TRAG Win Right of Appeal

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over… again. The Battle for Twickenham Station took another turn yesterday when the Court of Appeal gave TRAG permission to appeal December’s High Court decision in favour of El Brute’s approval of the Solum scheme. According to the TRAG website, “Lord Justice Sullivan declared that he believes one of the grounds within our overall appeal argument “has a real prospect of success””. He does, does he?

The flaws in the Solum scheme are well documented. TRAG (aka Twickenham Residents Action Group) hate the whole thing. Others, including this actual very website, think it has a few good aspects but that it also misses quite a few tricks in terms of functionality and design. A bit of a missed oppotunity to build something really great for Twickenham, if you will. Some like it. And, let’s face it, some aren’t bothered as long as the new station ends up being better than the current one.

So will TRAG actually appeal and pursue their quest for a low rise alternative to Solum’s mish-mash of modern blocks and faux-Georgian terrace? They’d bloody love to. But they need money and lawyers don’t come cheap. If they do raise the funds and they do appeal and they do then win, there’s still a bit of a way to go. TRAG will probably need to show there’s sufficient current support for their low-rise vision given that the Council’s original planning approval was well over a year ago. El Brute will then need to twist Solum’s arm to ‘encourage’ them to revamp their scheme in line with the Council’s own planning framework. Maybe Solum will then launch an appeal? Who knows? Oh, and the RFU will probably want to have some kind of influence, what with the Rugby World Cup coming up in 2015 etc, etc. It could all happen but it does feel like a long way off at the moment.

So, is it time to move on and just get this thing built, or is it time to fight on? You live around here, you decide.

LINKS:
* TRAG

42 Comments

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

42 responses to “TRAG Win Right of Appeal

  1. With the possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court, we’ve got a simple yes / no poll here to try to gauge the feelings of the local residents http://wp.me/pVBg2-2rS

  2. AnonyMouse

    Our sad, shifty old station copes with 82,000 fans regularly, so please don’t make it worse by turning it into a massive building site during RWC2015?

    Let’s start the planning process again with the simple objective of improving station functionality rather than profit generation for Kier Property & NR.

    • PTF

      Sounds great and the funding for this can come from the money tree which grows at the end of the yellow brick road, just to the left of the Emerald Castle.
      Oh, if I tap my red shoes three times, the build will be completed by tomorrow.

      Kier et al, are needed to fund the project or are you personally going to pay for it.
      It just shows the narrow minded residents who think they should get everything on a plate, as they want it and for free.
      Welcome to the real world…

    • anonymouse

      Kier Property didn’t profit from the recent improvments at London Waterloo or Clapham Junction did they?
      No.
      Those improvements, like all other infrastruture projects, were funded by Network Rail, and ultimately train users and tax payers.

      The RFU are about to invest nearly £1million in Whitton station.

      Please tell me why should the model be so different for Twickenham station?

  3. Guess who

    Well as they say “The Fat Lady has not sung yet”
    It is reported in the R.T.T. on line that TRAG have applied to the Supreme Court. On the basis that the Court of Appeal overstepped the mark by effectively putting itself in the shoes of the local planning authority members in deciding that the Tap report would not have made any difference to the planning committee’s decision had the committee members been allowed to see it. I was there on that fateful night to witness the debacle of a planning meeting.
    I think they [TRAG] have a good point there, So good luck to them

    • Rufus McDufus

      Never underestimate the legal profession’s capacity to stretch out an argument for as long as possible (providing they get paid). This station development will probably not be completed before 2020 now, which conveniently avoids any problems with RWC 2015.

  4. Todd

    Yup and Twickenham, lets face it, is a bit of a hole now… Reason..too many old fogies holding it back, worried about change..but look at it, how much worse could it get. Get on with it!

  5. Purple Haze

    Is it possible that Twickerati could publish LBRUT planning and licensing applications like the Teddington Town website does?
    See Planning on: http://teddingtontown.co.uk
    This would make residents more aware of what is being proposed in their areas. I appreciate it would take a considerable amount of work but it would add a lot of value to your excellent website

  6. They want a new station , fine, just build what is actually needed then…there are far too many ‘luxury apartments’ all over the place anyway, most seem to be half empty anyway..

  7. simonh

    Though I’m not anti the Solum scheme, per se, the plans must be re-examined to make sure they will accomodate Crossrail. If they do, we should all move on and get it built.

    • twickerman

      Simonh,

      Good point about Crossrail.

      Unfortunately, Solum’s scheme isn’t even compatible with Heathrow Airtrack plans because the extended track2 would pass straight through the middle of their underground car park, and block the car park side entrance/exit for rugby fans!

      How’s that for future proofing?

    • simonh

      But do you know if it is compatible with Crossrail, or has no assessment be made yet. As for Airtrack, I’m rather hoping that won’t be necessary, with the development of a hub airport elsewhere.

    • anonymouse

      It’s way too early to know implications of Crossrail2.

      But unless a clear through route is provided or track #2, then Twickenham station is NOT future proof.

      Heathrow will always be a major airport so providing a much needed link to Twickenham & SW London, via Staines, would be highly beneficial. It would also link well with Crossrail2, to provide a much faster & more frequent service to Kingston, Wimbledon & beyond.

  8. The whole thing is a shambles from start to finish and the net result is likely to be an embarassing sight at the time of the Rugby World Cup. The Solum scheme had a lot of weaknesses and if the Tory councillors had turned it down, we could have likely got something much more suitable in time for the world cup.

    It seems to me that it is still not too late for the developers to rethink and put in place an alternative planning permission focused on the station which everyone or nearly everyone could support.

    • Rufus McDufus

      It doesn’t embarrass me. If the RFU want it finished before the RWC2015 then they can cough up for it. I doubt a load of drunk rugby fans are going to care too much anyway as they’re not exactly expecting the sight of herds of wildebeest or spectacular sunsets in Twickenham anyway. Most tend to get out straight after the match.

    • PTF

      Your comment is a great reflection of the people who have moved to Twickenham, knowing there is a rugby stadium here and the complain about it being used.
      Stop being a Luddite and embrace that some one actually wants to invest in Twickenham.
      If you don’t like it, I know a village which is missing an…

  9. anon

    Jarndyce v Jarndyce drones on…

  10. We are ready to fight on until Twickenham gets the station its deserves. We need a station for the future not just for RWC2015. TRAG’s Plan B is a brilliant alternative, which has never been taken seriously.

    • jimbo

      if it is so brilliant, why wasn’t it submitted as a formal planning application, and who is going to pay for it?

    • twickerman

      Jimbo,

      I agree that TRAG should have submitted an outline planning application for their PlanB.

      However, Solum and LBRuT had a duty to consider alternative plans, and they clearly failed to do that. For such a major development this single-track approach was simply not good enough.

      LBRuT should also have considered Lord True’s personally appointed Twickenham Advisory Panel report that severely criticised many aspects of Solum’s (NR/Kier Property) residential scheme.

      One of the most significant criticisms was of the scheme’s failure to increase capacity for departing London bound rugby fans (the vast majority). With much higher numbers of rugby fans than ever expected in Twickenham for RWC2015 that is a fundamental design flaw.

      Had the Council and Solum followed the proper planning process we would not be in the mess we are in now, and it’s credit to TRAG for holding these massively powerful organisations to account.

      Hopefully the planning process will start over again with the emphasis this time on redevelopment of a station that is fit for the whole of 21st century, and not just for short-term profiteering by NR & Kier Property.

  11. perspicacity

    So in two and a half years’ time, when the eyes of the world are on Twickenham for the Rugby World Cup final, we’ll very likely see people pouring out of the same shitty decrepit train station that we have now because this bunch of Nimbys don’t want a brand spanking new station a few stories higher than they think it should be when it’s sat right next to high-rise office block anyway. Brilliant small-minded petty thinking from TRAG and their supporters that benefits precisely no one.

    • Simon H

      Calling TRAG petty is probably too strong (they mean well), but I agree with your overall thrust

    • Mumto1plus2

      Learn to spell Perspicacity. It’s storeys, not tales from the crypt. What a thoroughly nasty and unhelpful comment. New does not always mean better.

    • perspicacity

      This board is not a spelling test and it’s not Mumsnet. Move on.

    • TRAG - Wake up and smell the coffee!

      I fully agree with the comment, SODAM and Rail Track are not going to build a new station for the fun of it. They are building it, so they can make a profit from it.
      If TRAG doesn’t shut up soon and except the legally agreed plans, SODAM will pull out (surprised rhey havent done so) and we’ll end up with no new station and TRAG people still bitching & comtemplating their pluff bunged navels!

    • anon

      Not quite sure where to start with this, but the prospect of ‘pluff bunged navels’ is particularly enticing!

    • Anon

      [Editor: This comment has been moderated a bit. A few deletions have been made between the square brackets]

      Is Cllr Scott Naylor a strong supporter of TRAG or is he the one who is the guiding force behind it? I am pretty sure he is the guiding force […] – TRAG does seem a misguided exercise in obstruction for the sake of obstruction – bullying the developers not because of any rational motive – but just to throw their weight around & feel powerful – its true – what they are doing […] will delay the development – wasting a lot of time & money – but that is what bullies do – they don’t achieve anything good, positive & creative – they are just very destructive

    • Walkinthepark

      I haven’t got involved in TRAG’S activities but I think this is a long way short of the truth. TRAG care about Twickenham and want us to have a station that is an assett to our community, and they have put forward alternative plans that would achieve that aim. By any measure that is a positive and constructive contribution to the debate about a development which is most definitely not best practise in terms of balancing the benefits to the developer with the benefits to the community and to Rugby supporters. The way in which Lord True and his colleagues handled the decision making process was shameful which is why TRAG have a legal basis for their challenge. I really don’t think they are the bullies and you don’t come across as much of a charmer yourself.

    • jimbo

      You say TRAG “put forward alternative plans” – but they didn’t formally submit them. Therefore they could not be considered; they were just pie in the sky. The site belongs to British Rail, and if they don’t want a certain plan they will not agree to it. Also, again I ask – for umpteenth time – who was going to pay for building plan B?

    • WalkinthePark

      As I am sure you are well aware when you have a clash of interests you go through a process of negotiation to balance those interests. In this case our community was let down by a Council who did not flex the power it had to maximise the benefits to the community. If it had been made clear to Solum that Plan A was unacceptable because it failed to meet the needs of Twickenham as a town in terms as Twickerati says of design and functionality (and as highlighted by Lord True’s own advisory panel, the basis don’t forget of the legal challenge, which would not be allowed if it did not have some legal basis), did nothing to improve capacity for Rugby supporters and, it now emerges was entirely unfuture proofed in terms of future developments of the rail network, then they would have had to come up with a Plan B that did. It could have been TRAGs plan B or something else that related to it’s context and fulfilled the requirements of functionality. However if they wanted to generate profits from this development that is the normal process a developer faces of investing upfront in a plan that meets the requirements of the planning guidelines.

      As Twickerman rightly says there was also scope to leverage some contribution from the RFU since they were a declared stakeholder in the improvement of the station. However Lord True, favoured the interests of his powerful friends over those of our community, as he did with the school. I suppose one good thing to come out of all this is greater community cohesion and a determination to hold Lord True accountable, he will hopefully think twice before he puts the interests of others before our community again.

    • twickerman

      Jimbo,
      British Rail was broken up in 1994, as a result of privatisation!
      The Infrastructure and stations are owned by Network Rail, previously Railtrack (1994-2002).

    • Rufus McDufus

      Replying to Twickerman as the option isn’t there. Quite right and I wondered when someone would pick up on British Rail. But don’t forget Network Rail is a ‘not for dividend’ statutory corporation. It is a owned by the state. Most of the TOCs are private but NR is not.

    • Anon

      I am so insulted- boo hoo!

    • TRAG - Wake up and smell the coffee!

      Oh, so true. The worst thing is, TRAGs new “shed station” , would draw about as much interest and investment from construction companies, as the three little pigs did!

  12. twickerman

    If only the RFU had been prepared to contribute towards the station redevelopment, that they demanded, an acceptable size/design could have been approved and construction started by now.

    With expected IRB/RFU RWC2015 profits of >£300million the lack of any RFU investment is inexcusable

    If Solum, the RFU and Council were to reconsider the design it would still be possible to deliver an excellent functional station before the RWC in Sept2015.

    I guess we’ll find out very soon whether NR/Kier Property profiteering takes precedence over station improvement for RWC2015.

    • Rufus McDufus

      I agree regarding the RFU – If they aren’t making a significant contribution then I fail to see why the temporarily large number of passengers for one event in 2015 should have any bearing on the overall design. This is ultimately a station for the residents of Twickenham and we’re the ones who have to live with it for decades to come.

    • Adam

      Although for around 350 days a year it is a station for residents, I don’t think you can ignore the fact that every year it has to support the 6 nations and several other major events at Twickenham with sell out crowds. It isn’t just one event in 2015.

      That said, the plans didn’t look that great for supporting increased numbers of passengers on match days anyway.

    • Rufus McDufus

      Absolutely, and it would be incredibly spiteful and foolish not to allow for the huge increase in passengers – but the RFU are very fortunate in that they don’t appear to have to worry about transport infrastructure getting crowds to their stadium because other benevolent organisations have taken it upon themselves to plan and fund it for them. If they were to be philanthropic (or if the council were to lobby them) then perhaps the development wouldn’t have required such a large amount of flats attached to fund it.

    • twickerman

      The Rugby World Cup is the 3rd largest sporting event in the world.

      All major sporting events in the past have been accompanied by major infrastructure investments.

      RWC2011 in NZ was supported by significant stadium and infrastructure investment.

      The Football World Cup in S.Africa received massive investment in stadiums and infrastructure.

      Our wonderful London2012 Olympics received £billions for regeneration of the various Olympic sites and a potentially fantastic legacy.

      Question: forRWC2015 what infrastructure improvements have the RFU & IRB offered?

      Answer: verbal support and lobbying for an ugly & inappropriate residential development in central Twickenham!

      Twickenham has definitely been short changed or….to use the rugby term – sin-binned !!! 😦

    • Anon

      Well we have lived with it for decades & it is dismal!!!!