Solum Regeneration have submitted a revised planning application for Twickenham station. They are listening to the concerns of residents and the Council, apparently. They’ve even reduced the number of housing units from 165 to 115. So far, so good. The revised plan makes each of the three main blocks one floor lower. This will mean the highest block (in Solum’s world ) is seven storeys tall. Now, they say seven but once you add on the height of the podium on which it’s built it’s actually about nine storeys as we’d understand them.

In Solum’s world counting the build height from the podium level would mean the majority of Twickenham was classed as a giant basement. You’ll have your own views about that but remember to check those flood defences first! So, is that how it works in the building industry? Or is it just a way of making the planned buildings seem lower than they’ll actually be? We think it must be the former. Yes, 100% definitely the former, Your Honour.

Back to the future
The revised – ever so slightly lower plan – reduces the number of units (good), removes the affordable housing element (not so good, but presumably it helps compensate Solum for fewer units) and, wait for it, involves the construction of a mock Georgian terrace facing onto the River Crane. Seriously, read that last part again. We’re actually going back in time folks! Apparently this came out of discussions and feedback. Fake Georgian can have its place, occasionally, but in Twickenham? A town of predominantly Victorian, Edwardian and 1930s buildings with a sprinkling of other stuff thrown in? Really? On initial reading this seemed like some kind of joke or part of some wider gameplan to make out that everyone who objects to the current plans is some kind of nimby in love with a non-existent golden age of Georgian Twickenham. But apparently not.

There’s nothing wrong with modern! Surely, most normal people just want a well designed, high quality, modern station development that is not overly high and that will meet the needs of the town for the next couple of decades. Why is that proving so difficult?

(You can see that this story doesn’t have a picture but if you can supply a photo of someone repeatedly banging their head on a desk in despair, then we might just use it.)

Solum’s revised plans on the Council site are here.
Twickenham Residents Action Group – TRAG-SOS are here.
Solum Regeneration is here.