Judicial Review II: Twickenham Station

As if one judicial review wasn’t enough for Richmond Council, there’s only a-bloody-nother one coming along straight afterwards! It’s a bit like trains isn’t it? Funny dat, because this week will see El Brute back in court where its approval of Solum’s Twickenham station development plans will be subjected to the scrutiny of a judge.

You can check the background to this whole saga elsewhere (on here) but the gist of is:
– General rumblings about the need to redevelop the station area;
– Council sets framework for Twickenham development which includes a maximum of 5 storeys at Twickenham Station;
– Solum Regeneration submit plans for double this height (at the highest point), lowering it to eight and introducing a ‘Georgian terrace’ after some consultation;
– Although everyone wants a better station and there is some support for the scheme, many residents object as they regard the scheme as too high and placing more weight on building flats than creating a great station and transport interchange suitable for the next 30 years;
– Council asks its ‘Twickenham Advisory Panel’ to write a report on the plans which they do and which turns out, apparently, to express concern about Solum’s scheme. D’oh;
– Twickenahm Residents’ Action Group (TRAG) put forward ideas for alternative schemes;
– In December 2011 El Brute’s Planning Committee approves the Solum plan. Did they believe the approval was in line with the Council’s policies? Were they worried that further delay would risk the station would not be completed in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup? Was there a real risk that Solum would walk away if asked to amend their plans? Or, were they simply very happy with the plan and have no reasons to object? Who knows? Well they do, obviously. Perhaps it was a bit of everything. Who knows? etc, etc.

So what now?
TRAG are hoping to have the Council’s decision thrown out by the Court and to require Solum to submit a new application to be reviewed in line with the Council’s planning framework. TRAG are also pushing their own Plan B as an alternative idea for what could be done with the site – low-rise, with some development but with priorities focused on making a station suitable for rugby crowds, commuters and other users. For their part, Solum continue to state the benefits of their vision for a better station including ‘a new ticket office located in a modern contemporary building’ and creating ‘a public plaza with restaurants and shops’.

The case will be in court on Thursday and Friday of this week.

LINKS
* TRAG
* Solum Regeneration

25 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Station Development

25 responses to “Judicial Review II: Twickenham Station

  1. UPDATE: Friday 21st Dec.
    The judge has ruled in favour of El Brute.
    Latest item on this issue is here: http://wp.me/pVBg2-29y

  2. twickerman

    The JR judge will present his report this Friday morning 21/12/12. Will this be the end of the world for Lord True & Solum or TRAG & local residents?

    • The ‘posh flats stuck on top of railway station’ is something that has been going on in other places so i hear. Is this more widespread?

      Surely local residents and business have sone kind of input?

      Whats the score so far? Local residents vs propert developers?

  3. Thank you that means a lot to me.
    At the moment i am in temp accomadation in se london attached to a hostel for homeless people. So of course affordable social housing matters to me.
    Oddly enough i am trying to move to.. Guess where? Richmond. Am surprised to hear about the comments on this. Any ideas why.

    • By the way i am no beer swilling chav yobbo , ie the daily mail stereotype, just a lonely middle aged chap who has a disability and with an interest in the arts and creativity and have an interest in photography. And willing to contribute to soceity and help others who are less fortunate.

    • twickerman

      I wish I knew which TWATs (see below) have given bobchewie the thumbs down because whoever you are you’re a disgrace.
      Please show some him #Twickmas spirit?

      I concur with bob – whatever happened to the TAP team? I wonder if they have given evidence at the JR today? I hope so.
      If he hasn’t done so already I imagine Lord True will be putting them out to pasture ASAP.

    • Thank you twickerman that is very kind of you indeed. You see homelessness isnt something that only happens to someone else.
      It can affect anyone. In my case my family died and as result I was dumped into nightmare situation where I was attacked by nasty neighbours hence me being placed into the hostel. One of my concerns of late that i I came across was some housing associations taking over homeless hostels in order to gain more business for themselves but leaving out the duty of care in the contract.
      So , us homeless and almost homeless arent feckless layabouts but just ordinary people whose circumstances have had a tragic effect on them and just like anyone else looking for hope and fairness in the world.
      Again thank you twickerman

  4. Cant they just have a pretty good working station? And thats it… The plaza might put other local shops out of business..
    Maybe its just more money for the developers..

    • simonh

      My sentiments exactly, Bob. I can see the logic of having some flats, but no idea why they need an entire complex.

    • Thanks , it seems out of proportion to whats actually needed.

    • Simonh, may i ask what might seem an odd question.
      That is: since the rugby stadium being a main focal point in the area. Was there any idea of building a mini hotel complex for the rugby fans visiting the area who were,, er bit tired out after the matches and having difficulties finding their way home, so to speak, or maybe a few rugby fans with s bit of spare cash looking for somewhere to live or ‘invest ‘ in?
      I’m not sure what the thinking was on this proposal,

  5. twickerman

    Maybe, just maybe, the £6million (yes £6,000,000) financial contribution that Solum offerered LBRUT was enought to persuade the 5 Cons’ Cllrs on the planning committee to ignore their own planning guidelines.

    For details please see p7 of the S106 legal agreement between Solum, NR and LBRUT at bit.ly/twickenhamstation_s106

    FYI, in summing up, the planning committee chairman asked the committee to consider whether this ‘financial contribution’ outweighed the harm the development would do to the local environment.

    Result: Planning Guidelines Ignored; Big Money Won 5 (Cons) : 4 (LDs)

    • Ignitionnet

      Well there was a pretty big bill for land for a Catholic school to be paid for.

      Regardless of opinions on planning guidelines, and mine on Richmond’s can’t be expressed in polite company, they shouldn’t be flexed in return for S106 monies. While the SPD was a ridiculous exercise in bureaucracy adding to the already absurdly asinine planning regulations in the area it was what it was and shouldn’t be waived in return for cash.

      There is a desperate need for housing in the borough and this development fulfills none of it, being as it will a borrow-to-let wet dream of hugely overpriced flats housing City workers for hugely overpriced rents or being left empty for capital gains.

    • Yeah affordable social housing is whats needed not ‘luxury apartments’
      Far too many of them everywhere.

    • Ignitionnet

      Can I just say it’s absolutely priceless that that comment is rated -2.

      Affordable social housing isn’t just for immigrants and the unemployed as the Daily Mail might claim it’s for. It would for example be quite handy to house those people who work in the borough and have to commute from outside as the average job in the borough pays about 30k, nowhere near enough to afford the housing costs.

    • jimbo

      do we actually know what price the flats are going to be (“hugely overpriced”)? Please tell us

    • Sorry but i keep seeing these ‘luxury apartments’ appearing all over the place. Either new builds or conversions eg local pub (!!) and wondered what on earth was going on, when we are hearing a great deal of concern about homelessness on the increase.
      I dont think luxury apartment quite fulfil that need im afraid. Sorry..

    • Ignitionnet

      They’re in Twickenham, and in a good location in Twickenham. In common with the rest of the housing in Twickenham they’ll be absurdly overpriced and bear no remote resemblance to prices Mr and Mrs Average in the area can pay. It’s a bit of a mess when the average flat is, as of September 2012, over 6.6 times the median household income.

      They’ll be sold for the most part to investors from abroad off-plan or those born at the right time who may have purchased property here when it averaged a mere ~4 times median income rather than the present ~12 times and hence have considerable equity or property owned outright to leverage for the purchase.

      If you have any doubt as to how expensive these will be consider the amount of money Solum agreed to provide for S.106 and think about that in terms of contribution per housing unit. They are expecting to do that and make a substantial profit margin and there is absolutely no reason to think they won’t.

      I’m fairly sure that in a prime location in a borough where, thanks to extremely low supply and high demand largely from those already with substantial housing wealth, the average flat is over 300k Solum won’t be pricing below market levels out of the kindness of their own hearts.

    • Oh, regarding ‘luxury apartments’ do people actually live in them? What I mean is that ecery time I pass them they all look a bit empty to me or only a few people reside in them , its been that way for ages now in fact years. Tragic when we are constantly hearing concerns about homelessness a lot.
      Someone even suggested some of these properties might be connrcted to ‘nominee directors’ and money laundering.

      Any ideas.. Been puzzling me for a bit now..

    • twickerman

      Oooops! Here’s the full weblink:

      https://bitly.com/twickenhamstation_s106

  6. Gareth Roberts

    A small but important correction

    “Council asks its ‘Twickenham Action Panel’ to write a report on the plans which they do and which turns out, apparently, to express concern about Solum’s scheme. D’oh”

    Actually this was the Twickenham ADVISORY Panel. They were ushered in with a degree of fanfare. Residents expected. The Panel advised. The panel was ignored.