Solum Regeneration’s plans for developing the Twickenham station site go before a special edition of El Brute’s planning committee on Monday 19th December. You can drop by if you want. Could it result in an early Christmas present for the developers who want to build up the site with 115 flats (no parking, no affordable housing), retail space and, because we’ve been good girls and boys this year, squeeze in a new station building too? Ho ho ho. It’s an issue that’s been rumbling for a long, long time and despite valiant opposition from the resistance fighters of TRAG this could mark the point at which the Solum runaway train becomes unstoppable. Whoa! It’s true that the fat lady is warming up her vocal cords but she hasn’t actually started singing yet. There are a few more hoops to go through, conditions to be met and no doubt plenty of experts looking for loopholes and challenges. It’s going to be an interesting debate, especially hearing how the planners’ recommendation for permission to be granted stacks up against the Council’s own planning SPD framework for the area which advocated a maximum of 4 or 5 storeys on the station site. Spoilum’s plans more or less double that. So, although it might not yet be all over, approval on Monday will mark another milestone along the road of developers getting their way in the face of opposition from vocal locals. And remember folks, everyone wants to see Twickenham station improved, it’s all about the how.
We’ll not go back over the issues in detail here, you know them already. But if you’ve not seen TRAG’s Plan B it’s on their website. It’s definitely worth a look and shows a good contrast between what Solum are proposing and what an alternative option of a low-rise development focused on improving the station facilities might involve. Some might regard it as something more in line with what the town and rugby crowds might need rather than what the Network Rail / Kier joint venture machine wants.
For many the 19th of December could mark a low point in the development of Twickenham whereas those in the pro-development lobby might take the view that from here, the only way is up… hi-rise stylee!
The meeting is at York House on 19th December at 7.00pm. It is open to the public and will also be webcast on the Council’s site.