Conjuring up an image of a fat lady singing is probably sexist, sizist and, err, voice-ist but we’re going with it anyway. Why? Because it seems that TRAG’s challenge to El Brute’s approval of the Twickenham station development may have now run its course. In other words, it’s over and the dulcet tones of a fat lady singing can be heard above the noise of the road, rail and air traffic in Twickenham. Needless to say these tones will soon be drowned out by years of construction work but that’s for another time.
You will recall that TRAG’s appeal against the planning committee’s decision back in 2011 was dismissed in a judicial review and also by the Court of Appeal in May of this year although El Brute did cop some flak about the way the Twickenham Advisory Panel’s report into the scheme had been handled by the committee. Despite the rulings TRAG pushed on and explored the option of taking the case to the Supreme Court. It hasn’t worked out for them. Richmond Council has announced that three Supreme Court judges refused permission for the case to be taken further and ordered TRAG to pay the Council’s costs. A railway-centric joke about reaching the end of the line could be inserted here but could be considered insensitive. We won’t go there. It might provide a platform for further puns.
The Council’s press release contains a sprinkling of classic (and slightly misguided) phrases such as the legal action being designed to “prevent the modernisation of Twickenham station”. Given that TRAG have actively championed proposals for a new low-rise station development this seems a bit rich. The release ends with a rousing call to arms from the Dear Leader himself with Lord True quoted as saying: “I hope we can finally put this matter to bed, because from start to finish this campaign has stood in the way of Twickenham’s best interests. Now I call upon Network Rail to get on with the job”. We’ve not seen if Network Rail have bothered to reply yet but we look forward to the photo opportunity of the Blue Baron, sporting hard hat and hi-viz vest, delivering the inaugural sledgehammer blow to the old station as the building work gets under way. Don’t rule it out, it could happen.