TWAP Update: Council to Buy Bank?

“TWAP! In the name of love, before you break my heart!” as The Supremes didn’t sing back in 1965. But they might have done had they been living in Twickenham rather than the Motor City and whilst taking a keen interest in the regeneration of the town (48 years in the future). That makes next to no sense but luckily a plan going before Richmond Council’s cabinet on 16th May is a little grounded in reality.

In support of its Twickenham Action Plan (aka TWAP) El Brute is proposing to buy a piece of land for the good of us all. Huzzah! Probably. The site in question is on the corner of King Street and Water Lane. Or to be precise it’s 1, 1a and 1b King Street (namely Santander, M&Co and Superdrug) and 2/4 Water Lane (the car park area behind the bank). The intention? To open up the corner of Water Lane, King Street and Church Street into more of a plaza-like thing, and make better use of the area behind Santander. This is likely to involve linking up the space with the service road that runs along the top of the Jubilee Gardens. Furthermore, by giving the Council ownership of all the land between King Street and Twickenham Embankment it would allow for a more coherent approach to improving and developing this valuable piece of Twickenham’s riverside. And that’s the tricky part, ‘improving’ is not always the same as ‘developing’ and one person’s exciting new development is another’s blot on the landscape. Needless to say any building project won’t be without cost and involving a commercial partner whose objectives might not be quite to the liking of every single person in Twickenham who’s ever held an opinion could present some challenges. Remember the plans for the pool site? Course you do, but we live in hope.

There might also be some who wonder how the Council can start buying up land during a recession but with the plot on the market, it does feel like a real opportunity for El Brute to invest in something that will help deliver a long-term improvement for Twickenham. And, when it comes to considering the options in detail, keeping the huge asset that is Twickenham’s river frontage open for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike should be at the top of the list.

More on this story to follow. Probably.

* Richmond Council papers on the plan
* Richmond Council Cabinet Agenda
* Twickenham Riverside Blog – background on the site




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

22 responses to “TWAP Update: Council to Buy Bank?

  1. Anonymous

    Is there any update on this post the meeting? This would be amazing and possibly the single biggest thing to revolutionise Twickenham for the better. This has to happen!

  2. You can drive through Twickenham and never know it’s on the river so this would be the perfect solution. In fact, I’m so keen on the idea, I’m willing to bring my own (unused) lumphammer and lend a hand to the destruction! Bring it on! And yes, I am shallow enough to say that I’ll vote for any party that backs this plan!

  3. This is a great idea. I’ve thought for ages that the solution to this area would be to bulldoze the whole block and open up the one real asset we have – the riverside. At the moment, the town turns its back on the river.
    Bring on the wrecking ball!

  4. Steve P

    This little corner is the result of a V1 strike in Twickenham back in the war. Maybe Solum could be persuaded to knock up a commorative tower block, Buzzbomb Heights?

  5. Angela

    Today’s R&T Times tells us that someone has taken my suggestion literally and has already begun demolishing Iceland!
    Check out: ‘Shopper hit by falling roof tile in King Street, Twickenham’!!

    • Simon H

      Every little helps.

    • Gareth Roberts

      “That’s why mum’s gone to casualty”

    • Angela

      Gareth, I am so sorry your Mum was in the wrong place at that moment. If you have seen the Richmond and Twickenham Times you might have spotted this quote: Builder Martin Gould said: “This poor woman was sitting there with two ambulances and blood coming out of her head.”
      To have not one but TWO ambulances coming out of her head must have very upsetting for your Mum! Anyway I wish her well and hope she is not too traumatised by her shopping trip today.

    • Gareth Roberts

      Ah……no……more a play on words on Iceland slogan. No relation but thank you for your concern nevertheless.

  6. Matt

    This is very exciting news, lets hope they do it right – having a view of the Thames from the high street will give it a real boost – just what the place needs!

  7. Anonymous

    sounds like a great idea. how come you know all these things?

    • jimbo

      This news was in the Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet Agendas, available for all to peruse 5 days ahead of the meetings (held on 15 and 16 May, respectively). Search for “calendar” on the Council website, click on the committee you’re interested in, and lo and behold!

    • Shhh. Don’t tell everyone.

  8. Anonymous

    This is a brilliant idea. Go for it EL Brut

  9. AnonyMouse

    This is a great idea, so long as El Brute don’t ask Solum to develop it!

  10. G

    Amazing news and incredibly welcome if it happens. If made into a public plaza you’d have the most wonderful vista of Twickenham from the High Street, revolutionising the area. This has to happen and would transform Twickenham from caterpillar to butterfly.

  11. Max

    Yes Great 🙂 Please buy more land

  12. Angela

    Wow!!!!! wow again! That sounds promising.
    It even seem like a really nice idea. While they are at it could they not buy the whole block right up to the Iceland corner, knock it down and get rid of a most unappetising strip of high street? Maybe then poor old Twickenham would stand a chance to pick itself up. With so many empty shops in the town already all businesses that still want to be here could probably be shoehorned into Church Street and other bits of King Street etc.

    • Agreed, Angela. Get rid of the whole block. Apart from the old hall, which is rather quaint, and could make a nice little focus to the development. The rest is grim, and should be binned – nothing to get sentimental about there.

  13. Rufus McDufus

    Not sure on the idea of Council buying up land either, but then this could well be what it takes to really do something worthwhile on the riverside. If only all the whole block from King St. to the river could be re-developed…