No doubt you’ve been lying awake at night wondering what “our Graham” (he of the quick reminders) has been up to since the demise of Blind Date. Well according to Wikipedia, he’s not dead yet, so that’s good. It’s likely that the 70-something Graham Skidmore is enjoying his retirement. Let’s hope so. Don’t remember Blind Date? “If you were a piece of road kill on a country lane, what squashed animal would you be, and why? That question goes to number 3”. Still not ringing any bells? Never mind. But just for the record it was prime time Saturday evening viewing in the days before Cowell, Cole and that Strictly lot. So what exactly was the point of that little cul-de-sac? Well, it was just to preface a quick reminder about The Future of Twickenham at the RFU on Saturday 30th October.

It’s all about following up on the “Barefoot Consultation” which took place in July. Anyone prepared to give next Saturday over to local issues will have the opportunity to hear about and discuss the ideas that came out of that piece of blue sky, envelope pushing, out of the box thinking back in the summer.

Exclusive picture of post-it notes, Barefoot Consultation stylee.
Sources at team TRAG’s Save Our Skyline stall have indicated that the big issues will be the Riverside, the rejuvenation of King Street and redevelopment of the Station and the Royal Mail sites. All good stuff and it’s important that there’s a clear long term vision for the town so that the Council can help direct inward investment as well as doing its own bit. The RFU are clearly keen to have their say too as the event is being held at their HQ. However, although Twickenham is “the home of English rugby”, the needs of those with oval balls should always be kept in perspective with regard to the future direction of London’s premier leafy suburb.

Long term planning is clearly very important (most of 1930s King Street is well passed its sell by date) but the Barefoot sessions also threw up lots of ideas which can be dealt with quickly and without significant cost. Despite the state of public finances and the impact of recession generally, these things shouldn’t be overlooked in favour of a more distant big picture. After all, a major town centre overhaul won’t be much use if those elements which give Twickenham its character have been run down long before any new project comes to fruition. Here’s hoping for an action plan which mixes the immediate with the long term.

And just for the hell of it, here are a few for the immediate list:
1) Sort out traffic and parking on international rugby days – there has to be something better than the current (non) arrangements.
2) Move the farmers market to Church Street or York House – this would create a hub of activity in an attractive part of town rather than having these two attractions separated by thundering traffic.
3) Get some guerilla gardening groups going but just don’t say they’re part of the Big Society.
4) Clamp down on certain shops selling alcohol to under 18s with the obvious negative consequences in terms of anti-social behaviour.
5) Sort out a policy on shoppers parking. Not only allow free short-term parking but try to get some perspective into the ticket happy chappies and chappesses who CANNOT FLIPPIN’ WAIT to dish out a fine the second the meter runs out.

No doubt you have better ideas. So share them.