Station Decision to Face JR

No, we’re not talking Dallas although this saga could warrant its own mini-series, we’re talking Twickenham station. El Brute’s approval of the plans to redevelop the station is to go to a judicial review. You will recall that Solum Regeneration’s scheme was given the nod by Richmond’s Planning Committee in December 2011 despite vocal opposition from Twickenham Residents Action Group (aka TRAG) and others, and despite it not appearing to be in line with the height guidelines in the Council’s own planning framework published when it came into office in 2010.

TRAG sought the judicial review on the grounds that when approving the plans, the Council:
– did not take account of a report produced by the Twickenham Advisory Panel, that the Council itself had commissioned. (Whatever did happen to the TAP?)
– did not take account of the ‘policy-compliant’ option for a low-rise development, Plan B
– did not get adequate commitment from the developers to complete the scheme before the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

The Court has agreed that there are grounds for further scrutiny of the decision on the first two of those three points and approval has now been granted for a judicial review to go ahead. The hearing is set to take place in December, one month after the JR on the Catholic school. Two very different Twickenham issues, both controversial and now both subject to judicial reviews. Running a council would be so simple if it were not for other people, eh? It’s certainly going to be a busy time for the Council’s legal team in the run up to Christmas. Meanwhile TRAG are seeking donations to fund their own legal costs.

LINKS:
* TRAG
* Richmond Council (home page)
* Richmond Council

7 Comments

Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Station Development

7 responses to “Station Decision to Face JR

  1. The JR on the school issue will be on November 15 – 16.

  2. twickerman

    Well done TRAG and good luck in Court.

    I’ve just read the S106 legal agreement between the Solum and the Council for the station redevelopment.
    It specifies the ‘financial contributions’ the developer will make to the Council. These include smallish sums for transport, public realm and education and two massive sums for AFFORDABLE HOUSING that come to a total of £5.7million (or £5,780,437.00 to be precise).
    It is now clear that the only reason why Solum ‘need’ to build 115 unaffordable flats in 8, 9 and 4 storey blocks is so that they can make this huge ‘financial contribution’ to the Council.
    With this knowledge, TRAG’s low rise Plan B looks an even better option because it actually includes affordable homes.

    Hopefully, the judge will rule that the Council were wrong not to consider Plan B, and also that the Council were wrong to have suppressed the highly critical TAP report.

    See page 7 of S106 on LBRUT website: http://bit.ly/PU8erF

    • jimbo

      The link doesn’t work; however, I find myself confused by the argument presented here. Much of the controversy about Solum’s plan seems to be about the fact that there is no affordable housing. Now Twickerman is very upset that the S106 involves “massive sums for affordable housing”. Please explain!

    • twickerman

      jimbo,

      The link normally works, but LBRUT are doing maintenance work on the planning apps system this weekend.

      The issue with the £5.7million contribution is that Solum have to build 115 unaffordable homes to generate so much excess profit. That’s why the residential blocks are 8 and 9 storeys high, and station improvements are minimal

      Also don’t you think it’s strange that LBRUT haven’t advised how and where they will use the funds?

      Perhaps they could use it for affordable homes at the sorting office site.

    • jimbo

      sorry, but I still don’t follow your criticism. There would not be the large sum you mention – to be made available for affordable housing – had Solum not made this profit. In fact, the larger the profit, the more S106 there would be, surely, thus more cash available for affordable housing later. Not sure what you mean by “excess” in this context, either. My understanding ( I may be wrong, please correct me if so), is that profits are calculated in terms of the overall cost – I think about 17%. Have you any evidence for that statement?

    • twickerman

      The link’s working now:

      £6m for Council + £4m for podium = £10million costs before phase2 station/residential/retail development starts.

    • twickerman

      Unfortunately, LBRUT planning info is still out of action this morning…..as are Twickenham to London trains.

      You can expect similar station closures and train service interruptions during 2-3 year Solum station construction program.