Diamond Jubilee Gardens Opened

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The next step in the long awaited regeneration of Twickenham riverside took place this weekend with the opening of the Jubilee gardens on the old pool site. On Saturday an invited audience of Twickenham worthies, Borough bigwigs, people who’d helped make it all happen and Princess Alexandra out of the Royal Family did the official business of opening the gardens, while on Sunday it was time for the rest Twickenham (i.e. the unwashed masses of the twickerati) to take a look. After three decades of neglect, it’s great to see the space being used once more. Plans are now being considered for the development of the buildings on the remainder of the site. This is likely to see some strong views getting aired but let’s hope the various parties can avoid arguing themselves to a standstill (again).

So in the meantime, here’s the Borough’s main man, Lord True, the Duke of York House, doing his opening speech. BTW, he’s the one in the tent, not on the stilts! Obvs.

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Twickenham, Diamond Jubilee Gardens

LINKS:
* Previously on twickerati on the pool saga

36 Comments

by | June 24, 2012 · 12:24 pm

36 responses to “Diamond Jubilee Gardens Opened

  1. cyrus green

    As a young teenager,I worked here as a life gaurd,I visited yesterday and was sadenned deeply.
    The place looks like a barren Poodle poo park and as such will never be able to match the wonderful times I and thousands of others had there when it was a pool.
    It is a crime that this place is no longer a pool,leaving the board and tiles just makes it worse!
    If I had my way it would be dug out a made a pool again and I’m sure I’m not alone in my thinking.

  2. Definitely move the Farmers’ Market – would really add some atmosphere to what is a pretty dire experience in the car park…. would much prefer to spend an hour or so in the park, buying and scoffing yummy food!

  3. Great opening. The Tides band were phenomenal!

  4. Adam

    Having read about the opening here (otherwise I’d have not known about it at all) I went to have a look in my lunch break today. I walked down Water Lane, and when I reached the duck feeding area, I had no idea if I should turn left or right. I tried turning right as I vaguely remembered this was were the building site had been since I moved to Twickenham 20 years ago. Walking along the river, the park is still VERY difficult to find. All you can see is a high brick wall. I spotted the stairs leading up to the shop and climbed them. It wasn’t at all inviting, and I wasn’t even sure it was an official public entry to the park. So, my first impressions were very poor.
    At the top of the stairs things improved, the children’s play area was being used by a few kids/mums and there were maybe 10 people in the main park area. It all looks clean and smart with lots of benches to sit on. It really is amazing that it has taken this long just to do some landscaping of a piece of land right in the middle of Twickenham, and that with all this time, no one thought about what the park would look like from the embankment!
    I wouldn’t call it a “destination” unless you have kids. If you are looking for a nice walk in the sun, Radnor Gardens seems much nicer (in my opinion).

  5. ruggabugga

    I thought the whole point of opening up the Jubilee gardens was to encourage residents and visitors to use them, and to contribute to the regeneration of Twickenham’s jaded riverside and town centre.

    By moving the farmers market from it’s back street car park to the riverside it would boost its popularity, and because of its superb location would encourage people to stay longer and buy more (who wants to hang out in the Holly Road car park!)
    I’m sure the paved area is a similar size to the Heron Court farmers market in Richmond, and the stall holders vans can be parked in the adjacent car park.

    Come on, let’s make the most of this excellent new space, rather than limiting the number of people allowed in and stressing about marks on the paving stones (which unfortunately were not treated).

    Additionally, it would be great if the gardens could be opened up to the Embankment, rather than fenced off. Embankment access needs to be improved and tiered grass banking with more seating introduced to replace the hard landscaping.

  6. I thought it was fantastic and had a lovely time. I’m thinking of starting a petanque tornament. Who is in?

    • Anonymous

      Oh yeah!

    • botogol

      @monkeybanjo is a Twickenham Petanque Club feasible? (haven’t been down there yet). I would work with you to start one

    • Boss

      Guaranteed at least 3 members.

    • OK! First meeting of the Twickenham Petanque club (unofficial) 11 am, Sunday 1st July. I’ll bring my set of boules. We might even slope off to the pub for a lunch afterwards…

    • LEONARD GRIFFITHS

      Came and briefly played petanque last sunday: excellent venue and terrain. Would love to play in any tournaments held there. Alternatively, we have group of regular players up on Palewell Common, East Sheen. How about getting together? Perhaps a home/away regular fixture sometime soon. Cannot make todays get-together sadly, but keep me informed for future friendly games etc..

    • LEONARD GRIFFITHS

      How did the proposed get-together go yesterday, to play petanque? Am very interested in playing in any tournaments to be played on your new “terrains”. Alternatively I could bring along some of the regular players who currently meet up weekly on Palewell Common, East Sheen. Those of our group who’ve visited your facilities – but as yet have not played there – are very impressed. Keep me informed, please. We all have our own boules and enthusiastically practice and play amongst ourselves – but lack serious [or friendly] competition!

    • It went really well, we had a good few players and people around us seemed interested and wanted to play. It rained off and on, but there was a good atmosphere and we had a good time.

      Unfortunately I wasn’t able to come this Sunday, but I want to maintain a weekly presence there at 11:00 am every Sunday so please come along next week!

      At this stage, I’d just like to see how we go and play for fun, but I know there are others with plans afoot to take this further.

    • Second Petanque meetup tomorrow at 11:00 in Jubilee gardens. See you all there!

  7. ruggabugga

    The opening of the gardens was so popular that some people were seen climbing over the locked gate near the stage.

    I’d be interested to know when the farmers market will be relocated from Holly Road to the gardens?

    • Never, I hope! There isn’t enough room for the stallholders’ vans plus the stalls – unless the size of the market were severely curtailed, which I as a regular weekly market shopper would definitely oppose. Besides, is that lovely pale stone up to market levels of vehicle traffic? There were black tyre marks on it this morning from the vans that came in to remove the marquees and chairs.

    • Simon H

      If there are already black tyre marks on the stone, perhaps one may as well have a farmer’s market, as the pavement doesn’t sound like it’s going to stand up to the elements for very long. I’m being facetious, but it is important that the new park is more than just a strip of grass, flowers and (yet another) cafe. It needs to be a real local hub and relocating the farmers’ market there would be a good way to get the ball rolling.

    • Joy P

      Agree. The Holly Road car park is hardly conducive to the atmosphere that a good farmers market, IMO, should have. I’ll be far more likely to have a browse if it’s in Jubilee Gardens than the, er, concrete car park!

    • Horace Walpole

      Yvonne’s right, as usual. It’s far too small. Where would the stallholders put their vans? What about moving the Market to the Embankment, on the road between the Gardens and the River? Much more space and the river, the Gardens, the cafe and the Market would make a great attraction together. Traffic on the Embankment would have to be sorted, though.

    • Anonymous

      There is room, if some of the vans were left in the side street behind the park. The Embankment would be good, too, but you’d have to move all the Eel Pie resident’s cars.

    • I think it is too small for a farmer’s market and think the car park on the riverside is a good alternative. From my visits to the Farmer’s Market, I’ve never found much variety or good produce there, bread which goes stale in the day in which it is bought, lots of meat (which I don’t eat) and expensive vegetables. I’m always reminded of the Armstrong and Miller song on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw_orOZ0OV0

    • Adam

      I’m sorry, but all this talk about Jubilee Gardens being too small for the farmer market seems to miss the point that the farmers market is tiny! The reason I rarely go to it is that there isn’t enough farmers, nor enough market.

    • There is a problem with the tidal flooding: the Embankment’s inundated on every spring tide (ie twice a day for a few days around every full moon). Though level varies, to a greater or lesser extent, it would make market access dodgy for vendors and for customers.

      Another thought: the farmers’ market is every week, rain or shine, and it’s built up a base of regular customers who know where it is and when it is. If it were moved to the poolsite, it would prevent other activities or events taking place there, especially ones that need marquees, lights, etc that need to be set up and left in place.

    • Robert Youngs

      It would be shame to clutter up the new gardens with the market, even though it’s only once a week. And Yvonne’s point about tyre marks is very apt. Also, her comment about regular flooding (below) is a show-stopper for using the Embankment, so let’s leave it where it is – it seems to work well there.
      By the way, if anyone’s wants to know more about the history of the Embankment (and it is a surprisingly interesting story) the Twickenham Museum has just published “The Making of Twickenham’s Embankment” at £4.50.

  8. I was particularly impressed with not being able to walk out onto the street the river side but had to go back and around and then walk around the temp toilet and onto the road into the oncoming traffic….and a jobsworth to tell me that as well..It may have been an event (and I do them for a living) but I don’t ever recall legally having to have one gate only…

    A shame that such a trivial thing really got my goat…maybe I should have just counted to ten and remembered life is too short..

  9. Anonymous

    I think the new park looks nice and really makes you appreciate the river more. I’m not convinced that the park that would have come with new, upmarket housing would have been worse, but there we are. Council needs to jazz up the rest of the area now (and they intend to, so fingers crossed).

  10. ruggabugga

    Nice jacket m’Lord! Any one for croquet?

    Many more people would have attended if the jobsworths on the gate had let them in. Many people gave up at the prospect of having to queue to get into the ‘public’ gardens.
    Shame on the Council for turning residents away from the grand opening of the gardens, particularly as there was only a sparse crowd inside. No doubt they will blame it on the Health & Safety party.

    Hopefully, the gardens will not continue to be guarded.

    • They’re certainly not guarded this morning, and everyone could get in yesterday! I’ve just been over to see how things are, and there are lots of people strolling around looking at the place, plus the kids from a nursery school cavorting on the grass and mums and kids in the play area.

    • jimbo

      JUst for the record, as Sunday’s proceedings are classified legally as an “event”, there had to be a Temporary Event Notice (this is the law of the land). This meant that only a maximum of 499 persons are allowed on the site at any one time. That is why it was necessary to limit entry at some stages of the afternoon.. From now on, any number of people can go in. The footfall was about 2800 on Sunday.

    • Gareth Roberts

      Hello Jimbo

      There were two alternative approaches that the council could have taken

      While you’re right to say that a Temporary Event Notice would have limited numbers to 499 that would only be a limit around a distinct and specific area – so if there was a bar/food area at one end of the garden and the band at the other as long as it could be reasonably assumed that there would be enough circulation of guest you could apply for a TEN for both areas which would therefore allow greater access to the site as a whole

      Alternately there is the Time Limited Premises License which allows over 500 people to events which will hold entertainment

      As for the Grand Opening on Saturday – well that was the choice of the administration. They issued 200 invitations according to the Richmond and Twickenham Times.

    • ruggabugga

      Gareth and/or jimbo,
      Could you please explain why there were bouncers on the jubilee garden gates on sunday, but no such crowd control measures for the twickenham festival events on the enbankment over the 3 previous weekends or for the twickenham carnival.
      all seems very inconsistent to me.

  11. Good, wasn’t it? I was really impressed by the band and singers from Orleans Park School – this is the second year I’ve heard them, and they’re excellent. And the fun and games, and stiltwalker and unicyclist, added to the general merriment.