Extract of design from LBRuT website
Extract of design from LBRuT website

Arguments over the plans for Twickenham riverside rumble on as LBRuT’s 11th December deadline for feedback fast approaches. The idea for the newly purchased site running down Water Lane from King Street to the river hasn’t met with universal approval. OK, forget universal approval, it doesn’t even seem to have met with widespread Twickenham approval. We recently ran a simple 24 hour poll on Twitter. It read: “What’s your view on LBRuT’s new design concept for the Twickenham Riverside development?” and it offered a choice of two options:
(a) Broadly right
(b) Simply wrong

121 voted, not a large sample we’ll admit and not a very scientific poll but the results were:
(a) Broadly right 37%
(b) Simply wrong 63%

Interesting. Comments on other social media platforms tell a similar story. The Richmond & Twickenham Times ran their own poll and managed to find a few more people in favour, but not too many more.

The regency style development complete with amphitheatre, flats and shopping arcade has generated plenty of heated debate and the slanging match has continued in the press. The R&TT reports on local Lib Dem Head Honcho, Gareth ‘Red Robbo’ Roberts accusing the current conservative administration of hypocrisy over comments made back in 2008 by Geoffrey Samuel, now the Council’s Deputy Leader (from central casting), about not handing over public land for private development only to come up with a plan in 2015 that could see up to 40 flats on the site. Different times, different plans? You decide.  And to help you do just that we’ve even included a link below to the housing-focused scheme favoured by the Lib Dems back then too.

Meanwhile, the Twickenham Lido brigade say they have been talking to other architects, including Kemp Muir Wealleans (KMW) who were not selected for the Twickenham gig, about alternative options. Where this one will go we just don’t know considering that El Brute seem dead set against any kind of lido plan whatsoever. “This lido’s not for building” as a fictitious local Conservative Councillor might yet say in a bizarre tribute to Margaret Thatcher.

Whether it’s ‘Lido a-go-go’ or ‘Lido a-no-no’, many residents are still expressing reservations about the idea of housing as part of the scheme, about the scale of it, about whether it really opens the town to the river and about the regency styling which harks back to the glory days of, well, Richmond, rather than lil’ ol’ Twickenham.  As you know, the chosen architects for the Twickenham site, Q&F Terry, redeveloped Richmond Riverside some years back and their new ideas for Twickenham fit squarely within their remit as ‘designers of new classical buildings’.

In the spirit of referencing the past, we tracked down these images on the excellent Britain from Above website. You can see how Richmond’s current Terry-designed riverside has a nod to its previous incarnation. As for their plans for Twickenham, perhaps less so.

Richmond – back in the day

Britain from Above - Richmond Bridge 1949 Original image - http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/eaw026799
Britain from Above – Richmond Bridge 1949
Original image – http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/eaw026799

Before – Twickenham in 1928

Britain from Above - Eel Pie Island, 1928 Visit page
Britain from Above – Eel Pie Island, 1928
Visit page

Now – Twickenham in 2015

Twickenham Embankment from Eel Pie Bridge
Twickenham Embankment from Eel Pie Bridge

After – Twickenham in 2020?

Extract of design from LBRuT website
Extract of design from LBRuT website

The El Brute consultation remains online for your comments. The Council has said it will listen to feedback and that the design can be modified. Will the modifications be sufficiently wide in scope to satisfy all those who have expressed reservations? Will a silent majority now rise up as one and voice their support? Who knows. It would be fascinating to see the consultation feedback. There’s also a pop-up shop on Church Street where you can scrutinise the proposals and talk to a responsible adult from the Council. It’s open until 9th December on Tuesdays through to Fridays (11am – 3pm) and on Saturdays from 11am – 5pm).

The deadline for your own comments is 11th December. Have your say here. Have your say there.


* LBRuT: Twickenham Rediscovered concepts and consultation – deadline 11th December
* Twickenham site designs – PDF
* Quinlan & Francis Terry Architects
* Twickenham Lido
* KMW’s Ideas for Twickenham
* The 2009 Twickenham River Centre Plan
* Britain from Above – aerial images