Street Scene & Highways TWAP – UPDATED

UPDATE:
So there we have it, the plans on the tricky issues get the green light at the Overview & Scrutiny Committee and now go back to the Council’s Cabinet for approval. However, the two controversial issues within the Street Scene and Highways Improvement plan have still not been resolved to the satisfaction of some. Moving the bus stops out of King Street to nearby roads looks set to proceed despite opposition from a local charity representing residents with mobility problems. And the battle of the bike lanes rumbles on. El Brute have made changes to the original plan (which would have seen cycle lanes disappear in King Street and London Road) by re-instating ‘advisory’ cycle lanes through the town centre but it still does not meet the expectations of those who want to make Twickenham a really great place for cyclists.

And in case you’re wondering what an advisory cycle lane is, it’s generally marked by a dashed line and cars are not supposed to drive in it… unless they really need/want to. This differs from a mandatory cycle lane which is something that cars have to keep out of. It’s da law. So, there has been some movement on the issue but the cycling lobby are still not impressed and there’s plenty of detail still to be worked through.

Meanwhile the other aspects of the plan such as advanced stops for cyclists at traffic lights, a 20mph limit, better street furniture, wider pavements, more bike parking all look set to proceed as previously planned, which is definite progress.

PREVIOUSLY:
A Richmond Council meeting tonight (7th Jan) will see the next step on the road to improving Twickenham town centre. And when we say ‘on the road’ we really do mean it. That’s because El Brute’s ‘street scene and highways improvement’ plan goes before its Environment, Sustainability and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee tonight (yes, that’s what it’s really called). It’s all linked to the TWickenham Action Plan…

You will remember that this is the plan to improve the town centre by improving street furniture, widening the pavements, raising the road surface and getting rid of the bus lanes in King Street, moving the bus stops to nearby roads and changing (i.e. getting rid of) the cycle lanes in central Twickenham. Most people agree with most aspects of the plan – there’s some good stuff in it – but it’s also come in for criticism on two main fronts, first in the shape of those who think moving the bus stops will make transport interchange more difficult, especially for those with mobility problems, and second, from cyclists who would like to see better provision for bike riders rather than a reduction in the provision of cycle lanes.

Unsurprisingly it’s the bus stops and bike lanes which will get the most focus at tonight’s meeting. Moving the bus stops out of King Street and into surrounding roads, most specifically York Street, looks set to get the nod. However the cycle lane removal has been the subject of much heated debate and the Council has indicated some willingness to listen to alternative proposals. How far that actually manifests itself in the white heat of a local government committee meeting remains to be seen.

The outcome of the meeting will mark an important step to the plan becoming reality so check back soon for more exciting news from the London Borough of Richmond Environment, Sustainability and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee. You know it makes sense.

LINKS:
* Environment, Sustainability & Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee
* Richmond Cycling Campaign
* Street Scene Consultation Info (now closed for comments)

A bit of a squeeze

A bit of a squeeze (c. twickerman)

41 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

41 responses to “Street Scene & Highways TWAP – UPDATED

  1. Sal Magundi

    While we’re at, can someone please weed out all that signage (and perhaps even the multiple traffic lights at the same junction) which clutters the high street?! There are so many signs, the really important ones like speed limits go unnoticed.

    And…better street furniture is all well and good, but in the wrong place it’s just another obstacle. Witness the pavement outside Waitrose: bike racks and bikes, bus stop and queuers, community noticeboard, bench, lampposts, signposts, parking meters (plus the usual puddle of vomit of a Saturday morning) all vying for the same narrow pedestrian space. Ouch!

    • Gareth Roberts

      One of the things which rather gets my hackles raised is the rise of the pointless estate agent/letting agents hoardings. Let your eyes flick up to the upper stories of properties across the borough and you’ll see signs saying ‘Let and Managed by (Insert Agent Name Here)’.

      Were they advertising the availability of a property it could be understood but not a bit of it, they’re just there to advertise the agents services. They make areas look shabby, run down and as though the world and his wife are packing up and shipping out

  2. This probelm will never be resolved without radical thinking. That means being bold and means we need to stop pandering to 4×4 driving idiots who think they have a right to pollute the atmosphere and drive around in a city where it is largely unnecessary.

    Cars are rapidly becoming an anchronism in London – and the obssession with putting them first in considerations is laughably outdated.

    We should create a town centre that is fit for families to live in – that means eliminating the six lane dual carriageway in the middle of Twickenham. Cars should come at the very bottom of any list of considerations.

    Instead of saying ‘But there are 40,000 vehicles every day and we need to accommodate them”, we should be saying “why the hell are there 40,000 vehicles through our town every day? Let’s reduce it to 4,000 a day”.

    Make it difficult and time consuming and unpleasant to drive. Then people will use other methods.

    All the time we’re mollycoddling the Daily Mail reading idiots bleating on about personal choice, we’ll have a town centre that feels like a motorway hard shoulder.

    Pathetic really.

    • Gareth Roberts

      The problem is that the current administration is rather wedded to the idea of the primacy of the motorist. Indeed at a Cycling Liaison Group the cabinet member for highways pretty much told cyclists that they were lucky to be getting the investment they did which, according to him, was disproportionately high against the number of cyclists in the borough. He then went on to add that because there are so many motorists and they all pay council tax that, as far as this administration is concerned, their needs come first.

    • twickregenerate

      Sadly Cllr Roberts tries to hijack the higher moral ground which is nothing new for him, just reminds me of the CPZ tax foisted upon cars for the privilege of standing still and of course that didn’t manage anyone with off-street parking did it? The news that we have a Town Plan and have got on with the largest investment in Twickenham or even in our Borough worked the hell out of Lib Dem friends, to add to the positive action taken of resolving the old swimming pool site laid to waste for mostpart (actually according to Gareth to give him his credit, 24, but then we actually had the people of this area and across the Borough take us through the last election voting for positive action, with the largest swing in the Borough and here in Twickenham Riverside the tides turned.

      So as well as having started the process in 2004 by clearing the eye-sore site of dereliction and graffitti and laid waste buildings and erected a decent fence to stop vandalism, run the Twickenham Challenge, for the Lib Dems to only create the most divisive of schemes , attempting but failing to hijack the site to sell 999 year leases to private property developers to make their handsome buck on 60% of the land, with just 9% as true open space (not green roof claimed to be open space/park), the amount of effort they went to to try to deceive and say black was white was extraordinary. Now go and experience and look at the beautiful Diamond Jubilee Gardens now, bridging between the river and the town, a most beautiful area to chill with or without family.

      The final part of the area to be worked out in conjunction with needed land to create access to Water Lane and Church Street, includes the potential for the much missed boat/river activity supporting Boathouses, to replace those lost so long ago, and linking up to the much overdue (by over two and a half to threedecades) Streetscape transformation. Traffic reduction is TFL’s sanction, not the Council’s, this jurisdiction relates to the need to create better road structure and yes Twickenham is a major bottle-neck, ans will continue to be so unless someone digs a tunnel or builds a bridge bypass around the centre. I wonder what they are doing in Hampton along the River to reduce the large volumes of traffic using this main route through, I will gladly suggest to TFL to divert all the traffic down there but I am sure I will hear shouts of ‘foul play’ from our simply ill-advised ‘second most safe ward in the Borough’, apparently Councillor there.

    • Ha ha ha. People clicking the thumbs down without commenting sums it up.

      Make your case. Why should we accommodate cars in a city where public transport is so good? Why should you be allowed to pollute the air when it is unnecessary? A few people with mobility isues need to drive. Everyone else does not. Why should you dictate the transport agenda?

      Do you believe in indvidual freedom? Is that your point? Just ones on your own selfish list I suspect. Should the smoking ban in pubs be repealed? If not why not? Your car pollutes the air and causes lung cancer. So cars should be banned, too? Or not?

      Oh, I see, you drive a car but you don’t smoke, that’s the difference? Selfishness. How charming.

      Our grandchildren and great grandchildren will look back in disgust at this self-interested, short-sighted, mean-spirited generation who had a chance to change things but choose not to out of selfishness.

    • Simon H

      Daily Mail reference: check
      4×4: check
      Arbitrary ten-fold reduction in traffic numbers: check
      Description of counter arguments as “bleating”: check
      Assertion that driving a car is “largely unnecessary: check.

      Lazy and silly arguments, Damien. People need to be able to ride bikes, drive cars and make deliveries in lorries. Many of us do at least two of the three on a regular basis. The current road layout needs improving, but everyone’s needs must be considered.

    • Mr Grumpy

      Well said. The ranters on here spoil a good site.

    • Sorry you’re offended Mr Grumpy.

      You make some excellent counter arguments and a very convincing case for the continued prioritisation of the motorist in Twickenham town centre.

      Well done!

    • Simon – thank you for taking the time to reply.

      Of course I was being a little provocative with some of my points. But ‘lazy and silly’? I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. I think the basic premise of what I said is valid.

      [BTW I own a small car myself. So I am not an anti-car lunatic. I don’t use my car much because there’s not much need].

      Let’s face it, our town centre is a terribly unattractive six-lane dual carriageway in places. It is dominated by the car. Opposite Sandys there is barely enough time to cross the road to Johnstone’s on the green pedestrian light, so predominant are the needs of the motorist.

      I’m really not sure that’s such a good idea.

      People argue that we have 40,000 cars a day though Twickenham and we have to accommodate that. But surely the question really should be – why are so many people driving in a city and a town where it really is easy to use public transport and should be easy and safe to cycle?

      Why should the motorist be prioritised? That is really my question. It seems to be accepted as self-evident when I think it is anything but.

      Cars pollute, contribute to deaths in London through poor air quality and have been linked to lung cancer. They also use finite resources and add to global warming. Those are undeniable facts, like it or not.

      So why are we basing our transport policy around these machines? Does that not seem totally crazy?

      I’m not saying people should not be able to drive, I’m just questioning the sanity of making it easy for them to do so and putting their needs at the top of any priority list in transport and town centre planning terms.

      Surely we should be encouraging people to get out of their cars and onto bicycles and buses and trains? Not encouraging them to drive? Why would you want to encourage people to drive? I genuinely don’t understand the thinking behind that.

      If we make it a bit difficult for people to drive – by prioritising other means of transport – then I suspect fewer people will choose to drive unless they really really need to and so traffic volumes will be reduced naturally.

      Right now we have a town centre that is as appealing quite frankly as a layby on the A1, dominated by lanes of dense traffic. It’s intimidating to cyclists and awkward for pedestrians.

      Anyway, all you thumbs downers, don’t worry, you’ll get the town centre you deserve.

      Just seems a bit of shame to me.

    • Simon H

      Some of the terms you used were lazy and silly, but the rest of your argument is entirely valid. Bring on the era of the electric car! I think it’s coming sooner than we realize. The number of Hybrids in London has exploded in the last couple of years.

    • nemesis

      “eliminating the six lane dual carriageway in the middle of Twickenham. Cars should come at the very bottom of any list of considerations.”

      A village somewhere is missing its idiot.

    • Ah, ad hominem attacks – a sure sign of intellectual rigour.

      Anyway “nemesis” you also make some excellent, well-argued points in favour of maintaining the primacy of cars. And funny too. Well done!

    • Mr Grumpy

      I can’t reply to your comment to me earlier as there’s no reply button, but nemesis is only responding to your own original ad-hominem attacks with another one. Nice to see you rose to the bait without realising.

      Also you asked me for a counter-argument. This rather depends on your providing an argument in the first place. All I’ve read is something about smokers, 4×4 drivers, Daily Mail readers etc., none of which are mentioned in the plans for Twickenham town centre as far as I can tell and rather reflect on your own immature ideology than the subject at hand.

      Your posts are the internet equivalent of a shouty looney on a bus. That is why we are responding to you off-topic because it’s ruining a relevant and stimulating (though disappointingly politically partisan in the case of this particular comment set) exchange of conversations that most of us come on here to read.

    • Mr Grumpy – I have detailed my points in subsequent posts and yet you continue your haughty stance.

      Here’s my position it in a nutshell:

      * Twickenham Town Centre is a fairly unpleasant environment, in large part I would say due to the fact that cars have primacy and the town centre is laid out to accommodate them. Outside Sandys and towards London Road there are three lanes on each side of the road (hence the six lane dual carriageway comparison that seems to have confounded “nemesis”). 40,000 cars a day.

      * Trying to improve the town centre whilst assuming the car has priority is really a waste of time in my opinion because it does not address the major problem which is too much traffic.

      * Given the fact cars pollute, use finite resources and discourage healthier forms of transport such as walking and cycling, it seems a wider discussion shoud be had rather than tinkering around the edges with “street improvements” that fail to tackle the elephant in the room.

      I would therefore ask you some fairly straighforward questions:

      1. Do you think cars should have priority in transport planning decisions? Why?

      2. Given their proven role in causing pollution, contributing to deaths through poor air quality, and making it intimidating to cyclists, do you think car travel should be discouraged? If not, why not?

      I have yet to hear any convincing answers to those questions aside from rather nebulous claims about ‘personal choice’, which are laughably easy to dismiss and hence my earlier stereotyping. [Not ad hom, I’d argue, btw, since they characterise the people I have had previous discussions with on this, many of whom share the same traits. So you can put your irony meter away].

      Anyway, I look forward to some mature answers from you, since my own thoughts and concerns about people contracting lung cancer and other diseases from pollution caused by largely unnecessary car journeys are apparently “immature ideology”.

  3. twickerman

    The proposed Twickenham cycle lanes need to be brightly coloured so that they can be easily identified, not only by cyclists, but also motorists and pedestrians.

    The cycle lanes on Kingston Bridge are physically seggregated from vehicles which is fantastic. They are also stylish and subtlely done in stone. But, unfortunately this results in them being used by unaware pedestrians, causing unnecessary conflicts with cyclists!

    I like subtle and stylish design, but in congested Twickenham town centre I would prefer Bright, Colourful, Visible and Safe cycle lanes.

  4. Tim

    Its really hard to believe that the Committee thinks this will make much difference to cycling in the borough. At times when cycling through Twickenham is going to be busy – peak times – cyclists will be sharing the two lane with a huge volume of traffic. Hardly a recipe to attract people who don’t cycle, or people who would like their children to cycle to school.
    The basic provision of much-enhanced facilities for pedestrians is great, but it’s a matter of great concern that the meeting took at face value the discussion of two types of cycling: ‘confident cyclists’ and ‘unconfident cyclists’, as if we should somehow build provision for these separately. Perhaps we should also have pedestrian areas for the elderly, disabled and prams, and another pedestrian area for everyone else?
    Council officers seemed convinced of their rightness, apparently in the absence of much concrete evidence whatsoever – if they and Cllr Harrison actually think Twickenham is likely to play ny part whatsoever in their less-than-ambitious plan to increase cycling modal share from 5% to 7%, I fear they are about to be rudely disabused.

  5. twickerman

    I have taken great interest in the Highway & Street Scene proposals for central Twickenham, not only because it’s on my doorstep, but also because the scheme offers a fantastic opportunity to resolve the cluttered mess we have in our town centre and help in the regeneration of the town centre.

    I am a pedestrian, cyclist, bus user, car driver and am also temporarily (I hope) disabled which enables me to appreciate all viewpoints. I have also attended Cabinet, Council, Cycling Liaison and Overview & Scrutiny meetings on this subject.
    FYI, I am an independent resident, and don’t have any political allegiance. I simply want the best for Twickenham and it’s residents.

    First, let’s be honest. This is a tough challenge. Space in the town centre is constrained, traffic volumes are high (but declining), cyclist numbers are increasing, pedestrians and bus users need safe pavements and access, and businesses want customers of all sorts.
    King Street is the greatest challenge because of the 40,000 vehicles/day, tightly constrained space and very limited alternative routes because of the river and railway.

    While I support the decision to relocate bus stops, I accept that there will be some swings and roundabouts for bus users (as senior Council officers admit). This is the only way to significantly reduce congestion on King Street and is the catalyst for street scene improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and shops. It could be considered a necessary evil, though this is probably a bit strong!

    Not surprisingly, the Cons and LibDems don’t see eye to eye on this, but that’s hardly surprising. Cllrs Naylor and Roberts have particularly polarized views on it, but ultimately both mean well and want to see change.

    This is a BIG decision that will affect the prosperity and enjoyment of Twickenham for many years. Consequently I’m pleased there has been much debate about it, because in my opinion challenge is good and healthy, and is gradually leading towards an optimum solution. After all, we don’t want a rushed and bodged decision do we?

    Hopefully, as the panto season draws to a close (oh yes it does!), and officers finalise details of the plans we will have a much improved Highway & Street Scene scheme for Cabinet approval. Let’s hope the changes can be implemented quickly (i.e. this year), and that the Council can move on to improving the wasted jewel in Twickenham’s crown – the Riverside. The Jubilee Gardens were a step in the right direction, but now we need to progress the ambitious plans to transform this beautiful area into a major destination for residents and visitors.

    Meanwhile, can I ask Cllr Naylor (again) and LBRUT officers to ACT to resolve the ‘accident waiting to happen’ on the exceptionally narrowed section of pavement outside Cousins greengrocers (because of the market stalls).

    Twickerati request: can you please print my photo of this hazard to accompany this article?

    • Anonymous

      Thank you John for your question. It is in fact self managing as the pavements will simply be wider at this point. Also please note there is a planning application in with the new freeholders of the two buildings next to The George one with the old retail unit of Wishbone the butchers, and the other of greengrocer Cousins. A street liccence has been granted for Cousins, the Street Enforcement Officers of the Council have visited two weeks ahead of Christmas (great timing I know!), and this area is receiving attention. It is difficult to know how Licensing would work with this one going forward as the changes are on the horizon, however that is a question they must respond to as you have been told by the Communications Department @LBRuT via Twitter the other day! I am also in contact with the head of this department, we mustn’t over-egg something which has been granted permission a long time ago, the footfall is recognised to have dropped, Cousins keeps within his given line, and accidents have not occurred at this point that I am aware of, of course this is no excuse for complacency either. We also must take a balanced view on the value of a very old business and negotiate any changes, you would hate having an unannounced finger-wag at you whatever you were doing on this basis, I am aware Paul has interest in a wider shop, maybe he is looking at both units, in which case with the new owner they will be able to work closely with the major street improvements.

      Naturally so much of this depends on the final approval of this scheme, and I hope King Street is the first part of the scheme to be implemented along with York Street if that is given the final go-ahead by TFL, then in a few months we can see these improvements coming to our town. Of course we know the Lib Dems don’t want the improvements we are agreed on as this would fly in th eface of their ’24’ out of 30 years of doing nothing, as Cllr Roberts is clearly very proud of and is indefensible. Widening the footpaths is one component of a whole host of safety and townscape improvements, clearly a major signal as an attractor to more new shops we want and need, working alongside the Business Association and the Business Improvement District company Mozaic in partnership with the Council is already bringing results and some very welcome additions our townsfolk and residdnets have been asking for, not least an Artisan Baker, a butchers shop and now Cooke, a really excellent hand made frozen meals company, really well priced, and great tasting, veggies are very well cateerred for! Not forgetting of course our culture is changing so coffee shops are the new business meeting and working places,

    • twickerman

      Below are the replies I received from @LBRUT on twitter today about Cousins:

      “@twickeman Licensing are currently looking into it.”

      “@twickeman If Licensing find that there is an issue, action will be taken. I’ll let the twitterverse know either way”

  6. jimbo

    The most extraordinary thing I heard at the meeting was Cllr Knight’s suggestion to divert traffic leaving the Holly Rd carpark up Sherland Road. Of all the crass ideas!!

    • Tim

      Why is it crass? It opens the whole of Holly Road for walking and cycling, providing a safer route away from two very unpleasant junctions. Sherland Road will initially suffer with the volume of traffic, but it could be made a one way loop with Queens Road. It’s a more imaginative solution than anything the council officers managed to think up.

    • jimbo

      a trip along sherland rd will explain my remark (NB I don’t live there!)

    • Anonymous

      Cllr Knight has a history of making ill-informed remarks that he hasn’t thought through properly. Like suggesting that the redevelopment of the old post office site should be given over totally to affordable housing. Who does he think will pay for this then when he carps on about budget cuts?

    • Hi Anonymous. As you (yes specifically you) are a fairly regular commenter on here, can you pick a name, any name, and stick with it when posting. That way we’ll know the regular ‘anonymous’ from the various other, less regular anonymouses. Or should that be anonymice?? Thanks

    • Tim

      “Ill-informed remarks: … He was hardly alone in the committee meeting, in having ill-informed remarks, sadly. Although the fact that Holly Road could be significantly remodelled was one of the more useful ideas in the meeting, frankly.

  7. twickerman

    There was lots of discussion about cycle lanes at last night’s meeting, but precious few facts & details. Advisory lanes will apparently be 1.5m wide (where possible!), but will not be segregated.
    It wasn’t confirmed whether advisory lanes would be inside vehicle lanes or alongside them.
    Because residents were not allowed to ask questions this critical question remained unasked & unanswered!
    I’m not sure whether to hope for the best or expect the worst? Glass 50% by volume!

    The O&S committee approved the report which included movement of bus stops. The highways scheme will now go back to cabinet for final approval.

    There’s clearly a lot of detailed work still to be done on bus stops and cycle lanes. It seems to be moving very slowly in the right direction, but it’s not clear what work will be done before/after the Cabinet decision.

    • jimbo

      A lot of people seem to be upset about these plans, so I wonder why only one member of the public took the trouble to address the committee on Monday evening?

    • Gareth Roberts

      Well they aren’t the most widely publicised of meetings, though, that said there was a good turn out from members of the public. Residents did try to have their say from the public gallery but these were deemed inadmissable by the chair as is standard for meetings such as this. Where this is something of a democratic disconnect in meetings such as these is that people who have registered with objections are subject to the Light Box – 3 minutes and that’s your lot whereas officers proposing the merits of a case can be as expansive as they like.

      The lack of public comment perhaps underlines the vital importance of a straight ‘Yes/No’ consultation on the various elements of the finalised plans.

    • twickerman

      The meeting was poorly publicised (euphemism).

      Members of the public had to register to speak by midday Friday for the Monday evening meeting.

      I would have spoken if I had been allowed to register on the Monday.

      The archaic speaking rules need to be reviewed in the interest of democracy and the so called ‘big society’.
      😦

    • Tim

      I only really understood I could even attend the meeting thanks to n invitation from Cllr Harborne. It’s really not clear that these are open to the public, and the public can ask to speak. As Cllr Roberts observes though, speaking seems largely pointless since you can’t then go on to cross examine council officers …

  8. twickerman

    It’s a crying shame that the Council Highways team’s only concession to cyclists is an 11th hour addition of cycle lanes superimposed (on the previous King St/London Rd plans (with a highlighter pen) .

    The so called ‘advisory cycle lanes’ appear to take up half the width of the inside vehicle lane and thus encourage competition between cars/lorries/buses and defenseless cyclists in a narrowed lanes.

    At a meeting between Council officers and RichmondCycling in November a commitment was made that:
    ■Cycle lane width will be in addition to, not part of the motor lane width

    Judging by the Council’s latest plan drawing this commitment appears to have been squeezed into the gutters, just as cyclists will be.
    For full details of the meeting commitments etc see: http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2012/12/30/twickenham-consultation-december-update/

    This is hardly the cycling legacy that was hoped for after the glorious Olympic cycling races and successes in LBRUT last summer.

    Come on Richmond Council, it’s time to wake up and smell the sweet scent of constantly increasing cyclist numbers and declining vehicle usage this century. Please do not continue to treat local cyclists as tertiariary to vehicular users (#1) and pedestrians (#2).

  9. Gareth Roberts

    To read Scott’s impassioned, if rather garbled, prose one would run away with the impression that for the last three decades there was an unbroken run of Lib Dem rule, whereas in reality six years of the last decade have been under Tory control.

    We shall see how the cycling points are addressed this evening though I fear the rather sunny outlook from Scott isn’t shared by at least one cycling campaigner who has emailed committee members today as follows

    “We’ve still got a great opportunity for Twickenham to be a beacon to the rest of London for what a beautiful, pedestrian friendly, safe street scene can look like, but I don’t think the current proposal is it.

    If you can find shoppers who welcome the opportunity to cross up to four lanes of traffic, and then get a coffee while staring at that traffic …

    If you can find non-cyclists who want to weave around taxi ranks into the paths of trucks and buses …

    If you can find parents who are going to persuade their children to cycle to school through a junction which gives them no marked space, but has up to 40,000 vehicles a day through it …

    If you think Twickenham is better served by people who drive through than people who stop …

    If you think that a vibrant town centre hums to cars stopping right outside a shop, rushing in and rushing out …

    ….Then you should stick with the council’s current proposals.

    TfL is currently predicting cycling rates in London to **fall**, yet we’re looking at plans which aren’t inviting for cyclists or for non-cyclists.”

    • twickregenerate

      Ho hum, only 24 years out of 30 of Lib Dem rule, well that must make it ok then. Defence of this lethargy attitude speaks volumes for Cllr Roberts defending the indefensible. Yes we shall see tonight how Officers who have been laying out the plans present the positive engagement taken with the cycling lobby of which I am just as much part for better facilities, and see too if Cllr Knight’s naysayer group try to smash up or embrace huge change for the better. Only took 28 years of doing nothing that residents as a whole would accept on the Poolsite, take major public engagement and guess what, wholly accepted plans and major works complete, Stage 2 plans being worked on now to amongst other things put this land beyond the reach of the Developer ad infinitum. Actions speak louder than empty words surely?!

    • Gareth Roberts

      There’s nothing ‘naysaying’ or ‘smash’ing about wanting to ensure that the proposals are right for the majority of Twickenham residents and those from outlying areas.

      You seem to see a plan put forward and think ‘Great! Lets do that then’. No challenging, no revising, no ‘that’s good but could it be better?’. That is, after all the role of this committee. It could be that the committee is minded to note the good parts of the plan but send it back to cabinet for further consideration of key points, we shall see. I do fear however that rather than do the right thing for the borough, the Conservative members of the committee will be so tightly whipped that this will go through on the nod, no matter how strong any representations made or urgings for further consideration may be.

      Let’s not forget it was that sort of ‘Do we’re your told’ approach which landed us with the current Solum development

    • twickregenerate

      Update from your Twickenham Riverside Cllr Scott Naylor.
      There was a clear agenda on the table by the opposition to try reduce the huge safety, practical, streetscape and town regenerating benefits of the Conservatives massive investment programme plans at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee by asserting that the huge benefits of the £7m scheme funded predominantly by TFL and with Council money too were in fact rather minor, well both Senior Council Officers and the Committee overall disagreed and subject to agreement by TFL as to the Arragon Road part of the scheme having support in the overall financial as well as all the other benefits the plan has the green light. Additions of possible surface colour changes to 1.5m wide 7 Advisory and 1 Mandatory Cycle lanes will enhance the safety offered, as observed by Officers, cars rarely enter cycle lanes unless they have to, and like any other road user have to take the practical steps they have learnt and the Highway Code in order to use this. We won’t be knocking most of Twickenham Town’s historical architecture down to accommodate dedicated cycle lanes, we are between 80 and 260 years too late to do that, but all opportunities to make safer cycling, pedestrian and bus use of our town have been and are further in detail being designed into the final plans, these have been captured and are being responded to and tracked by the obvious people, your very involved elected Town Councillors, in detail, step by step, however the work is being carried out by some of the most experienced and professional consultants so it has gravitas and depth to it too.

      Most supposed ‘principled’ opposition is turning out to be simple delay tactics and attempts at spoiling, most notably by the opposition leader who turned up and the committee weost disappointed when the best he could come up with was a bazaar proposal to divert the access to Holly Road Car Park to Sherland Road, trying to hijack a major theme of mine and others diverting cycling along quieter volume roads. Just be on alert and watch out for when this character appears at your table trying to redesign your townscape, for his own sake of not bringing ridicule and the sense of the ridiculous to what is in fact a very serious and experienced Officer and Councillor team, please do not let him anywhere near any streetscape scheme again, and give him his own Lego set to play with well out of harms’ way as the closest to designing infrastructure he will ever get. Note to LD whip, ensure any output from this corner is triple checked ahead of any meeting by his own and by Officers first, else Sherland and Queens Road Twickenham Town residents may well find themselves building a Lego town bypass in front of his front door!

    • Gareth Roberts

      Rather curiously the reply option isn’t available below Scott’s post so I’ll have to place it here.

      Firstly, lets ignore the self-aggrandising nonsense we’ve come to expect from Scott, it’s pretty much par for the course and only to be expected.

      Now then – one man’s agenda is another man’s scrutiny and challenge. Let’s not forget that this meeting was the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, fortunately the Lib Dem councillors were able to attend and offer genuine, challenging scrutiny as little was forthcoming from the Conservative group (Shades of the Station Development Planning Committee!). Are these the best proposals for the town? We remain to be convinced although we broadly welcome the thrust of the moves to make improvements to Twickenham. Are we convinced that relocating of the bus stops will result in an improved service for bus users from all stakeholder groups? No. Could this be the opportunity for some real ‘blue sky thinking’ as to how a genuine shift in the way people cycle to and through Twickenham can be achieved? Yes, certainly but this doesn’t seem to be given any real consideration.

      Scott appears, from the content of his post, to be entirely awestruck by the officers and completely unwilling to question their apparent infallibility; Thank heavens other people are prepared to do their jobs properly.

      As for the idea that motorists don’t stray into the advisory cycle lanes – well I remain to be convinced as do many other regular cyclists. Also the efficacy of ACLs is deeply questionable. One local blogger comments “It’s worth noting from the plans that we saw didn’t have separate cycle lanes, though – that’s 1.5m painted over an existing vehicle lane. So every time there is: a crossing, a bus stop, a taxi rank, a junction … then the cycle lane disappears.” And the different colour is only, at the moment, something that could be ‘looked at’. As for the ‘generous’ 1.5 metres – well cycling campaigners don’t think it that generous and let’s not forget that this is something that isn’t guaranteed at present, only something that will be ‘aimed for’.

      Quite where the bizarre (not Bazaar!) notion of “knocking most of Twickenham Town’s historical architecture down to accommodate dedicated cycle lanes”. One of Scott’s flights of fancy, I think.

      By the way, we haven’t even started on the Cycling Champion’s apparent keenness to have some form of Cycle Network apartheid – routes which are safe for all and routes for the gung ho through the King Street Four Lane Superhighway.

      Finally the rather silly attempt to gain traction from this business of changing the entrance of the Holly Lane Car Park – the question was asked, the question was answered, the discussion moved on. Of course I can see that Scott would like to make far more of it but it’s rather silly.

      Of course the real issue at the heart of all this, and one that Scott himself alludes to, is that what we were discussing was an ongoing, fluid, changing proposal. There was nothing concrete here as TFL still haven’t given the thumbs up and, it would appear, have reservations regarding the placing of some bus stops. So essentially we were being asked to scrutinise shifting sands; give it a month or so and there could be further changes.

      Finally the chance for residents to have their say on the final proposals is being actively opposed by officers and cabinet members alike, even though the final plans could be radically different from those that were originally consulted upon. It would appear that the claim of “No more ‘This Council Knows Best'” was just so much hollow rhetoric.

    • Ignitionnet

      Is anyone not used to the ‘Council knows best’ attitude from the current council yet? Hear what they want to hear and if they fear what the public may say rig the consultations (conveniently broken websites, interesting wording, taking consultation from outside the borough on local matters, allowing those with clearly vested interests that to any impartial observer should exclude them to vote on matters that directly concern those interests) or ensure the public aren’t widely aware of meetings so that they can’t oppose.

      Well used to it by now. Awaiting the latest dictats and notifications of how millions in taxpayers’ money is going to be spent on the latest wet dream of the council is always a pleasure.

      This is the problem with localism, you go from dodgy politicians who get light shone on them nationally to dodgy politicians who only get attention for being dodgy locally.

      If they could no doubt they’d cancel the elections. They know there’s going to be a fair degree of pain directed at them for what they’ve done already, let alone what they no doubt have in store for us.

    • Ignitionnet

      Councillors, rather than arguing in public be content that we don’t have the right of recall, this borough’s council is an outstanding advertisement for it.

  10. twickregenerate

    Tonight’s meeting has happened as a result of Opposition Committee Members calling the Cabinet decision in, so this is an urgent meeting as soon as possible afterwards. I am sure that cycle lanes are throughout this new plan, it is what I asked for from when we started putting The Town Plan in place two weeks after the election, this plan was one of my election pledges spoken about for two years before on the street, as there was no sign anywhere with the previous administration of any form of chesive plan or investment lacking for the last three decades. Cycling is a passion and a way of life as it is financially, to be encouraged for fitness, cost, the environment, better for mental fitness, and with 20,000 residents living in direct striking distance of Twickenham Town, as a central functional area, why ever not, no hills until Richmond either for miles!

    I have worked to double the cycle parking in Twickenham, we are well on the way, and exploring for innovative ways and spaces such as Boris style putting in 5/6 bars to serve 10/12 bicycles possibly as a build-out, but not in ones and two’s which you would trip over and clutter in such a busy town environment.

    I look forward to the support and encouragement of all colleagues at the Committee tonight to work today towards the most significant investment for 3 plus decades to match the River and Rugby and most importantly a beautiful residential area with a core of Victorian, Edwardian and 1930’s stock, plus significant historical buildings of yester-years’ aristocracy, intelligentsia, business, great and Royalty connections! Much to be celebrating and recreating a Town to encourage specialist retailers and businesses with the signal of core TFL special project, significant project-focussed Local Implementation Plan funds and Richmond Council capital investment.