Time to petition the RFU to help pay for station?

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.

4 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Station Development

4 responses to “Time to petition the RFU to help pay for station?

  1. Adam

    Be careful what you wish for! Although the Solum proposal is dreadful, how can anyone support a blank sheet of paper as an alternative? I’ll not be signing any petition that doesn’t define what it is proposing.

  2. A ward councillor tells me: ‘I am advised by Officers that this was the original 8 week date but as this is a major with an EIA it has a 16 week determination, so I guess sometime end May.’

    So we must wait patiently for the next act in this long running saga.

  3. ruggerbugger

    I am a great rugby fan and can’t wait for RWC2011 let alone RWC 2015. It would be great to have a new efficient station with improved access and facilities in time for RWC 2015.
    I also live in the centre of Twickenham and am well aware of the impact that match day crowds and traffic chaos have on local residents. I am also aware of the need to regenerate the whole town centre which is in a pretty sorry state.
    If the RFU/IRB were to invest a small proportion of the £300m+ profits predicted from RWC2015, Twickenham could have a fantastic station, without the inner city tower blocks proposed by Solum. Solum is a property development partnership and while their application is given any credence, development of a station suitable for Twickenham, not just for 2015 but for the next 50 years, is not feasible.
    As soon as the RFU and IRB are prepared to invest in the station, Solum can be kicked out, and Network Rail can find a suitable partner to redevelop the station. This is a fantastic legacy and PR opportunity for the RFU at the gateway to ‘the home of rugby’.
    There’s still time, but the RFU and Network Rail need to start working together ASAP or the 600,000 RWC 2015 fans coming to Twickenham will be greeted by the same tired old station and horrendous departure queues.

  4. The planning application’s ‘decision due date’ is 28/03/2011, according to http://tinyurl.com/4snfadv i.e. last Monday. 326 comments have ben received – probably a record.