Twickenham High Street Update (Updated)

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock. It’s the sound of the present slipping into the past, of the ‘now’ becoming the ‘then’. Unless you have a digital watch, in which case it isn’t. With the metaphorical clock ticking away we realised that it was quite a while since we’d dumped a High Street Update on our readers so let us freeze time for a minute and take stock of what’s hot and what’s not in our town centre.

We’ve now added a few more August UPDATES updates at the end of this piece.

Perhaps the most surprising news, or perhaps not, it that Ales & Tails bar on York Street has served its last rhubarb gin and tonic. The guys there worked hard to make it a success and they put a lot of effort into marketing and getting involved in Twickenham events. Indeed, we even had a couple of very successful Twickenham ‘tweet up’ social evenings there. But perhaps it just wasn’t right for a town where traditional pubs rather than bars tend to the norm. Maybe it’s a rugby thing. Either way, it’s sad to see the demise of another new venture on the high street.

Ales & Tails - closed

Ales & Tails – closed

Elsewhere Monica Boxley has closed her shop on Church Street but Lovers Lights Gallery are currently using it as a pop up space in addition to their existing gallery on The Green. Worth a look for arts and crafts, especially glassware.

Lovers Lights Pop Up - Church Street

Lovers Lights Pop Up – Church Street

On Heath Road there have been a few developments. Decoration has opened selling fancy-dan paints and decorating accessories. And yes, that does mean that Farrow & Ball paint is available there and so residents of Strawberry Hill and St Margarets can rest easy. It’s a marked contrast from feline-focused charity shop Paws which previously occupied the premises. Decoration (the Alternative Paint Company as was) is part of Callahan Interiors, who specialise in kitchens and interior design from their base in Hampton Hill.

Decoration, 50 Heath Road, TW1

Decoration, 50 Heath Road, TW1

Further up Heath Road, Memories has opened in what used to be Krafty Kidz. It sells greetings cards, gift wrap, party accessories such as helium balloons and it even has a few plants on sale too. Good luck to ’em we say.

Memories, Heath Road

Memories, Heath Road

When it comes to washing up bowls and garden refuse sacks, everyone’s favourite retailer the Twickenham Discount Store has re-located from near M&S to further up Heath Road to near Tesco. What else is there to say other than it’s your ‘one stop shop’ for those little pee-podium steps, cutlery drainers and sponges for cleaning the car. It’s a Twickenham institution, innit?

Twickenham Discount Store - Heath Road

Twickenham Discount Store – Heath Road

Staying on Heath Road, the Standard Tandoori has closed down, ditto Istanbul Ocakbasi, the restaurant venue that has had more name changes than it’s served hot dinners. Also the shop last occupied by B20, Twickenham’s smallest and shortest lived cafe, is getting some kind of makeover. We’ve also noticed that one of the best cafes in central Twickenham – and supplier of strong coffee to your humble correspondent – The Coffee Lab has not been open for a while. We sincerely hope it’s not a permanent closure although it does look like it.

And of course we can’t mention high street updates without covering the opening of the Twickenham Indoor Community Market at Mac’s Diner on Mondays & Tuesdays. It sells arts, crafts and collectables and organiser Alan Winter is keen to hear from you if you want to rent a table there. See our item on the market for more information.

AUGUST UPDATES

And here’s a few that we missed above in our excitement to rush out the update and some that you’ve mentioned.

York Galleries on York Street has closed. To be honest, we can’t even remember if that’s new news or old news. You remember York Galleries? It was the place that never actually seemed to be open and had a window display of ceramic figurines and such like. Proper old school! An architects practice could be heading there.

Mi Vida has opened at 6 Heath Road in the place that used to be Twickenham Discount Store. It’s a hair & beauty salon. Want details of another hair & beauty salon? You got it! True is set to open on Cross Deep in the former Piano Lounge building. Rumours that it’s a front for Council Leader Lord True’s Twickenham-centric activities are entirely without foundation.

True on Cross Deep

True on Cross Deep

Need laser treatment? You’ll be delighted to learn that TLC Group, specialists in laser hair removal and skin and teeth whitening has opened a branch on London Road near the Police station. A great opportunity to get yourself tarted up for your police mugshot. And if you’ve still not had enough primping and preening then we’ll give a quick mention to Heath Road barbers Cut Unit who have extended into the next door premises, what used to be (very briefly) the B20 micro-cafe.

A Boots Opticians is opening on King Street in what was, among other things, the Card Factory shop. Tough competition for the local independents and Specsavers just round the corner in London Road.

Putting the Boots in

Putting the Boots in

Time to mention coffee again? OK. A new Puccino café has opened outside Twickenham station replacing the Café Taste that didn’t last long there. It’s also replacing the Puccino’s in the station itself which is closed during the current building work.

And there have been some rumblings and comments about Cook closing. They’ve tweeted that they aren’t closing and as at now the place is still definitely open for business.

And what does all this tell us? It shows that people are still willing to open new businesses in Twickenham town centre. That’s good. It also shows that the current focus of this bunch is local goods and personal services, in other words that you can’t easily get online. After all, a real haircut is generally better than an online one… unless you know different. But some might also be pondering on when healthy competition becomes ‘too much’ competition. Any ideas?

49 Comments

Filed under Food & Drink, High Street Updates, Local Issues & News

49 responses to “Twickenham High Street Update (Updated)

  1. Mr Squirrel

    Some signs of life on the high street.

    * Chuba Rasa, a Malaysian restuarant is opening where Standard Tandoori was: http://chubarasa.com/
    * Heath’s Sandwich Bar is moving across the road to the boarded up shop next to the off license. That shop has been an eye sore for a while so I’m glad somebody is finally moving in
    * Cafe Ben Thanh, a Vietnamese cafe is opening on York St where Cafe Coffee Day used to be
    * Some movement where Istanbul Ocakbasi is but no idea what it will be yet. That place has changed hands so many times, hoping the next one sticks..

  2. Sally

    I so wish they’d sort out the old Wishbone store next to Cousins-it looks really revolting.The Council have an odd demarcation line with vacant shops-its for the landlord to clean them even when it is clear the landlord is absent/has no such intertions.
    Cousins: hooray for a local independent shop-but if only the guys working there didn’t think its winning women over to call us sweetheart/darling/luv and lifted the quality a bit.
    When I first moved to Twickenham, Church Street had an excellent toy shop and a tea/chocolate shop, both very well targeted to the passing trade. They were a delight at Christmas.Both closed saying the rents were too high.Same with the book shop.I am sick of vacant shops standing to illustrate the greed of their landlords. Often very silly businesses open and ,deservedly, close rapidly, but the lost Church Street shops were much loved.

    • High business rates are another factor in the failures. A local restaurant I frequented for years found the rates crippling, and with seemingly nothing given back in return (not even waste disposal included in the price).

  3. sazzy

    Best Italian Restaurant! (Twickenham border!)
    Well its not really Twickenham although its on Waldegrave Road, we have been to La Dolce Vita several times now and its simply the best most authentic Italian for miles and not expensive. Really want them to do well – as with other businesses, ‘Use it or lose it’.

    • Sally

      Thanks for the recomendation-we have been after reading it, and it really is terrific.The best Italian food I have had for years.

  4. Mark Williams

    Looks like another large shop in Twickenham is closing…. http://www.movehut.co.uk/property/69531/

  5. Mr Squirrel

    There is a planning application for a “Cafe Ben Thanh” where Cafe Coffee Day used to be on York St. Sounds like a Vietnamese cafe?

  6. Anyone know what’s going on with the Old Anchor? The people who kicked Barry and Rachel out mucked them about for about two years and now it’s just sitting there looking sad.

  7. Here are some updates that we’ve added in the main article above:

    York Galleries on York Street has closed. To be honest, we can’t even remember if that’s new news or old news. You remember York Galleries? It was the place that never actually seemed to be open and had a window display of ceramic figurines and such like.

    Mi Vida has opened at 6 Heath Road in the place that used to be Twickenham Discount Store. It’s a hair & beauty salon as is “True” which is set to open on Cross Deep.

    TLC Group, specialists in laser hair removal and skin and teeth whitening has opened a branch on London Road near the Police station. A great opportunity to get yourself tarted up for your police mugshot.

    A Boots Opticians is opening on King Street in what was, among other things, the Card Factory shop.

    A new Puccino café has opened outside Twickenham station replacing the Café Taste that didn’t last long there.

    • michelangelo

      Looks as if Reels in King St (fruit machines) has finally succumbed (doors padlocked). Any news on it?

  8. Angelina Jolly

    Does anyone know who owns the old Scruby’s store that’s been empty for years now, in between Heath Gardens and Saville Road?

    I heard that Tesco own it and that they’re sitting on it to prevent other mini supermarkets opening near them (not that that’s worked with Sainsbury’s opening on the Green and Morrison’s in Blockbusters). Please can whoever does own it do something with it soon? Perhaps in the short-run let local artists take advantage of those big windows and use it as a temporary work space and pop-up-gallery?

  9. Horace Walpole

    We residents of Strawberry Hill do not take the monstrous slur in your Callaghan Interiors paragraph about Farrow and Ball paints lightly. We have our F&B colours mixed in Dulux at Brewers in Heath Gardens for half the price.

  10. Steve P

    Soon you will be able to get a new nose/teeth/tushy on London Road – a body reajustment emporium has opened up next to the police station.

  11. Purple Haze

    Cook is a decent shop, but it’s a small player situated between Waitrose and M&S just a few hundred yards away from each other that both open late. Apparently competition from these stores is why the delicatessen that used to be in the shop opposite Cook (now Cafe Bellissimo) closed down.
    I’ve never had anything to do with the retail business, but like other contributors I do have to ask whether proper market research is carried out before some of these places open their doors. The owners of a lot of them don’t seem to look at local demographics at all.
    Without trying to appear churlish and naming names, you do wonder why some of these businesses open up when you know they will be dead in the water after a few months, and you are proven correct most of the time.
    I know some of them think they will make a lot of money on rugby days, but that’s hardly a suitable business model unless you are a pub when a huge amount of punters can come through your doors.
    Sometimes it looks downright suspicious too when shops, cafes and restaurants are refitted out and never open, or if they do, they close shortly afterwards. It’s not a cheap option running a business like this.
    There is a lot of retail space in Twickenham spread out over a large area but most of it seems to be occupied. However, certain enterprises do seem to come and go quite frequently. Sad to see many shops in Church St still empty as well.

  12. Ed

    Have you forgotten our new auction house and café, High Road Auctions, in Heath Road, or did I miss it in a previous episode?

    • The cafe inside the auction house is awesome. The polish lady who manages it cooks fresh food at very reasonable prices. I now have my lunch there everyday. The cafe is open seven days a week and they have free wifi. The only downside is the fact that they have no air con so it can get quite hot inside but the good food mitigates the temperature.

  13. Boss

    Cook should have tried opening late. Waitrose and Marks are full of folk off the train grabbing something for their dinner around 7pm.

  14. Anonymous

    Moved out of Twickers nine months ago, but was back there yesterday and it’s the same old story. Inappropriate, foolish shops opening with little market research only for them to close six months later.

    The council really has to grab the bull by the horns and convert at least 40 units into residential or other use or this pattern will continue until the area starts to really slide.

    • boanerges

      It is up to the owners of those “units” to decide what they want to do with them. Luckily, we do not live in a totalitarian state, where the “council” or “government” can just take things over. That said, I am sure the council and Twickenham traders are as anxious as anyone to get a good end result

    • Anonymous

      I think this is a bit unfair.. If anything there are less empty shops than has been in a while. The high street is still far from pretty though..

    • If you want the high street tidied up the answer is to press the council to make all of it a Conservation Area. The section by WHSmiths to Poundland – on one side of the road – is one and that’s why the shops thee have nicer and less garish signs. It also means the council has more controls over replacement shop fronts.

      It’s the devise they used to gentrify The main drag in Richmond and I feel it would work well in Twickenham.

      It would improve the feel of Twickenham no end. It’s all very well spending millions on fancy paving – but when you have poor quality shop fronts and signs that wouldn’t look out of place at Southend on sea – the expenditure is somewhat wasted.

  15. Dear old Standard Tandoori – it was Twickenham’s second oldest curry house (after the Rawalpindi) and opened in 1975.

  16. Sean

    Also, if you’re sick and tired of Cousins’ overinflated prices, try the off license on London Road, they’re selling quite good fruit and veg.

    • I agree and the staff are really nice and friendly.

    • Mr Squirrel

      I can vouch for them as well. Very cheap and decent quality fruit and veg. Some of the produce doesn’t look as good or uniform as Waitrose’s but taste wise there isn’t any difference really. Got 15 oranges and 8 avocados for £2 in total the other day. Now have to figure out what to do with them!

  17. Sean

    And next to Lulu’z there’s a new laser treatment place called TLC, and one more hair dresser next to M&S.

  18. illiad1

    other traffic news! york st now ONE lane due to more works… and king st traffic lights seem to be switched offf… 😦 😦

    • Ed

      On Saturday 26th 10am it took over an hour to get from the Shell garage/Oak Lane to the mini-roundabout on Cross Deep and back again. 😦

  19. Yvonne Hewett

    Drat! I really enjoyed Coffee Lab’s signs, and his coffee and brownies were excellent. Gonna miss him.

  20. Anonymous

    Istanbul ocakbasi has also closed, as well as Standard Tandoori on Heath Road.

  21. Coffee lab has closed. According to twitter they have relocated to Esher!

    The B20 shop has been taken over by the Greeks who run the Cut Unit next door. According to their twitter feed the shop will offer tanning solutions and clothing….