As covered previously on our station update, rugby bosses the RFU are running a petition to gain support for a Twickenham station that is fit and ready to host hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in 2015. There’s a lot at stake. But there’s a lot at stake not just for the 2015 RWC but also for the town itself. The RFU has said it does not support any particular scheme. A sensible but rather vague approach at this stage. But it does want just about everyone it can think of with an interest in the station to work together to make it happen. It cites the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, Richmond Council, Southwest Trains and the Mayor as key players. (And the locals? It might be worth getting them onside too, but anway…)
Now the Daily Telegraph is reporting that the RFU intends to hand its petition to 10 Downing Street in April. Wooo. This is something that will provide a great photo opportunity. It will certainly trump the recent Catholic School petition related photo opportunity that took place at York House. It’s a petition frenzy round here.
It’s great that the RFU want a better station. Welcome to our world. The current station definitely needs improving but remember that it has just about coped with rugby crowds for years. Can we assume that the RFU’s dread of Twickenham station being a building site in 2015 surpasses its desire for a shiny new station?
Meanwhile, back at the planning office… do the Solum Regeneration plans cater for huge crowds on match days? It’s not immediately obvious given their lack of parking space (for queuing fans) or enough space in front of the station for, say, buses, taxis, extra-wide pavements, etc. Quite a few of the adjustments required to make the station fit for a World Cup are not things that regular station users need. So will the RFU and the IRB offer to stump up some cash as part of the legacy of RWC 2015? Legacy is a big thing these days. It’s not as if the event is short of a bob or two given that it’s often billed as the third largest international sporting event in the world.
Perhaps it’s time for yet another petition… to get some of that lovely lolly used to make Twickenham station fit for “the home of rugby” as well as the residents and businesses of London’s premier leafy suburb.