmond Council will be holding a series of public consultations on the future of Twickenham. Starting from the assumption that it does indeed have one, and we sincerely hope it does, these sessions are designed provide locals with an opportunity to put forward ideas on regenerating the town. The word “regeneration” implies that a Dr Who like transformation is required to turn Twickenham into a city of the future but regardless of whether you think that is the case or just think that a measured evolution is needed or simply want to voice opinions on local issues such as Twickenham riverside, Regal House or the plans for Twickenham station then it could be an ideal opportunity to have your say.
The events are being described as “barefoot consultations”. Is this preferable to blue sky thinking or running ideas up flagpoles? Who can say. It’s certainly showing some thought leadership in these difficult times. The events are at York House (22nd & 23rd July) and the Civic Centre (24th July) and the ideas generated will form part of a Twickenham Conference later in the year (apparently). Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden will be judging all the entries to ensure that only the very best and the most stupidly embarrassing get through to the next round (apparently, not).
It seems like a sensible and relatively inexpensive idea but the key to any such event is managing expectations in advance, both for the level of involvement locals will actually have and on the parameters such as finances and timescales. Within that framework any sensible contributions need to be given, and seen to be given, proper consideration. Get it right and it could form a new kind of dialogue between locals and the Council, get it wrong and it gets remembered as the one-off event that people would rather forget. At the moment the Council are talking the talk, will the locals respond?