Twickenham Station Appeals Over?

Twickenham Station

Twickenham Station

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.

LINKS:
* El Brute Press Release
* TRAG

7 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Station Development

7 responses to “Twickenham Station Appeals Over?

  1. anonymouse

    That would be a good question to ask Lord True at his ‘Question Time’ public Q&A meeting on 17Sept.
    anonymouse@disney.com

  2. Purple Haze

    Let’s hope the Council sensibly spends the alleged £6 million in ‘planning gain and financial contributions’ they will get from Solum.
    (See page 7 of their S106 Legal Agreement.)
    Perhaps someone can tell us what projects the money will be spent on?

    • twickerman

      Dear Purple Haze,

      If you read the S106 agreement you will see that approx £5m is for affordable housing, and approx £1m is for rearranging the deckchairs around the tower blocks.

      Unfortunately, there’s not a penny to soften the impact of the 8 and 9 storey cliff faces that will cast lengthy shadows over station neighbours.

      The £5m affordable housing ‘contribution’ comes with many strings attached. It is profit dependent, and as a result is unlikely to be realised because of the messy construction process that will take place both before and after the Rugby World Cup.

      We can expect the demolition and construction method statements (planning applications) to be submitted any day now.
      These will contain some details of station, road, footpath and bus stop closures, but are very likely to be underestimated (as per other Solum developments such as Epsom).

      I confidently predict the planning committee will approve the construction disruption applications by a 5:4 majority (Cons:LibDem), although the planning committee is of course apolitcal!

    • Purple Haze

      Thanks for your informative answer, Twickerman.
      Yes, I understand the £5m affordable housing contribution comes with many strings attached.
      Planning gain, where a levy is diverted to the public sector, is meant to improve local amenities. But there is doubt that this Section 106 Agreement would get fully implemented, and there appear to be no particular affordable housing projects this money has been allocated to.
      Any idea what happened to the contributions the RFU paid to the Council when the stadium was extended some years back?
      Some say the Council didn’t receive any money there either.

  3. Simon H

    Thank goodness!

  4. Twicktor Meldrew

    I think this has wasted a lot of time and Twickenham residents’ money donating to a lost cause. What we as a town should do now is make sure they do a proper job of building a station fit for purpose – no shoddy workmanship, no ‘value engineering’. We have standards to maintain.

    • WalkinthePark

      Which is going to be difficult given a shoddy set of plans were approved. The Councils job is to negotiate with developers to ensure plans do not interfere with the amenity of residents, either visually or in terms of function but Lord True was only too eager to agree a set of plans that will benefit Solum and the RFC in the short term but leave Twickenham residents with a limited station topped out by an excellent example of mediocre outer London suburb architecture, Croydonia. Exactly what his handpicked panel advised him. Sad.