Twickenham Station Approval Lawful

And there we have it. After months of wrangling, protesting, delay and discussion all topped off with a light dusting of farce we learn that Richmond Council’s approval of Solum Regeneration’s plans for Twickenham station was lawful. This was the decision released today after last week’s judicial review.

Are you surprised? We’re not. Although approval of the plans seemed to happily ignore the Council’s own planning framework for the area (5 storeys max) and gloss over some of the weaknesses in Solum’s scheme, it always seemed a long shot that a judge would overrule El Brute’s own planning committee. We’ll now get a much needed new station, new flats and some retail space but with funding from the Mayor of London being used to ensure the station re-build does everything it needs to, it feels like we’ll be getting something that’s adequate rather than great.

So, after a delay of several months, the station redevelopment will go ahead. Solum will be happy – their scheme for Twickenham will now get built. Richmond Council will be happy – they’ve won two judicial reviews inside a month. Many locals will be happy, many will not and some over at TRAG HQ will be flipping furious. Will it be ready in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup? That seems quite ambitious… but then again it seemed ambitious even before the delay introduced by the judicial review. It would certainly be embarrassing for all if it’s still a building site in 2015 and rugby fans are faced with a temporary station that’s worse than the current one. Solum will have to get a move on. As for whether El Brute decide to go against their own planning framework for Twickenham when dealing with subsequent developments, that remains to be seen.

LINKS:
* Previous Station Article
* TRAG
* Solum Regeneration
* Richmond Council Press Release

28 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News

28 responses to “Twickenham Station Approval Lawful

  1. twickerman

    Regarding the potential profit from the Solum station development:

    1. Solum Regeneration is a partnership between NR and Kier property.

    2.Their objective is to achieve maximum profit (aka shareholder value) from development of selected NR sites. See their website if in doubt.

    3. The expected profit from the £40million redevelopment of Twickenham station at the expected margin of 20% is £8million. Yes that’s £8,000,000.00

    4. That’s the reason why they ‘need’ to build 8 & 9 storey tower blocks above the railway tracks.

    It didn’t have to be this way:

    *But, the Council chose to take £6million in S106 financial contributions from the massive development, rather than push for a smaller more functional station redevelopment with lower financial contributions.

    *Unfortunately, Twickenham was one of a limited number of stations cherry-picked by Solum for profiteering.

    *At Clapham Junction station all the walkways & stairs were stylishly upgraded and lifts were installed to all platforms WITHOUT Kier Properties residential development.

    *Why should Twickenham residents and commuters have to pay above average fare price increases ‘for NR investment’ if the increased revenue isn’t used to improve our local station?

  2. This is rubbish .anyone with. Half a brain knows the problems of building domestic properties close to or on top of railway stations is well documented but of course we can always blame the local residents for having the nerve to complain because that’s easier

  3. Twickerman any not aware of disastrous relationship between housing and railway stations vibration causing damage to properties as well as noise . Where I live several families had to be rehoused as result . Sorry but this is codswallop

  4. twickerman

    Response to cape wrath:

    – there are NO escalators in Solum’s scheme.

    – lifts were mandatory in any scheme. they are NR funded. so not exactly an amazing coup!

    – the extent of disruption is directly related to the scale of podium works over tracks. fact: the podium is massive.

    • Hi twickerman. I don’t understand what all luxury apartments stuck on top of the station . That doesn’t make any sense to me at all

    • Maybe someone could explain it to me instead of thumbs downing any thing I post

    • jimbo

      Its about paying for the station to be upgraded, which is very expensive. The profit they make from selling the flats will go to meet this cost. The land belongs to British Rail, not the Council

    • It shouldnt. Be about profit it should be about providing a public service

    • Twicktor Meldrew

      Ultimately, it isn’t about profit Bobchewie – National Rail is a not-for-profit organisation. But as Jimbo says, a profit has to be made from the flats in order to pay for the station. Once it’s built there’ll be no money left. In fact there probably won’t be enough money and the project will be ‘value engineered’ to cut costs. The fewer floors there are, the fewer Pounds will be spent on the station. We all lose out thanks to TRAG.

  5. Cape Wrath

    Response to Twickerman:
    a) Yes, we all want an improved station with a more welcoming entrance and waiting facilities.
    b) Solum’s scheme does deliver this “fundamental” need with lifts and escalators for the disabled, elderly and those with luggage.
    C) Need to see what the final programme of works has for completion dates and there will be disruption as there would be if the so-called Plan B had been put forward.
    d) TRAG’s scheme may well have been simpler, cheaper and easier to build but would have been a cosmetic refurbishment done on the cheap.
    e) How was TRAG’s plan B to be funded? Another whip round from the residents?
    f) There will of necessity be station closures, night works and service disruptions, as would have happened if the TRAG plan had been put forward and accepted. Ingeniuos to state otherwise.

  6. An observer

    I don’t often post, and have no real preference for or against the Solum scheme. I am a local resident and will be affected. But I do feel that some of the comments against the scheme are unfortunate and technically misleading. One, this was a local democratic decision – for those that disagree don’t understand the principles of democracy and should travel to Syria to understand what it means to live in a society without democracy – people need to open their eyes. Secondly the scheme is in accordance with the development plan – including the Councils policies – 5 storeys could be exceeded if certain criteria are met. The Council decided that the criteria were met, supported by the Mayor of London and Central Government and there were no grounds to quash the decision through the Courts. But even if it was contrary to the development plan, it could still be approved if there is enought justification to do so. This is how the planning system works in England.

  7. if anyone is interested in this reality thing..heres something to ponder,

    not so long ago a few ppl got together to complain about workfare as the local shops were taking on jobseekers without that pesky nonsense of paying them.
    the group went by the name of right to work..so they wanted to work bu just thought that the principle of fair days work fair days pay,,
    ok then the DM did a hatchet job on them , they were workshy, they were commies , they were a threat to societty et al,
    next up comes a furious free marketeer tory mp who sugggests the police should arrest these trouble makers who did they think they were? disgraceful..
    another tory mp complain that it was ‘spineless’ tnat theses shops caved in to the protestors…
    terrible eh?
    er the thing is the DM omitted to mention that the ‘furious’ tory mp had just produced a book where they asserted that ” ALL British workers were LAZY and bone idle”
    thats that weird reality vs DM world..thing..

  8. simonh

    As the fairly even thumbs up/thumbs down ratio above shows, much of the local population is actually quite pleased about the station redevelopment. It doesn’t look less attractive than Plan B and it is an area of the town that was in urgent need to doing up. I’m slightly dubious about the height of the thing, but we shall see. I wonder if it will look quite as tall as the number of storeys suggest, as its base will be two storeys below the current level of the bridge.

    • ok heres a thing…if the station alone got developed minus the ‘block of flats’ would that not speed up the development.
      now to me i dont see what the problem is with local opinion or objection.
      what puzzles and concerns me is that if the objectors get blamed for delays..
      surely..had the station only deal have happened then there may not have been any objections..or delays..
      so why dont these thumbs downers identify themeselves.
      what is the deal with these blocks of flats?
      and just what IS your problem with affordable housing then?
      i would love to hear..

  9. twickerman

    In response to a number of comments:

    -we all want improved station access & facilities

    -solum’s scheme fails to deliver this fundamental need

    -solum’s development will take too long to biild and be so disruptive because of the oversized 1500m2 podium for £4million.

    Solum’s scheme contains no affordable housing

    TRAGs scheme focused on the station (not 115 unaffordable flats. It was simpler, cheaper and quicker to build.

    Solum’s monster will not be finished in time for RWC2015

    Solum supporters will soon change their tune when the station is closed at weekends and/or no trains are running on Monday mornings. And when they see how ugly, inappropriate and overbearing it is.

    • twickerman as ever well done ,, you know i keep seeing this ‘objectors causing delays’ nonsense..over and over again..
      heres the worry..deep concerns about homelessness, hostels being taken over by housing associations..
      now then, if we get into the whole..’we dont want those scruffy oiks in our borough’ then what happens? ghettos of deprivation where govt can cite as feckless city to push more ‘welfare reform’ an cuts through..and feeding the damn fool nonsense of ‘look they are ALL benefit scroungers..
      disabiltu rights organsisations are really concerened as the hate crime statistics are creeping up,
      blimey its even mentioned in the levenson enquiry..about ‘disabled ppl labelled as scroungers’ and i hasten to add in cites govt complicity..
      so whats the deal here..faily mail curtain twitchers buying into the DM scare stories…?

  10. twickerman

    TRAG have 21 days to appeal the judge’s decision.

    Solum still have to submit demolition and construction method statements. From these we will learn how much disturbance we can expect over the 3 year build. There will be multiple weekend station closures, as well as road, pavement, cat park & bus stop closures.

    From the current minor works we have learnt to expect Monday morning overruns and replacement buses. These works will continue throughout Jan, Feb and Mar.

    Station closures are expected over the Easter holidays, and throughout June, and that’s just for starters.

    Station neighbours won’t get much sleep for 3 years as there will be extensive night working. We’re hoping LBRUT will buy more noise monitoring kit, because at present they have just one mic for the whole borough.!

    Happy Days! Not

    • Hi twickerman, what was the plan for all this?
      Was it meant to be a mini hotel for the rugby fans ? That would bother the neighbours i bet, rowdy parties or something.. Or did they think rugby fans would be well off to fancy buying up one of these apartments..

      I dont know it just seems odd to me., i thought what was needed was really good serviceable railway station that is useful for its local residents and can deal with high volune commuter traffic with regard to the stadium.. What do the local business close to the development think? And the pedestrians too?
      Nothing right with this picture..

    • Leave to appeal was refused by the judge – says the LBRuT press release.

      The World Cup 2015 starts on September 18 so the build will have to be done in 2 1/2 years not 3 – thanks to TRAG.

    • Why was it refused? Cant a local group object and be concerned then?

    • jimbo

      Twickerman – suppose TRAG had won the case, and Plan B (that was never put forward to Planning) was put into effect. The station would still have been rebuilt, with all the disruption you mention. It seems everyone stressed the need for a new station, but as they say “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs”.

    • True but since it would be pretty much about the station ideally it wouldnt take so long, but a station with blocks of flats stuck on top will take longer.,.

    • twickerman

      There’s a massive difference between a light & tasty omelette and a heavy lumpy supersize potato laden tortilla!

      Twickenham’s getting the latter.

    • Anonymous

      “Cat park”? As a cat lover, Twickerman I’m all in favour of the new station. It’s about time this town got a decent station. For passengers and felines alike.

    • Yes it needs it, its amazing how they cleverly gave the station the same name as the area too, well done..

    • I wonder if anyone on here have any ‘interests’ tied up in this development,, just saying.,