El Brute Win as TRAG Quashed

A station. In Twickenham

A station. In Twickenham

And so there we have it. Solum Regeneration’s plans for Twickenham station will go ahead after all. Well, we say ‘after all’ but there’s no sense of surprise here at twickerati HQ in the light of today’s Court announcement chucking out TRAG’s appeal against the scheme’s approval. None.

When El Brute (that’s ‘LBRuT’ to the uninitiated) approved the plans in December 2011 amid rowdy scenes at York House, that moment marked the end of any serious opportunity to get the development changed. Local Twickenham agitators, TRAG, have battled hard to get the Council’s decision reversed, first through a judicial review and then by taking their case to the Court of Appeal but today’s ruling surely marks the end of the line for opposition to the scheme. Or rather, it marks the end of the line for any credible means of getting the development changed.

Lord True is delighted. Can you picture his smiling face? In the Richmond Council Press Release the Blue Baron, the Duke of York [House], the Dear Leader says: “I welcome the Court’s decision today and I hope that we can finally lay this matter to rest and move forward with creating a train station that is fit for purpose”. In fact we agree with most of that. Despite all the shenanigans and the flaws in the Solum plan, it is time to move on.

However, one point that does sting (and which TRAG play up in their response to the decision and which the Council play down) is the way a report by the Twickenham Advisory Panel (TAP) was handled. You will recall that the newly created Panel were asked to write a report on the Solum Regeneration scheme. This report, generally considered to be critical of aspects of the scheme, was then not included as part of the Richmond Planning Committee’s considerations. TRAG summarise Lord Justice Richards’ comments as follows: “It will be apparent that I am deeply unimpressed by the way the Council handled the TAP report… I am very surprised that the Council officers advised members of the planning committee to leave the TAP report out of consideration…. The way the report was handled was highly unsatisfactory”. Ouch! ‘Ave some of that!

But the Court also took the view that there was no evidence that the Planning Committee would have reached a different conclusion even if it had taken the TAP report into consideration. Apparently the issues it raised were covered in other papers submitted to the Committee. No doubt different people will infer different things from that but perhaps one lesson to learn from it is not to form a new panel and commission a special report on an important issue if you’re not going to fully include it as a serious part of the process. We’re just lucky that doesn’t happen elsewhere in the world of politics. Oh, hang on, wait a minute…

Anyway, perhaps now we’re clear on the plans going ahead, Solum can break their silence and actually tell us a little bit more about the extent of the closures and disruption during the build.

LINKS:
* Richmond Council Presser
* TRAG

60 Comments

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

60 responses to “El Brute Win as TRAG Quashed

  1. Steven Topol

    From Steven Topol

    In reply to Boanerges.

    At the last local elections in 2010, I stood for election in South Twickenham on a manifesto that advocated a River Centre, a Riverside Park, a Boat House, a Refurbished Embankment, a new Restaurant and Cafe overlooking the Thames, & many other public facilities. The manifesto included proposals for an enabling development at the rear of the site, with the aim of making the new facilities self funding, instead of adding to our Council Tax bills. . The proposals weren’t perfect – no proposals ever are !

    However, I received the votes of 1922 electors, who saw our proposals as the starting point for discussing the regeneration of Twickenham, against the backdrop of the worst recession we’d seen for 90 years. I live in Riverside Ward, next to South Ward, & have every right to contest an election in either ward Mr/Ms/Miss/Mrs Boanarges !

    I welcome some of the improvements that have been made to the Embankment area, but there is so much more to be done there. I hope that this Council will not make the same mistakes on the Embankment site as they’ve made with Twickenham Station.

  2. simonh

    This is a reply to Rufus’s reply to my reply. Ahem.

    a) As far as rugby is concerned, Twickenham is a visitor (if not exactly tourist) destination. A new station would have been a great way to improve the visitor experience and help encourage as many people as possible to hang around during the day and spend money with local businesses.

    b) People are, of course, entitled to object during planning processes. And TRAG did help secure some good alterations to Solum’s plans, for which they deserve credit. But TRAG didn’t know when to stop, and now their campaign has had unfortunate effects that don’t help their aims or Twickenham

    • Purple

      What would Soane or Turner think and say.

      Good luck Twickenham, where men play with odd shaped balls. Hoorah!

  3. I’ve only just realised what a shit-hole the railway station actually is. 20 years of trudging through it seems to have immunised me against its defects and ugliness.
    So my view is: bring it on. It’s horrible, and that part of Twickenham is already horrible, so the new one’s aesthetics are besides the point.
    Looking forward to seeing the wrecking ball…

  4. Purple Haze

    I have another suggestion. The new station should be built in the same style as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India.
    Now that’s what you call a proper railway station!

    • Rufus McDufus

      They could build it in Mumbai! Not so good for commuters though as it’d be a bit of a hike to the station in the morning.

  5. David

    So the project won’t now be ready for the Rugby World Cup. Fabulous. Well done, TRAG. Great achievement.

    • It’s a fair comment… but would it have definitely been ready without this delay? We’ll never know. Obviously Solum can now point to TRAG for holding it up but, just like the trains on Network Rail, it’s not unusual for big construction projects to run late.

    • Simon H

      Two years is a big hold up, though. I’ve always thought TRAG were indulging in a costly waste of time, and so it has proved.

    • The scheme was approved in December 2011 and it took a long time to get to that point. Did TRAG actually cause that delay? Probably not. It most likely lies with the Council (including by commissioning the TAP report), and after all, TRAG’s alternative options were generally ignored. TRAG are responsible for delays since then and yes, 17 months is a long time. Would a scheme that had started construction work in September 2012 (per Solum’s intention) be finished by late summer 2015? Dunno. Let’s assume Solum had been expecting to win these cases and are ready to get cracking, which means the delay feels more like 9 or 10 months. To quote Morrissey: These things take time.

    • Simon H

      Yes, I think the scheme would have been finished between Sep 2012 and Summer 2015. I’ve seen similar projects take less time than that time and again around Canary Wharf.

    • twickerman

      Don’t forget that it took Network Rail 18 months to extend Twickenham station platforms by just 40m, because they could only work when the station was closed.

      How long do you think it will take them to put in a temporary bridge, walkways and stairs to the platforms, and then to construct a 50m x 30m concrete podium over the live tracks?

      This work can only be done when the station is closed and must be completed before they can build the ‘temporary’ station.

      They also have to get their revised plans and construction method statement through the planning process before any work can start. If they don’t do this quickly the new 2014 Council may be less supportive.

      With the RFU, Windsor and Legoland dictating station closure terms it’s debatable if the temporary station will be ready for RWC2015!

      BTW twickerati,
      the planning application wasn’t approved by Boris and the Secretary of State until April 2012, and still had further planning process steps to go through before work could start.
      Solum’s development was never likely to be finished before RWC2015 because of the extent of station closures required to build the podium and tower blocks over the live rail tracks.

  6. twickerman

    Network Rail have confirmed that Twickenham will only have a temporary station building for RWC2015, despite ongoing claims from Solum, the Council and the RFU that the station development would be finished in time.

    Tim Shoveller, managing director of the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance, said:

    “We are drawing up an alternative programme which will focus on delivering a temporary station and public area by 2015, whilst delivering elements of the wider development after the Rugby World Cup.”

    • William Webb Ellis

      Excellent. Looks like Trag have screwed it up for everyone. Who would have thought that two years of pointless court battles that they didn’t have cat’s chance in hell of winning would delay the building to the extent that it wouldn’t be ready for the world cup. All eyes on Twickenham in 2015 for a world event with a temporary station. I do hope Trag will be proud of their achievements then.

    • Simon H

      Indeed. It would be nice for somone from TRAG to tell us precisely what they think they’ve achieved other than holding a whole town to hostage for the sake of worries about short term noise and a different (though they’ve decided arbitrarily that it’ll be worse) view from the end of their gardens?

    • Rufus McDufus

      That is annoying and a pity, but then it could unkindly be argued that if it weren’t for those pesky kids, errr I mean if it hadn’t have been for campaign groups delaying things, it could have gone through quicker.
      I think the main point also is that this station is not simply for the RWC2015. I’m personally not embarrassed if the station is not finished in time. The RFU have no say greater than the residents in this station. If they want a say then they will have to contribute towards it. It’s us who have to use it day in day out.

    • Simon H

      Yes, but the Rugby World Cup is a huge showcase for the town, it’s restaurants and shops. That showcase has now been marred—a temporary station will not create a good impression—by TRAG’s fruitless campaign.

    • twickerman

      If only the Council had conducted the planning process properly….things would be a whole lot different!?

      Please read Lord Justice Richards’ comments:

      “It will be apparent that I am deeply unimpressed by the way the Council handled the TAP report”

      “I am very surprised that the Council officers advised members of the planning committee to leave the TAP report out of consideration”

      “Given’s TAP’s position as an advisory body established by the Leader of the Council with broad terms of reference, and the fact that it had been given at least the initial brief of organising a public event in respect of the proposed development, its views on that development were plainly worthy of respect.”

      “That explanation of why the TAP report was not considered by the planning committee does not square with the explanation given in the first addendum or with the facts as they appear from the evidence before this court.”

      “I have referred already to the absence of any satisfactory explanation of why this was not done.”

      “Members of TAP were advised by Council officers against speaking at the planning committee meeting”

      It’s time for a review of El Brute planning processes and the role officers played in dismissing and suppressing the TAP report.

    • Simon H

      Yes, I’ve read that. But the judge did not overturn the planning decision, which is rather more important. You are clutching at straws.

    • Rufus McDufus

      I really don’t think the state of the station is going to affect Twickenham’s image. Most rugby fans already realise the station is already a bit of a dump. It’s not as if we’re trying to attract tourists – it’s just another London suburb to most people from outside.

    • Simon H

      So why bother improving the station at all then? I find the station depressing and I live here.

    • Rufus McDufus

      Replying to myseflf but this is to Simon H as there’s no reply button on his post for some reason.
      No I agree, of course we need a new station, it is truly awful as it currently is. I just think we have a strange focus here – which seems to be that the intention of the new station is to improve Twickenham’s image and make everyone who comes to the RWC2015 feel warm inside as it’s such a nice station.

      My opinion is that the primary focus of the station is to make life better for the majority of Twickenham’s residents & for the passengers (mainly day-in day-out commuters) who use it. We don’t have a tourist industry here per se apart from some very short-term tourists a few times a year to a rugby ground, some of whom go into the town for a few hours after and get drunk/eat a curry. I don’t really think RWC2015 is going to be a showcase of the town – Twickenham is hardly the Olympic village. I suspect most of the fans will be people who will have already been to see matches here multiple times and know what to expect.

      Residents do seem to be very polarised. I think it’s totally unfair to criticise any opposition to the planning application as opposition is part of the planning process. Arguably if they’d wanted this finished before the RWC they should have put the application in earlier. Personally I have no issue with the plans for the station but I respect other peoples right to
      oppose it.

  7. George

    Ok…That’s ashame but we need housing and we can’t solve this by building bungalows. I do want the building to go ahead, i sympathised with TRAG initially but am now frustrated with them…they don’t represent by any means the majority of residents.

  8. Barclay

    About time. As one of the few people who’s living room window overlooks the station (we live in the flats attached to the Albany), we think its redevelopment can’t come soon enough. I bet those still complaining live in a lovely Victorian villas on a beautiful tree-lined street!!

    Can they finally get on with it now?

  9. George

    Yes and this is just not about a station but much needed homes, if it means building up to give someone else opportunity of having their own home, welcome to the new world. ok for those who already have homes!!

    • Roger Crouch

      Unfortunately, George, the scheme does not include sufficient affordable housing for those who desperately need housing in the Borough. The scheme across the road for the old Royal Mail sorting office also has insufficient affordable housing provision.

    • Alexis

      In this week’s R&TT there is a somewhat tacky party political letter from the three, presumably, prospective LibDem candidates for Twickenham Riverside ward who seem to be denying any LibDem responsibility for the station debacle. Here we have one of them, Roger Crouch, bemoaning the lack of affordable housing. I’ve given up trying to work out which party was really responsible for the mess we all find ourselves in, however I don’t believe that the previous LibDem administration were any less culpable than the current Tory one. Other non-politicos may know better. TRAG or TAP certainly will
      I’ve no idea yet who the Tory candidates will be, however, here is my personal snapshot of the 3 LibDems who signed the letter:

      Roger Crouch.
      Feltham and Heston by-election – only 90 or so votes ahead of UKIP so just hung onto 3rd place. Remember this was long before UKIP’s meteoric rise, so, not an impressive performance although good practice for him. Do we have the likelihood of yet another invisible Riverside LibDem Councillor like Michael Wilson – remember him? No? I thought not. Although Crouch is a local resident, I have considerable disquiet about these sort of party whiz-kids dropped into marginal/safe council wards waiting for the next General Election or party list GLA seat as was “won” by party leader Stephen Knight – remember Cllr Gareth Roberts’s boast about Hampton being the 2nd safest LibDem ward in the borough once he was safely elected? It’s great for them but what does it do for us?

      Steve Topol.
      A local businessman who has stood for the LibDems unsuccessfully in South Twickenham 5 times since 1994. He has, at last, decided that he’s wasting his time and appears to have popped up again in Twickenham Riverside Ward – 6th time lucky! Presumably he thinks that he’s got a better chance of ruling us from there there since the local Tories seem to be in a bit of disarray. Topol is chairman of The Friends of Twickenham Green alongside his vice chair, David Trigg, ex LibDem Riverside Councillor. I find it very concerning that so many of our “societies” and “Friends” groups are effectively run by these sort of political activists – usually LibDem since that is part of their grand plan for local dominance. I guess it’s our fault for not standing up to their takeover tactics which have been very successful.

      Dr Susan Burningham.
      Supporting the call-in of the cabinet decision to sell-off Twickenham Riverside, expressed the following views on 2nd June 09
      “The Council should be congratulated on seeking to regenerate the area but some doubts remained.She welcomed the principle of the river centre but did not support the scheme.She had experience of raising funding for major projects and considered the Business Plan summary and update to be inadequate, woolly and still evolving.”
      Very fair comments and the lady looks like a candidate who may well have our interests at heart as well as those of her party. Good luck to her.
      Pity about the other two.
      Alexis

    • Alexis – interesting analysis of our strengths and weaknesses. A party whiz-kid isn’t a description I would apply to myself. Thank you for deciding my future career for me. First step is for local party members to decide whether they want us as candidates and second step, and more importantly, is for local residents to decide whether they want us as councillors. We will make our case and show what we are capable of doing over the next year. Anything beyond that is pure conjecture on your and indeed my part.

    • Alexis

      My thanks to Mr Crouch for keeping this topic alive a little longer. Silly me, I completely forgot that Twickenham Riverside voters have the final say on the quality and dedication of the candidates they choose to elect. Let’s hope they exercise better judgement than they did in 2006. As to his “First step”, I wonder why the letter to the R&TT signed by Messr’s Crouch, Topol and Dr Burningham described themselves as “Twickenham Riverside Liberal Democrats”? We mere mortals could be forgiven for thinking they must be the three PCC’s or whatever, so I hope that the local party members aren’t too miffed with me for erroneously assuming that they have already made their selection. Perhaps Crouch has got out of the blocks a little too soon – ooops!
      Alexis

    • William Hickey

      Very interesting. Here in South Twickenham Ward, we could not be more delighted that Mr Topol has switched his allegiance to Riverside Ward and wish him as much success there as he’s had over the last several years here.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know who Alexis is, but I find it sad that someone who knows next to nothing about me seeks to give me a character appraisal – & fails dismally to do so. Yes, I have stood in previous elections as a Lib Dem candidate in a very Conservative area that has almost always voted Conservative, & yes, I was narrowly defeated. I respect the democratic process. I don’t respect the anonymous & unpleasant personal attacks that Alexis has made on myself & my colleagues.

      Yes, as Alexis has observed, I am involved with local community groups. Being involved in these means lots & lots of unpaid work to achieve good results for the community. I’m delighted to have put this effort in. There is no financial or political gain. To imply, as Alexis does, that this is part of a secret Lib Dem conspiracy to take over the local world is inaccurate & laughable. Does Alexis believe that Liberal Democrats should be barred from involvement in community groups, whilst Conservative, UKIP & Labour supporters should be involved ? How biased of her !

    • Steven Topol

      From Steve Topol.
      My response to Alexis on your site, posted at 10.38, appeared as a post from Anonymous. This was not my intention. I’m only too happy to put my full name to put my response to the mysterious ‘Alexis’! Best Regards. Steve Topol

    • boanerges

      It might appear somewhat hypocritical of Mr Topol, who believes in the democratic process, to stand for Riverside, when he vigorously defended his party’s very unpopular scheme for building 32 luxury houses on the old pool site in that Ward. More than 90% of residents polled didn’t want the scheme. Power to the people, Mr Topol?

    • Alexis

      What a very strange post from Mr Topol.
      Yes, my brief snapshot of him is a bit pithy – wouldn’t life be boring without levity? Does he dispute the facts? I have lived in South Twickenham ward for more than 30 years, so, since he has stood for election 5 times in those years, I do indeed have some idea of Mr Topol’s character which can be somewhat confrontational – not an attribute normally associated with an aspirant councillor. Perhaps that has had something to do with his lack of success in our ward rather than the way he puts us all down as Conservative? After all LibDem Geoff Pope was routinely re-elected, by me as well as many others – could he have had rather more empathy with his potential voters? I think so.
      As to the takeover of local societies Mr Topol is being somewhat disingenuous. Of course local political parties of whatever hue try to muscle in but the LibDems have been extraordinarily successful. Is he telling us that control of “societies” is not part of their strategy to achieve dominance of local politics?
      He states that he was “narrowly defeated” at the 2010 election. He wasn’t, he came a poor 6th after his LibDem colleagues Margaret Stevens and Michael Butlin.
      I wonder whether Roger Crouch is yet aware that Mr Topol assumes that he will be standing for election in Twickenham Riverside? Perhaps disarray exists in LibDem ranks as well.
      Alexis

    • Anonymous

      From Steve Topol
      Reply to Alexis

      Life without levity would indeed be all the poorer, & I’ve enjoyed reading the postings on Twickerati. Almost all the postings have been good humoured, well written & have made good points.

      However, your readers, if they are impartial, would conclude that Alexis’s postings are the exception to the rule. They are directed, obsessively, against Liberal Democrats as individuals. Her postings contain tirades of unpleasant personal remarks. Alexis then has the cheek to accuse me of being confrontational !

      On the points Alexis makes:

      1] I’m accused by Alexis of ‘putting all down as Conservative’ Can you give me chapter & verse of when I’ve done this please Alexis ? Tell us of anything I’ve written that states this. We’ll have a long wait, because I’ve done no such thing. Next time, please check the facts before posting Alexis. Actually, I don’t think Alexis is now a Conservative. In an earlier blog, Alexis talks of ‘UKIP’s meteoric rise.’ Sorry Alexis, you have unintentionally showed your hand !

      2] Local societies contain supporters of all political parties & of none.
      Yes, Alexis, I am stating that it is NOT the strategy of the Lib Dems to ‘take over local socieies to achieve dominance in local politics’ as you unpleasatly imply. I challenge you to supply evidence to prove what you say. You will find no evidence Alexis, because your claim is false !
      Perhaps you could consider the fact that Liberal Democrats, like Conservatives, Socialts, and even UKIP supporters Alexis, get involved in local societies because they want to improve the community.

      3] I stand by what I said before – I have narrowly lost election in a ward that is normally Conservative.In 2010, I secured 1922 votes, whilst the lowest Conservative vote in South was 2182, IE 46% to 54%, which is close by any calculation.
      True, my vote was lower than other Lib Dem candidates, but male candidates with surnames towards the end of the alphabet, & hence at the bottom of the ballot paper, are usually 100-150 votes behind other candidates. Alexis, in another slur, distorts the facts & claims that my lower vote was because I lack empathy. I can assure your readers i have plenty of empathy.

      Perhaps Alexis should consider putting herself up for election. Meteors rise Alexis, but remember, they fall and disintegrate twice as quickly !

      Steve Topol

    • Alexis

      A little correction which I failed to include in my last post. Mr Topol refers to my sketchy comments in his usual confrontational style:
      “I don’t respect the anonymous & unpleasant personal attacks that Alexis has made on myself & my colleagues.”
      Could I please remind Mr Topol that I referred to Dr Susan Burningham thus:
      “Very fair comments and the lady looks like a candidate who may well have our interests at heart as well as those of her party. Good luck to her.”
      What was unpleasant and a personal attack about that?
      Alexis

    • Alexis

      I think Mr Topol and I have made our points and stand by them so I see no point in labouring on other than to make a few final observations:
      Rather than adopting typical bully boy LibDem tactics, Mr Topol would have been well advised to simply ignore me. That way the problem goes away and any possible damage is limited. By sinking to my level and making personal attacks, which is a bit rich, he simply prolongs the agony.

      As to UKIP – sorry to disappoint you Mr Topol. Not a chance. It’s a whacky old word where you are accused of being involved with a party simply because you state the bleeding obvious. I use the word “accused” deliberately because that’s the pejorative way he makes his statement of assumption. But then, I guess the LibDems are a bit touchy about UKIP’s rise to 3rd party status since it has largely been at their expense. He is right, their share of the vote could collapse just as quickly come 2015. I’m intrigued to note that LibDem Councillor Gareth Roberts is using Twitter to wage a campaign to out a Tory Councillor as a potential UKIPer.

      Yes Mr Topol, I am indeed anti LibDem and hope that I can persuade a few others to think before casting their vote. You have Mr Lourie’s ghastly authoritarian regime to thank for that – fortunately the voters agreed. Does that mean I’m a Tory or whatever – no, I simply do not want to go back to that sort of governance. The Tories don’t seem to be doing a bad job and appear to have learned from Lourie’s ignominious demise.

      To those suggesting that I should put my money where my mouth is and stand for election – not a chance, anyway who would have me! Standing as an Independent is pointless and Topol kept telling we South Twickenhamites that “Labour can’t win here” so that’s out as well.

      Mr Topol gets quite worked up thus:
      “I’m accused by Alexis of ‘putting all down as Conservative’ Can you give me chapter & verse of when I’ve done this please Alexis ? Tell us of anything I’ve written that states this. We’ll have a long wait, because I’ve done no such thing.
      This is what he wrote on this very thread:
      “Yes, I have stood in previous elections as a Lib Dem candidate in a very Conservative area that has almost always voted Conservative.”
      He also gets quite tetchy about his 6th position in the last election claiming that it was all down to his position on the bottom of the ballot paper yet Margaret Stevens, a promising candidate, won the most LibDem votes despite being only one above him. I note he used the word “male” in his justification – Voters of Twickenham Riverside, read everything twice, the devil is usually in the detail.
      Alexis
      PS: I’m done on this subject so if you have read this far, thank you.

    • Steve Topol

      From Steve Topol in reply to Alexis:
      We can at least agree that we’ve both had our say & both stand by the points we’ve made. This correspendence is now complete.

    • Riverside Resident

      I am sure Alexis thinks she has done Riverside residents a great service with her “personal snapshots”, however, give all candidates a chance to show what they can do for local residents. I couldn’t care less whether Crouch stood for parliament, what Burningham said in 2009 or how many elections Topol has stood in. I want to know what they, the other parties or independent candidates will do if elected next year. I would encourage Alexis to drop the candidates a line, meet with them and enter into a dialogue with them.

      As it is, Riverside residents currently have a councillor allegedly living in Cornwall and another who has tried to stand up for local residents and as a result has been ostracised by his own leadership, apparently now deselected. If Alexis thinks she can do better I look forward to seeing her name on the ballot paper next year.

    • Couldn’t agree more with Riverside Resident. Let’s get out and ask the candidates (if they are not in Cornwall!).

    • Steve Topol

      From Steve Topol

      In reply to the sensible postings from the Richmond Resident and Mark Goodrich –

      Susan Burningham, Roger Crouch and I are looking forward to meeting all the residents of Riverside Ward, and showing what we can offer.

      Best Regards

      Steve Topol

    • Alexis

      Since Mr Topol’s LibDem elders and betters can ditch their manifesto pledges in the interest of gaining a long yearned for sniff of power, perhaps I, a mere happy troll or trollop, depending on who is rubbishing me, could be forgiven for reneging on my promise to shut up. It’s quite amusing how the LibDem attack dogs home in on their prey, as they have done on this thread even though they often defend the indefensible.

      Topol challenged me, at length about his description of South Twickenham being a Conservative ward. Prove I said that! He bellowed. I did and he promptly declared that “This correspendence is now complete.” What a pompous way of saying I’ve had enough of this game whilst completely ignoring the fact that LibDem Geoff Pope was routinely re-elected. Perhaps it did indeed have something to do with the quality of the candidate.

      As to the future, as Riverside Resident requests, it would be really interesting to hear what Mr Topol and his colleagues think of the proposal to build a 3rd southern runway at Heathrow which, if built, will have a major impact on those living in the ward he hopes to represent and the one I live in.
      Alexis.
      PS: The past performance of candidates does indeed give a good guide to their likely future performance despite RR’s assertion to the contrary

    • Riverside Resident

      The Liberal Democrats I understand from their literature, as indeed the Conservatives are locally, are opposed to any third runway at Heathrow so cannot see Mr Topol or any of his colleagues across the Borough deviating from that line, however, as I said earlier residents really ought to contact potential candidates directly rather than to and froing on this thread.

    • Steve Topol

      From Steve Topol

      Previously, I said ‘this correspondence is now complete’, as Alexis suggested that she & I had both had our say. As Alexis admits, she has reneged. Thus I have the right of reply to her latest attacks.

      South Twickenham has elected Conservative candidates over Liberal Democrats for the past 15 years. It was on that basis that I described South Twickenham as a Conservative area, in the same way as Twickenham is described as a Lib Dem Constituency, as it routinely elects Vince Cable as it’s MP. That does not mean that I said that everyone in South Twickenham is Conservative. Indeed, at the last local elections in South Twickenham 6738 votes were cast for Conservative candidates, to 5971 votes for Lib Dem candidates. Alexis omits to mention that when Lib Dem candidates were routinely elected in South Twickenham, it’s ward boundaries were very different to its boundaries today.

      I had previously challenged Alexis to prove her accusation that Lib Dem activists ‘take over’ local Societies as a way of achieving ‘local dominance’
      I said her accusation was FALSE, & I stand by that. In her subsequent replies, she offered not a shred of evidence. Once again Alexis, when you next renege on what you posted on Friday, I challenge you to prove your accusation, or else withdraw it.

      On Alexis’s last point – re Heathrow Airport Expansion. Good question from Alexis. The answer is that I’m opposed to expanding Heathrow Airport. No more runways, we have enough to put up with. The Lib Dems have been, are & will always be consistent on this. The UK may need more air transport capacity, but other areas of Britain must carry their share of the burden.

      Steve Topol

    • AnonyMouse

      Perhaps Alexis could give us the low down on the Conservative & UKIP candidates for Twickenham Riverside?

      Riversiders will be intrigued to know which of his/her chums are lining up for which party.

    • boanerges

      I don’t think prospective candidates from other parties have yet so publicly entered the arena.
      By what Mr Topol writes, having stood on an manifesto pledge that he knew the public didn’t want, it would seem likely that he will, if elected,slavishly follow the party line irrespective of his constituents’ wishes or best interests. But that’s politics, ennit?

    • Steve Topol

      From Steve Topol
      Reply to Boanerges.

      It’s safe to assume that the one thousand nine hundred and twenty two voters who voted for me did support the Lib Dem manifesto.

      It’s not safe to assume that I would slavishly follow the party line. If I was elected to public office, i would be very keen to represent my constituents.

    • Alexis

      Sorry AnonyMouse – I haven’t a clue. Why not try LibDem Councillor Gareth Roberts? He seems to know what’s going in the stygian depths of our local politics long before mere mortals like me. That will probably ensure another fistfull of thumbs up – for whatever they are worth.
      I’m much more interested in influencing the silent readers who make their own decision at the ballot box.
      Alexis

  10. Purple Haze

    I assume that this development will be beneficial to the Council in the form of ‘planning gain’?
    When the RFU modernised and expanded the rugby stadium it was alleged that a considerable amount of money was paid to the council in the form of planning gain. But no-one seems to be able to confirm whether the Council received it, or if they did, what they spent the money on.
    Can anybody corroborate or comment on this and the proposed station development?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planning_gain
    http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn01298

    • twickerman

      The Council agreed to accept £6,000,000 in ‘financial contributions’ from Solum. It’s clearly documented in their S106 Legal Agreement.

      Most of this is for affordable housing (somewhere else).

      With the £6m S106 cost and £5m podium cost it’s hardly surprising Solum needed to build BIG to generate approx £8m profit for themselves (ie 20% of £40m+ revenue).

      Solum’s legal costs + the temporary station/gantry/steps costs + ongoing replacement bus costs = a huge sum of cash that has to be spent before they can even assess the financial viability of phase 2: building the tiny station entrance and residential tower blocks.

      If the Phase1 podium costs are higher than expected, that may be the final Solum legacy. A 1500m2 2 storey high slab of concrete, and a temporary station.

      At least Solum have agreed to grass over the podium, should Phase 2 not go ahead. I wish I was kidding, but this is actually part of the approved planning application!

    • Simon H

      Just out of interest, twickerman, where do you live?

    • twickerman

      I live in the centre of twickenham

    • Simon H

      I ask the question, twickerman, because it seems to be that most TRAG leading lights live in a few streets around the station and, I suspect, are more concerned about the short-term disruption of the building work, than the supposedly terrible architecture. They are sincere and determined, certainly, but I don’t think they speak for many people in wider Twickenham.

    • twickerman

      I’m more concerned about the long term impact of the 8 & 9 storey tower blocks just a few metres away from ugly old Regal house and Travelodge.

      As far as I’m aware the appalling architecture and poor station design has always been TRAG’s greatest concern.

      Three years of weekend and night time construction work and a temporary station won’t be much fun for residents, commuters, visitors and rugby fans either.

    • Purple Haze

      How do we guarantee that this sum of £6 million is spent on what is promised and that it just doesn’t ‘dissapear’? Are there binding clauses in the S106 Legal Agreement that stipulate what the funding will be spent on?

  11. Anonymous

    Hallelujah! At last! Now we can finally get the work started. No doubt the disruption will be more acute for commuters as a result of TRAG’s action.

  12. Twicktor Meldrew

    When does the building start?

    • AnonyMouse

      Twicktor
      Solum have to submit & get construction plans approved first.
      Then we’ll get an idea about timescales and extent of station closures & disruption.
      So much fun!
      I suspect you won’t believe it!!!

  13. AnonyMouse

    Philosophical viewpoint:

    Politicians are like nappies. They are disposable, need to be changed regularly & are all full of the same old shite!