Bikes, buses & a bloody big rabbit. It’s a consultation-fest

Consultations, improvements and going Dutch with Alice. Oh yes, it’s all happening in Twickenham. We’ve got three issues to assist with your enlightenment and spiritual wellbeing so please read on, dear reader, read on…

Twickenham to Become a Mini-Holland?

Some bikes, but not Dutch ones

Some bikes, but not Dutch ones

Yep, skin up, sit back and relax whilst also supporting a football team that plays an attractive game but which never quite delivers the silverware. Oh, and get on your bike too. Putting the lazy stereotypes aside for one moment the “mini-Holland” thing is El Brute’s bike-focused bid submitted to Transport for London. Apparently TfL and Boris have cash to splash on cycling provision and the Council have put an ambitious set of proposals into the mix. To be fair, the mini-Holland is the theme of the whole shebang rather than El Brute’s own creation but we digress.

If it all comes to pass we’ll be cycling along railway lines (or at least near them), cycling over the river at Twickenham (or at least on a new bridge over it), using quiet routes, routes linking local centres and fast routes into London, and enjoying improved road junctions for cyclists. In other words, more and better. It all sounds impressive. They might even provide you with a free basket to hold your freshly baked scones as you cycle from the rectory to the village fete. Splendid! It’s also a long way from the cycle lane provision contained in the original Twickenham Area Action Plan (aka the TWAP) but that’s a good thing.

The bid is a vision of how things could be with a lot of external funding to make it all happen. And the bridge over the Thames at Twickenham? This idea has been promoted for a while in the form of a crossing from Radnor Gardens to Ham, although in the mini-Holland document 4 options are proposed. New bridges are also one of the suggestions in the Greater London Authority press release about the bidding process. Funny dat. True, a Twickenham crossing would provide extra options for walkers, cyclists & joggers and, although it doesn’t feel like there’s a burning demand for it, it could certainly be a ‘nice to have’.

The bid is very much a vision for the future rather than a detailed blueprint – or should that be Blue Baron Print? – and there are many issues to resolve, such as actually building a bridge across the river, putting cycle paths on land that the council doesn’t actually own, etc but it’s good to see some longer term ideas being put forward. Perhaps some of that grand vision could have been brought into the TWAP where early iterations did away with cycle routes in central Twickenham rather than expanding them. The Council has relented on some of its bike lane removal ideas. And with a little hint of irony (perhaps), the mini-Holland bid includes an image of dedicated cycle lanes by Twickenham station separated from the road by a raised kerb. Avid readers will recall that the TWAP proposed the removal of the existing painted cycle lanes here. Anyway, this new found focus on making Twickenham more attractive to cyclists (present and future) is welcome even if it does seem quite distant at the moment. Let’s see if Boris and TfL can cough up some cash.

* El Brute mini Holland
* Mayor of London press release on mini-Holland bids
(the very brief window for comments has expired)

TWAP Improvements and a Pocket Park?

Pavement improvements, York Street

Pavement improvements, York Street

Things are moving forward on the TWAP front. Yes, and all that traffic disruption in York Street is part of it too. If you get held up there, just think of it as taking one for the team. The TWAP plan has now been approved by the Independent Planning Inspector (who he?) and is now the law! It’s the bloody law, so don’t mess with it or you’ll feel the full force of the iron fist inside the tweed glove of you know who.

And, because we all love a consultation there’s one running at the moment on the following proposals:

  1. No right turn from King Street into Church Street and Water Lane during morning and afternoon peak hours Monday to Friday. We’re not sure if this is about traffic on King Street itself or about traffic in Church Street and Water Lane. Either way, it doesn’t feel like a huge problem to be grappled with. Under the plan, to drive down either of those during peak times, coming from Heath Road / King Street would require, errr, what? Driving along King Street, down York Street, turning left into Arragon Road, left onto London Road and then accessing Water Lane via a left turn from King Street. Other equally complicated options exist too. Seems like a major hassle for a bit of a non-problem.
  2. The introduction of a 20 mph zone within Twickenham Town Centre. Our view: Probably a good thing in the central area although 20 mph is generally about the speed of the traffic through there anyway, if you’re lucky.
  3. The creation of a ‘pocket park’ in Garfield Road, near Twickenham library. Two ‘plaza’ type options have been proposed. Seems sensible, so why not? Something which reduces pigeon numbers too would be good, thanks.
  4. The section of Holly Road between Grosvenor Road and London Road would be converted to one-way westbound for cars but two-way for cyclists only. This is about 10 metres long, isn’t it? Best ask the rozzers for their view as it’s right next to them. Again, it’s not clear what problem this is solving but someone out there probably knows.

Given that we’re getting all bikey, some cycle lane provision, advance cycle stops at lights and more bike parking also form part of the plan but it doesn’t feel as if we’re going fully Dutch just yet.

* Council Consultation
Deadline for comments: 12th August

York House Gardens to Get Mad Hatter and Giant Rabbit?

York House Gardens

York House Gardens

According to Richmond Council, “the formal York House Gardens has a wilderness/natural area at rear of site which lends itself to an enchanted garden trail with a variety of carvings along the route, with a magical or Alice in Wonderland feel as a suggested theme”. Oh really? Why? Apparently, there’s a dearth of children’s playgrounds in the area. They do have a point. What with just the Holly Road playground, the Diamond Jubilee Gardens playground, and playgrounds in Radnor Gardens, Cambridge Gardens, Orleans Gardens, Kneller Gardens and Moormead, it can sometime feel as if there simply aren’t enough facilities around for young children. Add to that the permanent installation of a Viking longboat / playbeach at Champions Wharf just across the road from York House and the point is clear, isn’t it?

The proposal is for a ‘garden trail’ with wooden carvings in this secluded part of the gardens. An Alice in Wonderland theme has been suggested. So the plan is to add some man-made structures into this ‘wilderness/natural’ area? Correctamundo! Call us miseries if you will but this space actually feels like one of the few that doesn’t have some kind of play park attached? And of course, children can still use it free of charge. Encourage its use by all means, maybe even add some signs to explain the plants or history of the Gardens, but do we really need a carved wooden rabbit or a Mad Hatter to make that happen? We’re not convinced.

* The plans
* The consultation
Deadline for comments: 2nd August


Filed under Council, High Street Updates, Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

35 responses to “Bikes, buses & a bloody big rabbit. It’s a consultation-fest

  1. nemesis

    Compulsory viewing on the regeneration of Poynton:

    Just have to convince the (anti)traffic engineers!

    • Yvonne Hewett

      Good video – the road layout in Poynton looks to be really well thought through, and it does seem to work. I noticed that there were significantly fewer HGVs in the new version, though; I wonder if they’re using alternative routes, or it was just a matter of time of day for the filming.
      Eliminating the pedestrian-trapping barriers in Twick town centre would be a big step towards making the place feel nicer – it certainly does in Richmond. As to shared space in the two big junctions: hmmm.

    • nemesis

      Yes Yvonne, I think there is a bit of artistic licence at work here, but I believe the overall philosophy is sound – based originally on the late Hans Monderman ideas.
      Treat people like idiots that need protecting from themselves with barriers, zoning and regulations and they behave like idiots. Give them back some responsibility and they start to look out for each other, become more alert to their surroundings and courteous to others.

    • Ed

      Brilliant, having experienced something similar in France, I would love to think we had a council brave enough to implement something similar here.

    • twickerman

      This video is very impressive.

      Unfortunately, the Twickenham Highways planners have gone the other way by narrowing the road and adding more controls.

      The use of dotted-line advisory cycle lanes along part of King Street’s inside lane will create conflict between cyclists who feel they should be safe, and motorists who feel that the cyclists are obstructing the vehicle lane. Dangerous.

      The Twickenham plans look more like a mini-USA than a mini-Holland!

    • Yvonne Hewett

      The widened pavements in King Street and single lane traffic will mean that delivery trucks (and ambulances etc) will have to park on the pavements. Again, v dangerous for cyclists.
      And if it goes ahead, a contraflow cycle lane in Holly Road would be dangerous for pedestrians as well as cyclists.

    • Alexis

      I’m not with Ms Hewett – contraflow cycle lanes work well in Belgium and Holland where everyone, whether cyclist, motorist or pedestrian seem to co-exist amicably and be aware of each other. Why is it that we seem to have so much potential for conflict? As a behavioural observer, I am amazed by the aggressiveness of a growing minority of cyclists who seem determined to find fault with motorists or pedestrians who dare to encroach on or besmirch their “territory”.
      If you are in any doubt have a look on “Lucullus” aka Tim Lennon’s Twitter stuff dated August 5th to see how he describes those who dare to spit out their chewing gum on the pavement! I have no issue with his sentiment, simply his totally inappropriate choice of expletive to describe those who do. Fortunately, for those of a more sensitive nature, his expletive has been partly asterixed out. Is that the way a primary school governor in our borough should tweet? He is also something of a self appointed local cycling champion.
      Standards seem to be slipping – what a pity.
      PS: I think Ms Hewett is also wrong about the idea of a right turn out of Wharf Lane into King St. Isn’t there already enough confusion at that junction?

    • Yvonne Hewett

      Re Holly Road: it would help if it wasn’t so narrow at the Queen’s Road end. Adding another element, ie contraflowing cyclists, just compounds the situation. Fortunately drivers are cautious and considerate but there’s always a danger, especially with the number of small children coming and going from the car park and the play area.
      Re right turn out of Water Lane: I was following up on Simon Cassini’s comment below, which I agree with.

    • twickerman


      In the TAAP plans King Street will remain a dual carriageway, minus the bus/cycle lanes and bus stops.

      Delivery vehicles will be allowed to obstruct the inside lane that will be shared by vehicles and cyclists (dotted-line advisory cycle lane) at any time of day. Hence we can expect greater congestion.

      It’s a bit bizarre and inconsistent that the Council has moved the ‘dangerous’ bus stops, but isn’t concerned about dangerous delivery vehicles. Why haven’t they enforced the use of the service roads behind the shops or restricted delivery times (like more enterprising Councils do)?

    • Yvonne Hewett

      I still think moving the bus stops is absolutely lunatic. Just wait for the reaction when people discover that their alternatives are curtailed – eg getting to choose between the 33, 68 or 281 for Teddington will be no more – and it’ll be hard on the disabled and mums with pushchairs and kids. Not to mention the diminished footfall in King Street and the effect that’ll have on the shops.

    • Ernest Marples

      As others have said, the banning of the right turn from King St into Water Lane is just barmy.

      However, I wish the Council would consider stopping through traffic in Church St by lazy drivers who can’t be *rs*d to go on to Arragon Rd and turn right. It’s supposed to be a pedestrian-friendly zone. Could it not be blocked off at one end and allow deliveries only? There’d have to be a way of vans turning round, of course, but there are plenty of similar schemes around the country which work well. Or maybe make it one-way East to West, which would surely reduce traffic.

  2. Helen

    Some of us folks in Twickenham don’t have children and while I adore them, it is nice to walk in areas where they are not playing all the time. Especially being a dog owner, I spend half the time on dog walks avoiding children in case they are weary of them. There are so many play areas for children in Twickenham, it is a very family friendly place, in York Gardens they have just added the beach area for children. Please spare a thought for those who don’t or can’t have children and keep these beautiful gardens as they are. It is a place of tranquility.

    • Helen,
      The York House Society shares your views. The gardens are one of the few historic gardens that are open to the public, and we feel the woods and the Japanese garden should be left as they are. The paths in the that area are much the same today as they were 200 years ago, and the bench near the other naked lady is a lovely quiet place just to sit and think.

    • boanerges

      have YS members been balloted on this question? Was it unanimous?

    • We have a consensus that forms the basis of our response.

      Interesting biblical pseudonym, boanerges. Would you share your real name and where you live in the borough?

    • boanerges

      I only asked the question because I know some members of YHS who have not been asked for their opinion.
      I do live in Twickenham, not far from York House, but I shall remain “a son (or daughter) of Thunder”

    • Ron

      here here, its about time we put animals above children!!! We must have less of this equality between them and dogs. Pesky young future holding little fellas that they are. ;o)

  3. Anonymous

    A new bridge is a great idea. Teddington has one, Richmond has one (3 crossing points, in fact, that can be walked across), Kew had one. Seems odd that anyone wouldn’t want Twickenham to have a crossing.

  4. nemesis

    I wonder how long before cycling becomes compulsory.

  5. Paul

    The section of Holly Road between Grosvenor Road and London Road would be converted to one-way westbound for cars but two-way for cyclists only. …it’s not clear what problem this is solving
    It allows cyclists from Cross Deep or Heath Rd to avoid being squeezed in a bottle neck in getting to London Road.

    • Purple Haze

      This means Grosvenor Road will not be used by the dangerous drivers who try to avoid the traffic queues in Station Approach and London Road. They deliberately drive the wrong way down Grosvenor Road, a one-way street of over 200 metres, using it as a short-cut to rejoin London Road via Holly Road.
      Residents and the police have been aware of this serious problem for years and action is regularly taken. These people put themselves, other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and especially young children at risk as they inevitably drive very fast to avoid being stopped.
      The penalty is a £60 fine and 3 points on your driving licence.

  6. Heathfielder

    excellent, another consultation to be ignored. The opposite of the Eggerton Road site which has no consultation at all i suppose. What is Sam Salvoni’s opinion i wonder? Probably on the beach.

    Roll on 2015 and the chance to end this abuse of power.

    Vote Tory Get Tory

    • michelangelo

      Heathfielder’s last sentence is a penetrating insight by an obviously experienced psephologist. I believe it is customary for people to vote for the party they prefer (or at least, dislike the least)
      It is good that people voted “Tory” (rather than “Whig”) last time, otherwise Riverside would have large building site now, prior to 32 luxury dwelling on the old pool site, rather than the delightful Diamond Jubilee Gardens. It reminds me of a pop song of the 60s “they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot|”

    • Heathfielder

      are jubilee gardens really delightful? it is a riverside stretch blighted by parking, where else in greater London does that happen? It is a temporary solution at best by a party that would have promised everything, and did, to regain power. ‘No third run-way’ will go the same way as’ no hi-rise buildings’ . mark my words.IF you fall for the manifesto you have yourself to blame is what my succinct summary means.

    • twickregenerate

      2014 May 22nd, same time as European elections.

  7. Simon cassini

    Re not turning right into water lane… Seems like a totally pointless exercise and will just add to the traffic coming the other way.
    More useful would be to allow traffic coming from Wharf Lane at the other end to turn right into King St instead of being forced left and having to do a dodgy and probably illegal u-turn once you get round the corner. Would be simple to install too – a yellow box at the junction and lights that let you go lright when the pedestrian lights are holding up all the traffic at the main junction.

    • Yvonne Hewett

      Spot on, Simon. The confusion and extra traffic created by people having to turn into Aragon Road to turn around will more than nullify any benefit gained from losing right turners in King Street.
      And the right turn from Wharf Lane – a very good idea.

    • Ed

      Traffic flow through Twickenham is a disaster. Unless the phasing of the traffic lights at the main junctions (Heath Rd/Cross Deep, London Rd/York St, London Rd/Arragon Rd, London Rd/Whitton Rd and Arragon Rd/York St) can be sorted out properly, everything else is just tinkering around the edges.

    • michelangelo

      traffic light phasing is a matter for TfL, not the Council

    • Ed

      But of course … to have a single body managing traffic strategy would lead to chaos!

    • twickregenerate

      Hi Simon, I hope you have made your points to El brute on-line, the Consultation of this madness closes today. One step forward, two steps back….

    • michelangelo

      “not turning right into Water Lane” please note, everybody, that this proposal is for peak hours only, and subject to approval by TfL. It is not a fulltime ban.

    • Yes but if you then have to add your car to the peak-time massive traffic queues on Arragon and London roads, what sense does that make?

    • On the days when Church St is closed I’ve been known to do a sneaky right turn out of Wharf Lane. It seems crazy that in order to go towards Richmond from my garage in Bell Lane I should have to go half-way to Teddington and do a u-turn, adding to the congestion on the main road. So far I’ve had no trouble (ie not been caught) and I’m very careful, plus people seem to understand the problem. I’ll probably ignore the no-turning at peak times re Water Lane as well and I’d be prepared to argue the case if (when) I get hauled up before m’lud.