Here at twickerati we don’t feel obliged to go on and on about the Twickenham station development… but we will anyway. We’ll make this one brief so stick with it because some of this is interesting. It’s pretty clear that a lot of people in the town are very unhappy about the plans for the station despite Solum’s slightly misleading “statistic” quoted in the R&T Times that 60% of the town are in favour of their plans and the plans to regenerate the station area. Obviously the two have only a passing relationship. But what many twickerati might not be aware of is that Twickenham is just one of five stations on the development hit list for Solum Regeneration – a partnership between Network Rail and Kier Property.
At one of them, Epsom, the plans were approved by the Council despite a pretty damning critique from CABE (the government’s adviser on the “built environment”). CABE’s conclusion includes the killer line, “In our view this approach is not acceptable, and should not be rolled out to the other stations where Kier and Network Rail are in partnership”. That’s gotta hurt!
Walthamstow in E17 is another benefiting from the Solum treatment. You’re thinking, “Big deal, we’re miles away from the Stow”. But what if you knew that Solum’s plans there sounded very much like their plans for Twickenham – big towers, lots of flats. So we got in touch with Walthamstow’s Fight the Height campaign to tell them about Twickenham and see what’s going on over there.
Their campaign manager told twickerati, “It sounds very similar to our situation – a phased development of a series of tower blocks that are inappropriately tall for the area and of poor quality, with no relation to the surrounding area. Sounds like Solum are “carpet bombing” all the Network Rail sites with pretty much the same plans!” Yes it does doesn’t it! It sounds depressingly familiar. If you want to take a look at the plans for Walthamstow you can see them here. (btw, it’s a 5mb download). You see that tiny building in the middle? That’s the current station.
In the meantime you can still keep tabs on the Twickenham plans at the Council’s website here and of course get in touch with the folks at TRAG (Twickenham Residents Action Group) and their SOS Save Our Skyline Campaign. If you want to express a view to the Council then the main deadline has passed but they will still note views expressed in the next week or two. So the doors are closing but you can still squeeze on.
And remember to check back here to see how TW1 & E17 are getting on with their North East South West London common cause. Solum, for now.