High Street Update – Spring

Our last High Street Update was way, way back in February. It was a time when the election, new road surfaces, bust-ups over school sites and questions about landscape gardening seemed but distant dreams. Halcyon days some might think. But we are where we are. And where are we? We’re in the place where it’s time for a quick update.

Food Hall goes here...

Food Hall goes here…

Let us begin with some good news. The launch of the new food emporium in Twickenham is getting ever closer. The Church Street Food Hall plans to open its doors in May. It will be in the former Langtons book shop premises on Church Street. The responsible adults behind the scheme have steamed up with various providers of essential victuals, including the likes of Borough Wines, to bring a range of food and drink to the twickerati (that’s you, btw). It’s an interesting idea and we wish them well. Will the new food hall help bring in the extra footfall that Church Street so badly needs? Let’s hope so. It needs it.

Church Street Food Hall poster (click to enlarge)

Church Street Food Hall poster (click to enlarge)

Staying in Church Street, Wild Goose has flown the nest and we hear rumours that another store very nearby may soon be bidding farewell to Twickenham. On a more positive note, the Lovers Lights pop-up shop that has been occupying the old Mercado store is moving a few doors down to take up residence in Monica Boxley’s old place.

My word, we’ve got all this way in our update without a single mention of a new cafe. How can this be? Well, to assuage your concern we can report that the former cafe Bellissimo on London Road has had a makeover and is now open longer and later and describing itself as a cafe / restaurant. Good luck to ’em is what we say.

Bellissimo, London Road

Bellissimo, London Road

For those who love a mobile phone accessory or two (and choose to actually buy them from a real shop rather than online) then the newly opened Sanbei on Heath Road could be just the ticket. Here at twickerati we’re not overly familiar with current trends for mobile phones and associated accessories so we’ll leave that one for the kids to take a view on. And if Heath Road is simply too far to go then there’s something very similar just launched on King Street called Phones4All  for all your buying and selling mobile phone requirements.  If you think its branding looks exactly the same as the now defunct chain Phones4U then help yourself to a biscuit and a spotters badge.

On Heath Road, Heath’s Sandwich Bar has moved from its spot tucked away around the corner from the florist to a new site across the street at 158 Heath Road. In fact, it’s in the shop formerly occupied by the Tai Fok takeaway. This means we’ll never get the chance to tell people to ‘get Tai Fok’ ever again. It’s a massive shame.

Heath's Sandwich Bar

Heath’s Sandwich Bar

Staying on Heath Road, remember Scruby’s the old furniture store near the funeral directors and Wild About Flowers? The rumour seems to be that Tesco own, or at least owned, the site. Despite the Tesco Express setting up opposite a while back there’s been nothing doing at the Scruby’s site for a good few years. Until now. So, what’s happening? A mini-Waitrose? No. Plans to develop the site into flats? Nope, or at least not yet! A BBQ rib place? Negatory! The signs of life are actually human habitation. Squatters seem to have moved in.





And finally, in other news and reminders…. the Rugby Store on York Street has closed. Word is that they might be looking for another shop in the town and with the World Cup now only months away they’d be foolish not to. Bensons for Beds is now open on York Street.  Also mentioned last time but now fully open is our trio of American influenced places: The Shack, Blues Smokehouse and the Chicago Rib Shack. So far we’ve only been to the Shack but we liked the place. Feedback on the others is also positive. Elsewhere Flavours of Sicily the Italian restaurant opposite The Three Kings has been open for a while but is having an ‘official’ opening party for locals on 1st May. That particular location doesn’t have a great recent history so we really hope they get more luck than their predecessors.

And that, little friends, is that. It wasn’t a big High Street Update and it most certainly wasn’t clever but we hope you found it useful in some small way.



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

18 responses to “High Street Update – Spring

  1. Linda Morton

    Squatters in Twickenham, Heath Road. Last week I e mailed Vince Cable following his letter to the residents of Twickenham to enquire how the resedents can help, To recap, the building is owned by Tesco, the squatters moved in last week and due to the 144 notice slapped on the premises, they cannot be evicted, as far as we know no criminal damage has been caused when they moved in making it a civil case, due to it being a commercial building. I contacted the police who couldn’t help and the council who informed me that Tesco have to raise a court order . I telephoned the CEO office of Tesco and the update now is that Tesco are raising a court order this week and dependant on the speed of our council dealing with it, the time frame to evict them now is in the hands of the court and our council. The Legal Affairs team at Tesco have confirmed to me verbally , that once the squatters have been evicted they will seek advise on securing the building from a professional company who deals with ‘security on buildings to prevent squatters’ and then it will go on the market to Be sold.
    Linda Morton

    • Sally

      Thank you for doing that. I got as far as the council who were at pains to say that it was nothing to do with them and how about the police.

  2. Steve P

    More churn on the semi-circle of shops at the end of London Road. Margherita Pizza has morphed into another cheap broiler fryer (just around the corner from a similar) and Chanterelle looks to have been emptied of it’s contents. Wrong side of the tracks.

  3. Sally

    This might be already happening but could it be possible for shopkeepers to be given exit interviews ? As is done at work? So many businesses have closed whether on Church Street or the High street and while some seemed pretty ill thought out, others looked like just the thing for the area and seemed to be great successes. The most common reason I have heard is the rising rents along with some criticism of how the council has doe X or failed to do Y.It would be nice to collate what the departing businesses actually say. I am especially interested in the departing Church St shops. Par Ici , Langton’s,…

  4. boanerges

    Elaine – very sorry I got the date wrong: Big Gig is on Saturday 11 July. This will be the third time this event has been held

  5. Thanks Twickerati! It sounds like the traders in Church Street might be interested in some tasteful (not too loud / raucous) live music for periods during the day in the Street. If this was combined with a bit of a publicity campaign plus an angle – like local singer / songwriters -, of which there are many locally – I think it would increase the buzz about Church Street along with the footfall! This would really help the singer / songwriters to get more exposure (and income) too! There are some local acoustic music events, which would benefit too – like the “Songwriters Circle” at the Fox (https://www.facebook.com/groups/559169637560421/?fref=ts), Twickfolk, at the Cabbage Patch (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000699771251&fref=ts) and our own Open Mic night (largely acoustic, http://www.elainesamuels.co.uk/OpenMicNights.htm) not too far away! Church Street also has its very own fab singer songwriter, artisan trader, Janis Harves! I’m really interested in talking to someone about taking this forward. I can be reached from this page (http://www.elainesamuels.co.uk/elaine.htm). Who should be approached about possibly getting this project going?

    • Elaine,
      On twitter a month of two ago I suggested a Twickenham Music Weekend when all the pubs and bars put on music of some kind – indoors and outside. Different times of day, different genres, and with an event listing (or simple app) so people can dip in and out or go on a mini-musical pub crawl. Not an original idea but a good one I think.

      Needs both Church Street and all the pubs in town to buy into it. There are a few musos out there but it shouldn’t be overly difficult to organise as there are lots of places which already have music licences.

    • Hi Twickerati, the day where pubs and venues in Twickenham all have a music event sounds like a good one and should encourage pedestrian traffic. in the town. I also think that a regular, say weekly musical slot (2 – 4 hours?) in Church Street itself, in the summer could encourage people to form the habit of visiting it. Not so much busking, where people might feel a little uncomfortable but a slot, which is publicised as “Church Street Music” or something similar, sponsored by the shops / council, where the musicians apply to play and are of a good quality, they get a fee for their performance and can sell their albums?

    • boanerges

      Our Big Gig on Diamond Jubilee Gardens, Sat 21 July, will feature four hours (or more) of local groups. This is an annual event, organised by Twickenham Riverside Trust, and is part of a national Big Gig taking place on that weekend

    • Hi boanerges, your weekend music event sounds very interesting. I make July 21st a Tuesday though! I am available on the weekend of 18th July though. How does a musician / performer get involved with this event? I mentioned the potential live music in Church Street however because it sounded like it was Church Street which needed a boost in footfall.

  6. Adam

    I can confirm that both Shack 68 and Blue’s Smokehouse are excellent. I’ve not tried the third one (yet).

  7. botogol

    what I noticed on King Street is different coloured paving slabs outside Santander and he other shops bought by El Brute. A harbinger of the Square perhaps

  8. botogol

    there seems to be only three or four flavours in Sicily…

  9. Jonathan

    I’m always meeting people who don’t know that Twickenham has a riverside. Maybe some finger-post signs, and brown tourist signs on the A316 would help improve visitor numbers.

    They are very effective for National Trust properties – to a point where they often have to be taken down as they result in too many visitors.

  10. Anonymous

    Spot on as always ! Thanks for the update although I am somewhat concerned by the squatters. But I won’t go down that road …

  11. Hester Huttenbach

    The Eel Pie museum will be opening upstairs in Twickenham library from June until end of October..the library will open on Sunday’s for the duration.

    • Regarding increasing footfall in Church Street, why not have some live music in the street – perhaps an organised initiative, where there is music for a few hours at certain times of the day (say lunch time / afternoon for a few hours) with support from the shop owners, which can publicise a programme of really good, local performers and make Church Street a focus for people visiting Twickenham? I would be interested in helping with this.

    • Good points Elaine. We covered the state of Church Street more fully on a post earlier in the year and there was a lot of discussion about it in the comments.

      “Whither Church Street” link: http://wp.me/pVBg2-322