High Street Update: May 2012

You like living in Twickenham but there’s always something missing, isn’t there? You have that nagging doubt, a doubt that never truly leaves you. Richmond Road, King Street, London Road, Church Street; wherever you walk you’ve always got that sense of something not being quite right, of something lacking. You can’t quite place it. Is it a some kind of repressed memory from your seemingly happy childhood fighting to get out, or does it stem from the fleeting glimpses into a dark corner of your mind where missed opportunities are piled high in dusty crates stamped “unfulfilled potential”. Chillax dudes! It’s much more straightforward than that. What’s troubling you is your subconscious concern about the lack of cafes, the dearth of charity shops and absence of estate agents in town. Breathe out. Here’s the latest high street update to fill you in and, we hope, bring peace to your troubled mind…


T-Break cafe on York Street? Ever go in there? Well you’re too late now anyway, it’s closed. The facade has been freshly painted in a kind of dark pink colour and we await the opening of the York Street Cafe in its place. If you’re looking for it, it’s just opposite Cafe Coffee Day and round the corner from Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Lulu’z and Cafe Zizou. That’s it, close to Church Street. OK, it’s at 8 York Street. Give it a go.

On Heath Road, Laura Ashley has closed. You’ll now have a go elsewhere to accessorise your home. Or maybe you could pick up some second-hand Laura Ashley gear from the Sue Ryder charity shop that’s replacing it. Although Sue Ryder is a great charity you have to admit that a Shaun Ryder charity shop would be a lot more entertaining: “I would’ve sold that Ben Elton book but I was too off me face to ring it up on the till. Oi Bez! Stop waving those roller skates around! They ain’t maracas, ya know. You’re doin’ me fookin’ ‘ed in”. But times have changed.

New in town, Websters estate agent

Further up Heath Road, a new estate agent has opened going by the name of Websters. It’s opposite Tesco Express in the building that housed the pop-up literary salon and some time prior to that, dare we say it, an estate agent.

Heading towards Hampton Hill? As if you would! But if you do go in that direction then a new hair & beauty salon Purple Rose has opened on Hampton Road in the parade of shops opposite the Prince Albert pub.

And finally, there’s bad news about Langton’s bookshop on Church Street. It seems competition from Amazon, e-books and the general state of the economy have caught up with it. The shop is set to close in June. It’s a real shame that one of Twickenham’s better shops, complete with cafe and helpful staff, is to shut but it’s hard to compete on price when you’ve got town centre overheads to cover while Amazon sells books in bulk from a warehouse or sends them to your Kindle via your own broadband connection. A real loss for the high street that one.

UPDATE: And yet more bad news. Par Ici, the “made in Twickenham” shop on Church Street, is closing its doors at the end of May. Rising bills and tough trading conditions have brought 16 years of promoting local arts and crafts people to an end. It’s hoped that there will be some way to continue to provide an outlet for products with local connections but at the moment it’s still a case of watch this space. Or at least, watch Par Ici’s Facebook page. We wish Michele the best of luck for finding another way to carry on the Par Ici spirit.

26 Comments

Filed under High Street Updates

26 responses to “High Street Update: May 2012

  1. Having just wandered through a very quiet Church Street today, I have a question?

    Why not move the Farmer’s Market to Church Street on a Saturday. Only those in the know would find it in the Holly Road Car Park anyway.

    Shoot me down if this has been tried and failed or isn’t possible.

    A thriving Church Street has to be key to getting Twix back on track.

  2. Laura H

    Belmont Bakery in Queens Road is under New Managment and pest control are currently in there fumigating,….

  3. David

    Camilleri & Associates IFA, also shut down. They were in that big building next to Arch Deacon Cambridge School. They sold their clients to the South African Sanlam Bank.

  4. Simon H

    Anyone get that leaflet through their door at the weekend promoting Twickenham business. It said something like “Twickenham has a proud tradition of long-standing shops.” One of the examples given was Langton’s. Oh dear.

  5. Boss

    Par-ici closing now. There has to be something seriously wrong with the way rents are set in Twix that shops like this can’t survive.

  6. And in case you haven’t seen the update above, Par Ici on Church Street will be closing at the end of May after 16 years of trading. Another sad loss for independent shops in the town.

  7. Nooooo not the bookshop 😦 it was my favourite and I bought lots of books there, and the cafè was nice as well! Very sad!

  8. Anonymous

    This is a great great loss to Church Street.

    • Town Resident

      Sad to hear Langton’s is closing after all these years. A small independent bookshop that includes a cafe is going to be up against tough competition from the two major chain booksellers and the numerous cafes in the town, as well as online book-buying.
      Having a limited general stock and customers reading books for sale in the cafe, but not buying them, is a major problem too. Look what happened to Borders.

  9. Laura

    Not that I’m a person who spends their free time shopping but a decent clothes shop would be nice. Or a gym (the womens only one above M and S is only open during the day and therefore no use to most people). Or how about they get rid of the dodgy amusement arcade once and for all.

  10. Gawain

    I will miss small independent bookshops but Amazon’s pricing, breadth of stock and next day delivery (how long for a bookshop to ‘get it in’) will kill them all off. Sad.

    • Jo Batchelor

      Many indie bookshops are able to get books overnight – an order sent by 6pm can be delivered the next day – often before lunch

  11. Simon H

    Very sad about Langtons. And Clinton’s will be next, judging by today’s news.

  12. rickyandbianca

    I have only recently started to enjoy Langtons but I don’t really read books being in publishing myself so the coffee bar was the only reason for visiting…However I did buy the odd guide book from there as well as children’s presents and always made it my first port of call.

    The coffee shop was turning into a library with folk buying coffee and helping themselves to a book to read, returning it nicely fingered…hardly a good business model….A great shame but hardly surprising..

    As for the Estate agents opposite Tesco, well we don’t need another but I applaud them for refurbing the shop and making that end of the high street a little bit less…erm..of a dump.

    And another charity shop….what can I say, well I can say a lot but I enjoy this place so I better not.

  13. @upend

    @monkeybanjo – that’s just silly. I’m really hoping for some sort of Indian restaurant or a bar that only opens for a couple of weeks around big match days.

    Or, following to a conclusion, a charity wine bar run by Shaun Ryder called “Black Grape”

  14. Dani Russell

    Really really sad news about Langtons, I love going there with my children to use the cafe and buy books. Can’t we get Waterstones to close instead and support local?! If only it were that easy…

  15. This from twitter yesterday. Kew, Sheen & Barnes bookshops interesting take on tax, “Think before you click”. A small book shop chain pays more tax in the UK than Amazon…. https://twitter.com/#!/sunny_hundal/status/199840481478328320/photo/1

    • Horace Walpole

      It’s not strictly true that Amazon paid no tax last year. They may have avoided Corporation Tax (which is, in itself, scandalous), but their employees will have paid Income Tax and National Insurance and VAT is payable on all those Kindle downloads. It’s still not a level playing-field.
      I don’t think Langton’s helped themselves by de-stocking and opening the cafe. It wasn’t very good and, as someone else has noted, it was full of people reading books with no intention of buying. Not a good commercial decision.
      It’s a great shame, whatever the reasons.

  16. Very sad news about Langtons, but they haven’t had a great selection of books for some time now – ever since the cafe expansion at the back.

  17. I’ve always loved Langtons but, to be fair, in recent years they’ve rather made a point of not selling the kind of books that actually.. y’know.. sell.

  18. Laura

    Where was there a Laura Ashley in Twickenham??

  19. So sad about Langtons. I did buy from there instead of Amazon.

    Any word on what will replace it? I guess this, in the following order: Cafe, estate agent, charity shop, flats.

    Ideally what should replace it: inclusive primary school, inclusive secondary school, men’s trouser shop, enlarged Twickenham Station (without the flats on top).