TRAG Seek JR Appeal Right

Twickenham station The Richmond & Twickenham Times is reporting that TRAG, the Twickenham Residents’ Action Group, are seeking permission to appeal the judicial review decision on Solum Regeneration’s Twickenham station plan. You will recall that the latest twist in this long running saga was in December when the court ruled El Brute’s approval of Solum’s plan to be lawful. TRAG were not impressed. They are still hoping for their low rise ‘Plan B’ alternative to become the template for the redevelopment of the site and have now applied to the Court of Appeal for the right to challenge the outcome of the judicial review.

Any appeal, if it goes ahead, would add further delay to the development although obsessing about completing work in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup should not be the deciding factor in a station that Twickenham will live with for the next 30 or 40 years. Will TRAG succeed? It feels like a long shot, a very long shot when looking at the powers lined up against them and the costs involved but they may be set to have a go nevertheless.

As they’ll say in the film of this one day, “For you, TRAG, zee war is not yet over!”

LINK:
* Richmond & Twickenham Times

16 Comments

Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Station Development, Twickenham Action Plan

16 responses to “TRAG Seek JR Appeal Right

  1. Anonymous

    As a resident of Epsom where Solum and their contractors are in the final stages of completing the station redevelopment after well over two years I feel the need to make you aware that we have ended up with a monstrosity that has ruined the character of Epsom. The building is totally out of proportion with the rest of our once pretty town. Solum’s plans and artists impressions do not show the true impact of the height and size and it seems that councils are pessured into accepting these regardless. Once work has started Solum is the master and councils are ignored. Health and safety of residents and by-passers is compromised unless you as residents keep constant pressure on Solum and Kier and the council… Be warned. We have ended up with something that we cannot get rid of for the next century.

  2. jimbo

    I can’t follow Twickerman’s latest post:
    “Considering there will be significantly more fans in Twickenham for RWC2015 than a standard 82,000 capacity match ” – there is only one stadium, that holds 82,000. How are going to be more spectators than that at one time? Do you mean that there will be more matches – not the same thing., though?
    Could you please tell us how Plan B would be funded? Would the owners of the property (Railtrack) have agreed to it?

    • twickerman

      Jimbo,

      As the RFU have acknowledged their will be many more rugby fans in Twickers for RWC2015 than for ‘normal’ matches. They will come here just to experience the world cup atmosphere and to participate in many of the local events that will be staged all around the town.

      As far as plan B funding is concerned you had better ask TRAG directly.

      I can advise that the refurbishment of walkways and installation of lifts at Clapham Junction was done without the need for residential tower blocks.
      The RFU recently announced £800,000 of investment in Whitton station, but neither they nor the IRB have invested a penny in the redevelopment of Twickenham station (despite expected profits of >£300,000,000).

      Just compare the amazing infrastructure improvements at the Olympic Park, S.Africa/Brazil Football World Cup venues, RWC2011 in NZ, and even Wembley Stadium, with Solum’s profit-driven Twickenham station residential redeveloment and you will see that Twickenham residents have right royally shat upon by the Council, RFU and Solum!

  3. twickerman

    I believe TRAG are persuing this action in a bid to seek justice. Justice which so far has been denied them and the 7,000 Twickenham residents who support them.

    It would appear the JR judge is trying to hide something, otherwise why was his reading of his report inaudible to the court audience, and why hasn’t he produced the promised transcript of his speech or the report?

    This really smacks of a cover up, that is probably the result of the endless lobbying from Solum (NR & Kier Property), the Council and RFU.

    I suspect TRAG would have given up if they had been treated fairly, but yet again they and we local residents have been let down by ‘the powers that be’.

    I find it very disappointing that the LBRuT Council that preaches about Big Society and Consultation has steam-rollered Solum’s application through the planning and legal processes against the wishes of thousands of residents and Council tax payers.

    • Talk of a ‘cover-up’ is absurd: it is more likely that the judge had the heavy cold + laryngitis that was afflicting everyone in December and the transcription service who produce the final official version of his remarks have fallen behind because they too have had it.

  4. Mumto1plus2

    I do get the impression that the council is trying to back away from this dreadful planning decision. I also wonder how much longer Solum will pursue it given the cost of the delays and the obvious lack of support from the Twickenham residents. It certainly makes for interesting viewing. As for ‘they’re going to get a fair bit of noise and disruption for a while…’ who’s ‘they’? Everyone using Twickenham station and London Road will have 3 years of disruption. Let’s see how ‘they’ like it when the station is closed day after day after day and the road is closed or blocked while they make changes. Then it will re-open and may look a little better but have less platform space and no improvements on match days. You can read this for yourself in Solum’s plans… People moan enough about disruption for engineering works at the weekend. Just saying!

    • Simon H

      “They” are the leading lights of TRAG, who, in large part, live in the roads surrounding the station.
      Of course, rail users will suffer disruption as a result of the redevelopment, but that would be the case no matter whose plans were being implemented.

    • twickerman

      Simon H,

      The scale of Twickenham station disruption is massively dependant on the extent of construction over the live train tracks, which can only be done when there are no trains running – i.e. during station possessions at night and during weekend closures.

      If the station had been redeveloped to the side of the live tracks, e.g. over the wasteland/car park area it would have been far less disruptive, taken much less time to build, cost considerably less, and therefore not required 8&9 storey towers to generate £8million profit for Solum & £6m in LBRuT ‘financial contribtions’.

      Solum’s podium, that spans the live tracks, will cost >£4m alone. It is a 1500m2 concrete slab >1m thick that sits on numerous 40m deep concrete posts/piles. The construction of this podium will cause the most disruption to residents, commuters and visitors because of the associated station, road, footpath and bus stop closures in addition to all the additional vehicle movements generated by such a huge building site.

    • Simon H

      I’m sure much of that is true, but Solum is the only company that has put forward a funded development scheme, and it has been through a full planning process. I do sympathise about the noise (I used to live next to Greggs Bakery, which was a nightmare), most people in Twickenham don’t live right next to the station, so you can’t block something for that reason alone.

    • twickerman

      It’s not just about the construction noise and disruption for three years.

      It’s about the poor and ugly station design that will harm the local environment (at the ‘gateway to Twickenham’) for the next few generations, and the failure of Solum’s scheme to improve the current match day chaos because there will be less space for departing London bound fans (the vast majority).

      Considering there will be significantly more fans in Twickenham for RWC2015 than a standard 82,000 capacity match Solum’s station design is a recipe for disaster. Many fans who commented in the RFU petition referred to ‘an accident waiting to happen’ because of the massive queues and dangerous platform overcrowding after matches. Sadly, the Solum scheme will increase the risk of that accident.

    • Mumto1plus2

      Simon H, I really do wonder if you have studied the Solum proposal and all the associated material at all… I anticipate much biting of lip and gnashing of teeth from you when you suffer as a result of this development. Then again, maybe you no longer live in Twickenham so it won’t/doesn’t bother you at all…

    • Simon H

      Yes, I have studied Solum’s proposals and yes I do live in twickers

    • Simon H

      As it happens, I’ve just had another look at Solum’s plans. They look pretty good. Of course, the reality might not be as appealing—or it might be better—but only time will tell. But it should be an improvement on the current station.

      Can we all just let them get on with it now? The noisy building would already be four months in, had they been able to start on time.

  5. Simon H

    TRAG really just needs to give it up. I feel very sorry for them that they’re going to get a fair bit of noise and disruption for a while, but the station plans are OK and TRAG’s alternative was not better and had no funding.

  6. This what TRAG told their supporters on Jan 20:

    ‘ . . The judge declined to allow TRAG to go to appeal, so we decided on the day [Dec 21] to wait to see the transcript (i.e. the written version) of the judgment. This would at least give our legal advisors a chance to determine if there were strong grounds for asking permission to lodge an appeal with the Court of Appeal. We only had 21 calendar days to do this, a period which included Christmas and New Year, but understood that the transcript would be ready in a matter of days.

    On Friday 11th January, the 21 day deadline had arrived and the transcript had not been delivered, so we decided to submit an Appellant’s Notice to the Court, giving us the chance to consider the possibility of a Court of Appeal application when we have both received and studied the transcript. This is the current state of affairs and the development will of course have to wait . . ‘

    The RTT has simplified and therefore garbled this.

  7. Twicktor Meldrew

    Shouldn’t TRAG just bow out gracefully? Just saying!