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.