Twickenham Jubilee Gardens to Open

If you thought that Twickenham’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations were over, you can think again. The big one has yet to come! Well, if not the biggest or most timely, then it’s certainly the most Twickenham-centric. 32 years after Twickenham Baths closed its doors to the public (and yes, locals insist it was called Twickenham Baths and not Twickenham Swimming Pool or Lido) the transition of a large chunk of the site from wasteland to spanking new green space is almost, nearly, just about ready. You already know that the fate of the site has been source of debate, argument and large amounts of inaction for years. The redevelopment plans favoured by the previous Lib Dem El Brute administration were controversial and, it’s probably fair to say, played a part in Serge Lourie & Co getting the heave ho from York House in the May 2010 election.

The new Brutes, led by Lord True, the Blue Baron, made a commitment to do something with the site and although the current plan might not be the most innovative and exciting in terms of maximising the regeneration opportunities for the whole riverside, it’s a damn sight better than more years of bickering and inactivity. Credit is also due to Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group and others for helping to move it forward.

“In these difficult times” a public garden for all the community seems like a decent interim solution to the pool site problem and need not preclude a more ambitious town centre / riverside plaza development further down the line.

The official opening of the Diamond Trubilee Gardens is on Saturday 23rd June when an invited audience of 200 will get to take a turn about the grounds with the Blue Baron himself and Princess Alexandra off of the Royal Family. The regular members of the twickerati (that’s us normal folks, btw) will have to wait until Sunday 24th to gain access but we will have the advantage of seeing some live music as well as stalls and entertainment with a traditional 1930s showground theme (but without the mass unemployment and looming threat of war, we hope). The opening event on the 24th will run from 11.00am to 6.00pm.

And while you’re waiting, here are some pictures taken of the transformation of the site over the last few months…

The derelict site

The diving board

Clearing the site

Early days

Plants going in

Paving at the ready

Nearly there

Really nearly there

LINKS:
* LBRuT / El Brute Press Release

Riverside links:
* http://twickenhamriverside.org
* http://www.rivercentre.org.uk
* http://friendsoftwickenhamriverside.org.uk

Previously on twickerati:
* Inane reference to Spandau Ballet
* The secret garden

12 Comments

Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

12 responses to “Twickenham Jubilee Gardens to Open

  1. Walkinthepark

    Am I the only way one who looks at that diving board and wonders how long before a drunken teenager takes a dive?

  2. Carl

    Loving the thumbs down to the woman querying why exactly the greenest borough in London with its extreme shortages of housing and upcoming shortage of school places, along with a town centre that’s a disaster at the moment needs more open spaces.

    Isn’t Marble Hill park, maybe 10 minutes walk from this site, or for those going further afield Moormead, Richmond, or Kew Gardens enough?

    Some people really need to re-evaluate exactly why they’re living within the M25 and perhaps note that they’re in the largest city in Europe not out in the sticks where land is plentiful much as they’d like to make out they are.

    This site really could’ve been far more and offered far more benefit to the population than this. A really wasted opportunity on a prime site that would’ve been extremely appropriate for several other purposes.

  3. Gareth Roberts

    And a mere three weeks behind the main Jubilee celebrations.

  4. Ben

    Yes, good news and a good interim or long term solution that keeps future options open. Anyone know if there are any plans to undertake restoration of the embankment in front of the pool site, along the same lines as the “esplanade” downstream of Eel Pie Island bridge. I think that’s a considerable success. Would be good to see more riverside events throughout the summer. How about locating some or all of the farmers market into the car park behind Santander, freeing up the parking in Holly Road.

  5. Boss

    Great news. But are the gardens open to everyone, or will 90% of the local population be excluded?

    • Carl

      I think the gardens are open to everyone but would imagine the majority of the local population have little interest in more open space. Good vote winner for the politically more active and retiring / retired baby boomers and older though.

  6. Wendy

    Um another garden….

  7. leelcampbell

    Great stuff! Thanks for the behind scenes update and pics. The public opening also coincides with the Eel Pie Island Open Studio weekend – 23 -24th June Studios open to the public 11 – 6pm All welcome.