What is Twickenham’s greatest asset? Its rugby connection? No. Its wide selection of charity shops, curry houses and cafes? Nope! Its people? Come off it! The only time “people are our greatest asset” is on that poster gathering dust behind the filing cabinet in HR. Well what then? It’s the river, stupid.

Our location on the banks of the greatest river in London, if not in the whole of Englandshire, is what raises Twickenham from being just another London suburb to being somewhere special. And we really do mean special rather than ‘special’. But there’s a dark secret at the heart of all this specialness. And it’s this: Twickenham does not always make the best use of its riverside location. But things have been changing and more change is on the way. The next few months will see improvements to Twickenham Embankment, and specifically to the section in front of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens which at the moment looks, well, a bit crap (see below).

Embankment, Twickenham
Embankment, Twickenham (a bit crap)

We’re talking new paving, new flower beds and planters, new lighting, clearer crossings. The work will also remove the current trees – presumably good news for those who park underneath and regularly get birds dumping on their cars (we don’t even want to think about what the blokes get up to!)

Anyway… the work follows in the footsteps of the creation of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens in 2012 and the 2009 improvements to the eastern end of Embankment near the Barmy Arms. The makeover will give a boost to this underused section of riverbank where the trees and ranks of parked cars effectively place a screen in front of the river. The work falls under the Twickenham Action Plan umbrella and the artist’s impression on El Brute’s website looks good. And cor blimey, they’ve even managed to make the majority of the cars disappear too. Now that’s magic!

A longer term plan should be to move the parking further back from the river (the ice cream van can stay, of course) and properly link up the Gardens to the river frontage but in the meantime, improving this section of “Twickenham’s greatest asset” is a good move. Work will start at the end of September and last for 21 weeks.

* LBRuT Page