With the regeneration of Twickenham continuing, Richmond Council (aka LBRuT) are now looking further ahead to ensure that, in their words, “the town builds on its recent successes and continues to develop in a way that’s fit for the future”. El Brute’s planning gurus have been thinking big thoughts about what the town should look like by the final years of the next decade. A project, called “Twickenham 2026” is being led by external consultants but has the full support of El Brute. The main challenge they’re looking to solve is how to capitalise on current roads and pavements work whilst accommodating the ever-increasing demand for property and the knock-on effect on school places, traffic and local services. It’s basically phase 2 of the Twickenham Action Plan (aka TWAP2).
The boldest proposal put forward so far is also the one that El Brute are most enthusiastic about and, guess what, it’s also likely to be the most controversial. To deal with the expected traffic problems brought about by the removal of bus lanes, wider pavements and more people just getting in their bloody cars all the time, El Brute are touting the idea of a flyover across central Twickenham. This would run from Cross Deep to Richmond Road and carry traffic over rather than through the town centre. Council Leader, Lord True aka The Blue Baron, says in the foreword to the accompanying think piece, “We have looked at options for relieving pressure on central Twickenham’s beleaguered streets and the best option is to remove the congestion by raising it above street level. This will give Twickenham town centre back to its longsuffering residents”. The document goes on to explain that options for an underpass were investigated but the high water table rendered this too expensive to solve within current budgetary constraints.
Because this will be a very major construction project the Council is proposing to take advantage of the disruption by supporting more building work at the same time. To solve the pressure on school places it’s planning to help create a new ‘super academy’ school for the whole Borough. This would be located in Twickenham, most probably on the site of Twickenham library and the temporary ‘pocket park’ in Garfield Road, off York Street. Next to this would be a new council office building to replace the civic centre and York House itself. Both developments would sit on the north side of the new flyover. The route would bring other benefits too. For example, the Twickenham 2026 brochure recommends that the shelter created by the new elevated road would provide cover for the farmers market and give a “semi-indoor” feel to the local shopping experience. A climbing wall is also proposed.
El Brute have published an aerial image of what they expect the scheme, and the town, to look like by 2026. It shows the broad sweep of the river, the new flyover running from Cross Deep to Richmond Road and the new ‘super academy’ and council office just next to it.
Here at twickerati HQ we have to say that the scale of this development feels excessive and we’ll be supporting the campaign which calls for a halt to the plans being taken any further until there’s been a radical rethink.
We don’t like it. But you might. Have your say below.
(Update: The deadline for comments was midday on 1st April 2014)
• Richmond Council Press Release