Podium plan to be approved this week? UPDATE

LBRuT’s Planning Committee meet this week [edit:16 Dec as was]to decide on Solum Regeneration’s plan for a podium over the railway tracks. This is the big concrete thingy that forms a key part of their plans for re-developing the Twickenham station site. The Council’s case officer is recommending that permission be granted subject to “section 106” conditions, which cover various things including trying to ensure that the podium does not become some kind of huge white elephant should Solum’s plans for the main development not be approved.

The public can attend the committee but anyone wishing to speak needs to register in advance. It takes place on Thursday 16th December at 6.30p.m. at York House and the agenda for it (and links to the planning report) are here.

TRAG’s page on the podium is here.
Network Rail & Kier Properties’ vision for us, complete with selected images, is here.

The podium plan was deferred at the Richmond Council planning committee on Thursday 16th. The committee took the sensible view that it was not realistic to approve a giant podium separately from Solum Regeneration’s scheme for the whole station. Combining the podium and building plans seems pretty obvious and is probably even welcomed by Solum (why have two planning applications running concurrently when you can just have one). But it does raise the question as to why the case officer recommended it for approval as a stand alone scheme in the first place. To be continued…


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Station Development

18 responses to “Podium plan to be approved this week? UPDATE

  1. Solum’s planning application for the redevelopment is on the Council website (ref: 10/3465/FUL): ‘ . . three buildings ranging in height between 8 storeys and 3 storeys comprising 165 residential units, 734 sqm of flexible Use Class A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional services), A3 (restaurant and café) and D2 (leisure) floorspace . . ‘ http://www2.richmond.gov.uk/PlanData2/Planning_CaseNo.aspx?strCASENO=10/3465/FUL 4 comments so far: 3 against, 1 for.

  2. Re: ‘. . you will find that those minutes for the Twickenham Station Podium application are being reviewed by the whole committee, they were thrown out as innacurate, misleading and with things added in which did not occurr . . ’ (Cllr Naylor, above)

    The Council has this evening published the minutes of the January 20 meeting of the Planning Committee:

    ‘46. MINUTES: The minutes of the meetings held on 16 December 2010 and 6 January 2011 were agreed as correct records of proceedings and the Chairman authorised to sign them.’


    so the contested minute re the podium application stands:

    ‘It was RESOLVED: That the application be DEFERRED for the following reason:
     To seek elevational improvements to those parts of the podium visible from Marys Terrace.’

    No doubt much else was said that was not recorded but that remains the only official reason for the deferment.

  3. david

    The minutes say “It was RESOLVED:
    That the application be DEFERRED for the following reason:
    To seek elevational improvements to those parts of the podium visible from Marys Terrace.”

    Nothing to do with it being inappropriate to consider the podium separately and in advance of the flats.

    [twickerati edit: Thanks David. You are correct. In the comments above there’s quite a lot of discussion on the wording of the minutes vs what was actually discussed in the meeting. Anyone reading this is advised (with caution) to plough through the comments before the “great debate” of last week is re-opened.]

  4. jmtwix: The podium development has NOT been ‘stopped’ or even significantly delayed. There are three strands to this story: first and least, the row over the disputed minutes of the December planning meeting, which will be resolved as first business at the planning meeting on the 20th.

    Second, the podium application, which was deferred by the December meeting and has not yet come back to the Committee for a decision. When it does, they will be under heavy pressure from their Officers to make a decision and not seek to duck it once again. ‘to govern is to choose’ even if the choices offered are invidious as in this case: if they say ‘yes’ they will incur odium from residents; if ‘no’ they commit the Council to an appeal which it will lose.

    Third, the main business, the application for the development itself, which the Council has received and is ‘validating’ before publishing it. We know what it comprises, as it is described in para 10 of the Officer’s report on the podium at: http://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=23858 . No date has been set for the Committee to decide on this – there will be ample time for public consultation and discussion first. However we can be certain that this application will be refused as an overdevelopment; it may or may not then go to appeal. If not, the developer will come back with a scaled down and improved Mark II and the consultations will have to be repeated from scratch.

    It is very unlikely that there will be a final decision this year.

  5. Concerned Resident

    Going back to before many of our great-great-grandparents were born, just to demonstrate that Twickenham wasn’t always a dive is some going. So are you saying that the borough’s councillors are trying to take us all back to before Electricity was available?

    The world used to be flat and Winchester was the capital of England too… Time moves on.

  6. Telemachus

    “The reason Twickenham is the way it is is not because of years of neglect, it’s just the way the area is. It always will be, it always has been, a bit of a dive.” – Concerned resident.
    @Concerned resident.
    Twickenham has not always been a bit of a dive. Indeed it was considered in the 18th and 19 Century and early 20-ieth to be more posh than its Surrey neighbour.

  7. jmtwix

    Fair play twickerati.

    Its important to remember that this is not about political bickering and point scoring. Its about the redevelopment of Twickenham station as a significant part of the regeneration of Twickenham town.

    Do we want Ivybridge style towers on top of the station at the gateway to Twickenham town centre? No.

    Do we want an excellent station facility and a landmark building that benefits commuters, visitors and which residents can be proud of? Yes.

    Then we need to stop the greedy developers (Solum/Kier), and generate an alternative station plan in conjunction with Network Rail. Stopping the podium development was the first stage in this process.

  8. Concerned Resident

    (Twickerati ed: this comment has been ‘modded’ in 2 places marked by [])

    “Concerned resident” writes:
    I suppose all of this is to be expected of someone like Scott Naylor. He and is colleagues only need to listen to themselves to find the justification they feel they need to do [certain] things. However, taking the time to listen to themselves may well prove frightening, or almost terrifying, as they’ll soon learn how ridiculous they sound!

    Many councillors, CONservative (to coin their phrase for the riverside consultation) and Liberal, are hardly representative of the community. You just have to look at the photos on the Richmond website to see that. Bunch of stuffy, middle aged (OK – very aged in many circumstances) old men who fail to relent to the fact that the world keeps moving on.

    Maybe they’ll make another video […] so they can quaff over their all conquering humour and think what a wonderful bunch they are (not). See the riverside video on YouTube. It’s funny, but not for the reasons the producers would like to think.

    Behaviour, as seen in this thread, will only help make more people disconnect from local democracy altogether. The reason Twickenham is the way it is is not because of years of neglect, it’s just the way the area is. It always will be, it always has been, a bit of a dive. This, of course, is this ‘rural’ part of London. You live in London, you know it’s a city, give up this ridiculous idea that Richmond upon Thames is a series of disconnected villages, get into this (or even the last will do) century, stop opposing everything that ever existed and find a life.

  9. …and everyone breathe out. Much as we like a healthy debate, all comments will be moderated for a while to ensure the debate doesn’t get “overly healthy” in the way that online discussions sometime can. That’s not to say that more comments aren’t welcome but, you know, well.. this is Twickenham after all.

  10. Scott Naylor

    Sadly you are wrong yet again Mr Squire. And not one comment to help us to understand that you do understand what democracy is.

    I was not representing TRAG specifically rfefer to amended minutes when they appear, and don’t try to pre-empt them, as you weren’t there!

    I am an elected Councillor representing the Twickenham community, as were my two colleagues who kicked out three ‘hapless’ Lib Dem Councillors in the ward, namely two ex Lib Dem Cabinet Members Trigg and Carr and one Lib Dem Regional Lib Dem employee Wilson.

    As a community led councillor, who has the very firm ear of the community, I was asked to represent the community at the meeting. And those people, whom I have met, and there are cerainly thousands I have met both on the door-step and on a street stall every week, they have all been asking for representation, something that is alien to Mr Squire and his party, and as someone who is not elected himself, can only speak for he him and himself, unless he is referring to some colleagues who seem quite uncertain as to Mr Squire;s steadiness as to whether he acts on behalf of them or not, having seen his track record on Liar Liar Pants on Fire stories involving 3 year old children giving the finger, you represent no-one Mr Squire, or if you do, I would like to know who has the confidence to have a web-master who uses imagery like this in public domainLib Dem websites, this has been brought into question now more than once recently.

    Clearly again, referring to minutes which are being referred back to the committee, of whom only one who sat at the last Planning Committee alongside myself, it was only right and proper and expected of their representative to challenge the minutes, this was accepted wholly around the table.

    So as well as not being there on either occasion, you are still happy to laud it over the people who were. You will find there was a lot more going on than the minutes which have been deferred for correction reported, if you had neen bothered to observe and report accurately and surely Mr Squire you want to have a set of accurate minutes to which you can refer, albeit they will always be abreviated, until planning committee is recorded that is, however there is no substitute for being there and representing your residents Mr Squire, so rather than sneaking around and not trusting the word of an elected Councillor, you would be better purposed attending in person rather than sniping and trying to wrong foot.

    And I notice you make no comment on your capability of understanding the planning system, which according to your comments either you clearly don’t or you want to defy them, Are you going to go back to suggesting that everything is pre-determined which would be against quasi-judicial rules, would it not, and that the decision on the podium application on the station has already been made? You must be one mightily fed up person to be seen to be getting so much wrong, in the public domain of all places.

  11. I have checked the status of the minutes with Jessica Vine, Democratic Services Officer, who writes: (At the meeting on January 6) ‘The agreement of the minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2010 was deferred until the following meeting for clarification of item 42a. The minutes will be considered at the next meeting on 20 January.’

    I note that Cllr Naylor was not a member of the Planning Committee on December 16 (he attended to speak for TRAG, a local pressure group), so agreeing its minutes is not a matter for him. Nonetheless I gather that it is he who is seeking to have them changed.

    The only points that really matter are the decision to defer and the official reason for it, which may indeed not be what was prominent in the discussion beforehand. Remember that the Committee is a quasi-judicial body, whose proceedings may be appealed and scrutinised by Inspectors or even by the courts.

  12. Scott Naylor

    I am sorry to prick your fantasy land bubble, for that is all it is, Mr Squire, but you will find that those minutes for the Twickenham Station Podium application are being reviewed by the whole committee, they were thrown out as innacurate, misleading and with things added in which did not occurr. Sadly you were not one of the 60 or so people who represent the community who were there.

    Gladly Plannning both in terms of guidance has alredy changed to stop garden grab, concreting over and ramming more houses in ever smaller inappropriate spaces, getting rid of any business in favour of ‘build it 10 stories high’ concrete blocks. Do you so dearly miss the Soviet, Stalin and Marxist era Mr Squire, or did you just do a Masters in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Use of Concrete and high-rise in Communist USSR and Eastern Bloclk countries, presumably a study of yourself? Are you really so stuck in a time warp? Fascinating.

    You are presumably implying that every planning application should be let through eventually through attrition? Again more signs of Marxism, as implies that your personal wish for pre-consultation concurs with your ex-leader and ex Councillor Lourie, that whatever the community sayds, and without any specific manifesto pledges to back it up, that you would do it anyhow, just look at the laughable CO2 tax, back to the tabletonight for a last-gasp waste of another three hours of time.

    This just about sums up the reasons for your complete Marxist left wing beliefs which we have had dressed up in Environmental clothing, when they have been nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a complete Trojan horse for concreting over anything that is green – oh yes, lets add a ‘green roof’ to make up for the mass of concrete over that large expanse of lovely green area we have just poured hundreds of tons of concrete over a nice riverside. These are the reasons for our woes in this Borough for the past 30 years. People like you who should be ashamed to live here, as you do not clearly share the reasons why most like it here, because of the history, the rubgy, and most lacking in your vocabulary Mr Squire, any sort of idea what the cues are for SUSTAINING a beautiful area.

    Luckily Conservation Areas do protect, but anything that isn’t God help us in the Lib Dem La La World of hypocrasy, ignoring of Consultation, and lack if manifesto apart from pretending you understand the true word Sustainable. You don’t.

    I hope then you will be similarly supporting the TRTG poolsite application when it comes to planning committee.

    • jmtwix

      Unfortunately, the planning committee meeting minutes bear no resemblance to the discussion that took place and the reasons for the resolution of deferrment.

      The podium was deferred:
      – because of the harmful visual impact of the massive two storey concrete slab (even when disguised with a green roof and ivy cladding)
      – because the councillors could find no satisfactory reason to approve it
      – because engineering expediency was not a reason for approval (this appeared to be Solum’s only argument for the podium)
      – because it couldn’t be judged in isolation of the main application.

      Hopefully, the deferrred minutes, currently in the public domain, will be withdrawn until a more accurate set of minutes approved by the planning committee are published.

  13. With the caveat of not having been there and having no expertise in planning, it sounds as if any deferment would require a valid reason and “elevational improvements” sounds more like a valid reason than “we want to consider it more thoroughly at a later date”. Could the committee have approved it subject to conditions on these improvements if it had wanted to?? Probably. Sometimes reasons given are not the same as underlying reasons but those who attended are better placed to comment.

    Are many or even any residents actually opposed to Network Rail & Kier developing Twickenham station? The majority of Twickenham residents are in favour of the station being developed. The objections and concerns are that the plan needs to fit in with the town both now and in the future. Not meekly accepting the first proposal that comes along from Developer Plc does not necessarily make people naive or nimbys, it just means they care about their environment and want to have a say in it however inconvenient that might be to those who would wish it to be otherwise.

  14. Re: ‘ . . The committee took the sensible view that it was not realistic to approve a giant podium separately from Solum Regeneration’s scheme for the whole station . . ‘

    No. The reason for the deferment is: ‘To seek elevational improvements to those parts of the podium visible from Mary’s Terrace.’ So when these improvements have been approved the committee will have no option but to accept the clear recommendation of the planning officer and approve the application.

    You can read the official minute at: http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/council_government_and_democracy/democratic_processes_and_events/calendar_of_meetings.htm?mgl=mgAi.aspx&ID=21551 It is a more reliable account than that given here by TRAG’s representative, whose understanding of the planning process is evidently quite limited.

    Residents will only succeed in stopping [or, more likely, scaling down] this development if they adopt a calm and realistic view of the challenge they face from the developer, backed as they are by the Rugby Union, a powerful interest accustomed to getting their own way and now evidently well in with the Council leadership.

  15. Solum can of course go ahead and build the podium and apply for retrospective permission afterwards. Which they would certainly get on appeal.

    Work on the podium [including line closures] has to start in February, I am informed. There is far too much at stake to let a planning committee playing silly-buggers hold things up.

    The Planning Officer is not at all bemused by the separation of the podium from the buildings to go on it; their report says:

    ‘ . . 15. The application for the main station redevelopment has been separated from the podium development whose implementation date is fixed to the limited time frame between October 2011 to January 2012 when piling for the podium will coincide with the planned closure of the station for platform extension . .

    Clearly a combined application for the podium with development above it would take at least 16 weeks to determine and failure to secure planning permission would compromise the limited window of opportunity during track possessions . .

    It is considered that the scheme set out in this report complies with the terms of Proposal Site T17 and in terms of impacts resulting from the constructed development adheres to local planning policy and guidance.

    . . the S106 agreement will secure an acceptable long-term appearance to the podium by an agreed stop date should the proposals for the main station development not gain planning consent . .

    RECOMMENDATION: PERMISSION subject to the completion of a Section 106 Agreement . . ‘

    Who will laugh last in this affair, I wonder? Not the hapless novice Riverside councillors, that’s for sure; they have promised far more than they can deliver.

    • Scott Naylor

      I see Chris Squire, Lib Dem webmaster, and author of the ‘Liar Liab Pants on Fire debacle of the little boy on their website that hit front page headlines after sticking offensive images on their own website, the ex-councillor and ex-Leader Lourie was forced to make the Poolsite an election issue, lost the election, lost his seat, and now his hero the Sage of Twickenham is getting himself into an awful lot of hot water by his own hand appears to be a bit lost and out of touch with the planning system.

      So Chris thinks that Network Rail can go ahead on a site and start working without planning permission? Need I state the obvious, do you think Network Rail would work completely illegally? So many areas of Health & Safety, standards, agreements on pilings, access, massive amounts of legislation would stop this at the first hurdle. What is even more worrying is that Chris Squire has no care in the world about scare-mongering local residents? How despicable can you be, saying that people can build and then ask for retospective planning permission, how far off the planet are you really Chris Squire, have you completely lost the plot?

      Gladly we have a well-developed planning system designed to stop renegades like you and your colleagues building without planning permission. Do you claim this is a good system? It has a lot of problems built in, however it is the only one we have got. Is Mr Squire suggesting a new system?

  16. jmtwix

    Its pantomime season – even at the planning committee meeting. The Council theatre was packed to overflowing with many people standing in the aisles. The audience cheered and clapped their TRAG and RUG heroes, and booed, groaned and laughed at the Solum villains’ desperate attempts to justify their lump of concrete. There was a true comedy moment when a Network Rail spokesman advised that Legoland are now in control of SW Trains (move aside Fat Controller).
    The planning officers and committee were bemused by the extraordinary application for the two storey high foundations with no apparent use (speakers weren’t allowed to mention the words ‘high-rise’ or ‘station’because these weren’t part of the application). Eventually, the plannning committee decided there were no reasons to approve the podium, that it was visually harmful, and that it should NOT be considered in isolation of the main station application. Hence, the podium was DEFERRED.
    It was an unusual meeting , but as entertaining as any pantomime I’ve seen, at the end of which the committee made a sound decision and the good guys won.
    If you missed it come back next year for a repeat performance.
    See the TRAG website for more details http://www.trag-sos.co.uk