Locals Left Unimpressed by Twickenham Riverside Plan

Oh dear. That wasn’t supposed to happen, was it? And yet, at the same time, it was all so predictable. The results of the El Brute consultation on its Twickenham riverside and town square proposals have been published and it seems that the locals are not hugely impressed. So much for ‘design competitions’, pop up shops and positive spin from York House, the regency style scheme featuring amphitheatre, colonnade, shops and up to 40 flats does not seem to have wowed the twickerati  (that’s you lot by the way).

The results have been analysed by ‘customer feedback solutions’ gurus Snap Surveys who probably know more about this kind of thing than you do and it’s pretty clear that the negative responses far outweigh the positive ones. The accompanying LBRuT press release says, “The Council and the architects will now carry out a detailed review of the ideas and comments put forward by the public before coming forward with ideas for development”.  It goes on to say that the Council ‘understands’ it needs to reconsider its approach to a number of areas. It certainly does.

Twickenham Embankment from Eel Pie Bridge

Twickenham Embankment from Eel Pie Bridge

Although like any survey the results are open to interpretation, some things stand out very clearly in the themes that Snap Surveys focused on. Of 754 responses received there were just 93 comments that felt the plans met the needs of the local community. That’s 12%. Not great, especially when the purpose of the plan was (and we hope still is) to regenerate the site and open up the town centre to the river. Twenty comments in the 754 were positive about the architecture. That’s 3% which, in case you’re not too good at maths, is not great either. As for the amphitheatre, 35 comments liked that. It’s true that calculating percentages out of themed responses isn’t exactly scientific even if it is fun, so do start taking pinches of salt when you get your calculator out.

In contrast to those making positive responses, negative comments about the impact on the riverside totalled 189 and a similar number, 174, felt that the plan did not meet local needs. As for the design, 142 comments didn’t like that and 117 were negative about its proposed height. In other words, on almost every count the negatives significantly outweighed the positives. This might be expected when so many people have different ideas about what should be done to the site but the lack of local enthusiasm for the proposal is telling.

The report also includes plenty of quotes from you lot, both the positive ones and the many negative ones from those who think the concept falls short of what is required. Feel free to trawl through them to see if your response made it in to print. Architecture that is “derivative and out of scale, and of no relevance to anything existing in Twickenham”. Ouch. A development that is “overwhelmed by the pretentious and overpowering buildings”. Double ouch. Residential development, access to the river, underground car parks, it goes on.

On the plus side, it does have a few fans and the greater pedestrianisation of Embankment is welcomed. As for commenting on the ‘naysayers’, well, someone did say, “Please ignore all the moaning minnies who will say it is ‘out of character’, by building this you will give Twickenham more character! I wish this was happening in Teddington!”  Some cynics might wonder if all those ‘moaning minnies’ in TW1 and TW2 also wish it was happening in Teddington rather than Twickenham. It’s just a thought.

What next? The Council has said that it will review the feedback and that a further consultation on amended proposals is being planned for the summer. Will those proposals be ‘amended’ enough to meet widespread local approval? It seems unlikely. From the feedback so far it feels like a major re-think of the whole scheme is required rather than just minor amendments.  Perhaps the next survey question should be, “Will LBRuT listen?”


Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of design from LBRuT website

* El Brute Press Release
* The Consultation Report


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

97 responses to “Locals Left Unimpressed by Twickenham Riverside Plan

  1. Now closed to new comments.

    New item here: http://wp.me/pVBg2-3n6

  2. Teresa Read

    Cllr Fleming just said in Council that residents Chose the Quinlan Terry scheme. She also said that the other schemes could be shown “in time”.

    • Sally

      Did I hear Councillor Fleming correctly? She seemed to be making the argument that the block of flats has shops in the ground floor, the shops are public space and therefore there is open space on the site.
      I do wish she could have been pressed on the consultation she was flourishing. That why residents hadn’t asked for any other designs was that the document-which the council drew up-gave no choices for any other designs.
      Rather manipulatively she claimed that to scrap the consultation would be to disrespect all the residents who had filled it in ! Irrelevant that the responses were overwhelmingly negative! No, the thing to do was to press on and perhaps make modifications to Quinlan’s design. This begged the questions of the disrespect contained in presenting residents with one option and not allowing them, to refuse it no matter what they reply.

    • Riverside Voter

      Dear Councillor Fleming,

      as someone who took the time to contribute to the Consultation I am insulted that my contribution and that of the overwhelming majority of others is being spun into being in support of ploughing on regardless with this development. It is all so predictable. I am equally insulted that you are trying to employ the old developer’s tactic of starting with plans that truly push the boundaries in order to appear to pacify the residents by making concessions when you brush off the plan for the development you intended in the first place. No surprise we are now getting a plan that makes a few concessions to it’s context but that still only scores 1/10 instead of 0/10 were I ever given a chance to rate it.

      Since clearly the opinions of residents are going to be discarded it leaves me wondering what promises have been made to others outside our community which clearly trump the promises made to us that there would be a real consultation and plans for a development that would be an asset to our environment and community opening up the river and providing a town square. Those promises clearly rest on maximising the financial return (and perhaps you are deluded enough to think the sort of architectural endorsements and kudos the Richmond Riverside development attracted) by inflicting this monstrosity in classical sheep’s clothing on us. That is what is most insulting of all, that yet again the plan is to inflict yet another self serving project on us that benefits more powerful friends but makes our environment worse.

  3. illiad1

    I do hope people realise that this is a PUBLIC blog, and **anyone** can join in…:) 😛

  4. A new Town Square for Twickenham?

    If you actually had the opportunity to vote for such a thing, would you do so?

    There is a sketch of an idea on http://www.twickenhamriverside.org/
    Web site

    Please have a look

    TRTG Action a Group ms

  5. Teresa Read

    Riverside questions at Council Tuesday 7pm. Will they answer in doublespeak? So many are disappointed at this complete disregard for public opinion. When they are gone Twickenham will be left with a monument to the folly of a few who held power long enough to ruin Twickenham Riverside.

    • Thanks for the alert; here are the links:

      Agenda: https://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=173&MId=3733

      Council (Tue, 01st Mar 2016 – 7:00 pm) Webcast: http://www.richmond.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/214868

      Public questions: https://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/documents/s60478/List%20of%20Public%20Questions%20-%201%20March%202016.pdf

      TR will ask the Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment, Business and Community:
      “Could the cabinet member either confirm or deny speculation that the Terry Partnership have been paid a sum in the region of £100,000 further to develop their designs for Twickenham Riverside. If there is any truth in this, could she say whether this money was paid before or after the conclusion of the public consultation exercise?”

      Members’ questions: https://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/documents/s60479/List%20of%20Members%20Questions%20-%201%20March%202016.pdf

    • Sally

      Chris, it looks like an interesting meeting.
      I was unsure about the question re: Twickenham Lido- “given there are already two in the Borough.”
      So .Hampton is one, Pools on the park the second…really? Looks like a covered pool to me. The outside bit is only for high Summer.

      A good resident’s survey question for the pro Twickenham lido group would be:
      “If there was a lido in central Twickenham priced in the range of X would you ,as a resident ,use it.?” (Probable roar of acceptance from families,keep -fitters, retired people, everybody.)
      “Would the prospect of a swim draw you in to Twickenham? To the riverside?”
      Then, to be fair:” How about the prospect of.a good look at a block of flats? ”

      It just seems bananas. I can understand the council arguing for this sort of square or that sort of square being better than a Lido in some ways , but how on earth will they argue that a block of flats, even if regency-ish, is a better choice?

    • twickerman

      There are quite a few public and members questions regarding Twickenham Riverside for tonight’s Council meeting (see Chris Squire’s comment for links).
      Most of the questions encourage the Council to adopt a more open consultative approach to the riverside, rather than the ‘we know best’, it’s not in the public interest to share details of the other competition entries, single option, carry on regardless of feedback, approach they have adopted.

      But, one question stands out:

      ‘Councillor Hill has given notice to ask the Strategic Cabinet Member of Environment, Business and Community:
      “Can the Cabinet member tell me how many of the people who filled in the consultation on the Twickenham Riverside proposal stated that they wanted a lido, bearing in mind that there are already two in the Borough?” ‘

      This seems rather unfair because we were NOT asked what we wanted on the riverside site. We were only asked how much we liked the Council’s chosen scheme.
      Despite the Council’s loaded questions and the lack of a fundamental In/Out, Yes/No, Carry On/Start Again question it transpired that only 10% of respondents liked the Council’s Terry plan. 90% didn’t!
      The response couldn’t really have been more damning, but bizarrely the Council seem to have taken this heavy criticism as a mandate to carry on conspiring with Francis Terry, with just a few trivial concessions, such as a bit more parking and a hint more town square.

      The next step in the process before any more of our money is spent/wasted must be for the Council to present all the submitted schemes from the initial competition and more recently (by Lido/KMW, Eel Pieland, the TRTG etc) to Twickenham residents. They need to ask us which scheme, and which elements of each scheme we prefer (quantitatively), and why, before a selection is made by a carefully selected politically-balanced or independent panel.

      When this has been done, Councillor Hill will have an answer to her question – how many people want the scheme that includes a lido?

  6. Today’s RTT Online reports: Rejected riverside proposals join forces to put forward new plan for Twickenham: Two of the rejected Twickenham riverside development competitors have joined forces as they urge Richmond Council to reconsider its plans. Community group Twickenham Alive, who want to see a lido on the site, and architects Kemp Muir Wealleans have combined elements from their rejected plans to announce a new concept for the riverside.

    A spokesman for Twickenham Alive said: “A business proposal to develop the lido is with the Council from the Bristol Lido organisation. A senior executive from an international organisation has confirmed an offer to fully fund the remainder of the site as they like what we are proposing for Twickenham Riverside. This offer could mean that the council could recoup their £6m spent on purchasing the site and not cost the borough a penny and also help to rejuvenate Twickenham’s town centre.”

    The alternative proposals have so far not been released to the public by Richmond Council but are subject to a Freedom of Information request by this newspaper . . Architect Henry Harrison, who lives on the island, said: “The proposed development of the remaining land along the lines of the Quinlan and Francis Terry scheme is a triumph of megolamania over common sense: clearly this land is a development site, and would be recognised as such if it was referred to a higher government level for determination.”


    • Sally

      The council press release wins the prize for smug
      evasiveness.. Using the consultation results-questions supplied. by council-to suggest comparable numbers of fors and againsts but no comment that even with the hooky faux survey the responses were overwhelmingly against. A concession to perhaps look at, just look at ,a “potential reduction in height.”
      Yet again a kind soul (initials PF?) has supplied a magisterial quote from Pamela Fleming. Contrary to what the nay Sayers claim “the plans are only at an early stage”. Except the building a block of flats bit. That is at such a late stage it has been decided. Nevertheless the council are prepared to Listen.
      It is sad to reflect that the council think we are so dim, so easily fooled and flattered that we won’t notice they have decided to fill the site with a block of flats.

  7. Today’s print RTT has (p 14): ‘Dear Richmond Council: an open letter calling for a rethink on the Riverside’ from members of the Riverside Action Group (James Barrett, Susan Burningham, Martin Habell, Deon Lombard, Ben Makins, John Reekie, Cathy Thompson and Rik Williams).

    They have published ‘Brief From The Council: Expression of Interest (EOI): Outline Descriptive Document January 2015’ at http://www.riversideactiongroup.uk/documents.html; they point out that it doesn’t fulfil the aims of either the Action Plan or the Barefoot Consultation. There is a cryptic reference to the ‘inspector’s report’ expressing doubts about the ‘Quinlan Terry scheme’ – what this refers to I don’t know.

    They call for the competition to be rerun either through the RIBA process (‘delivering choice, inspiration and value to clients through expertly run architectural competitions and competitive selection processes.’ https://www.architecture.com/RIBA/Competitions/Competitions.aspx) or by an Independent Commission.

    Also a letter from S Barrett (p 15): ‘Forced to protest’: ‘ . . we’ll have to protest. There’s no other way to stop this.’


  8. Anonymous

    Reply to Chris: latest info being circulated says there were 4 plans, maybe one did not submit but we do not know. The Atkins plan Twickenham Alive worked on followed the brief although creatively. It actually has a town square. The riverside has a well designed and exciting lido building, lots of public space overlooking the river and boathouses. Apparently it would not produce as much money as 40 flats overlooking the river.

  9. Sally

    So what now? Pamela Fleming is apparently trying to curry favour with Eel Pie residents with offers of bountiful parking. As I understand it, the council building complex next to York House went up with many similar promises attached. In short order, residents were not permitted to use the car park. So I would beware such offers.
    Snap Surveys have already confirmed the council supply the questions they want asked . Consultation number two is therefore likely to feature another no-choice choice , redirection of objections on to little features of the design (“How many window boxes are optimal?”) and some very token modifications.
    Annoyingly, it’s a harmless site. No need for a grand project, perhaps some trees and street widening. It was just sitting there, minding its own business before being bought first for a public space then for a public space which pays its own way..
    It is ideal for a simple public square..or a lido, and a low level cafe, in keeping with the workshops and boat.yards already there. There is even an view of the old music hall. It gives a lot more open space and sky than a block of flats.
    Is there to be any meeting at which we can actually confront the council on this? the Councillors I have recently seen around and about are scuttling at speed with heads lowered.

    • Sally

      Cllrs Hill and Chappell have offered to meet so I will indeed arrange a date and venue and publish here and on the http://www.riversideactiongroup.uk website when finalised.

    • We will hold a public meeting at 7.30 on Thursday 17 March in the International Room, Cabbage Patch, London Road, Twickenham. We intend to post an agenda in advance, and hope that ithe meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to express their real expectations of the ‘Town Square’ site. We have invited councillors and officers to the meeting. Riverside Action Group then aims to take outcomes from the meeting to a further meeting with councillors.

  10. twickerman

    If only Lord True had consulted his Twickenham Advisory Panel (TAP) over the Riverside development. Remember them? They wrote a very interesting report not so long ago (see link below).
    Maybe they could come back for one last gig, along with RUG (Richmond United Group) and TRAG (Twickenham Residents Action Group). Remember them?

    ‘The Twickenham Advisory Panel (Tap) was set up by Richmond Concil leader Lord True and members believed part of their responsibility was to scrutinise the Twickenham station plans from Solum Regeneration.’


  11. J Rice

    I am shocked by the bad, out of date architecture! Are Quinlan & Francis Terry the only architects LBRT council know? Why Regency? They are not refurbishing a Regency site!
    I am not unhappy about flats – it needs to be paid for. It should have small independent shops below with cafés etc so people can wander and enjoy the riverside position. Church Street is a great success and its style could be extended to the riverside. Architecture should be of its time! Twickenham should have its own identity not try to copy Richmond. What were the other designs? This is 2016 – well into the 21st century! The Terrys are not the right architects for this site.

    • J Rice: There were 5 entries. To find what is known about the other 4 schemes, please read my post dated January 22, 2016 at 5:49 pm on
      and the comments below it.

      Council says that the other 4 entries are ‘commercial in confidence’ so we can’t see them. KMW have published theirs. illiad dated February 16, 2016 at 9:14 pm below links to their video of it.

    • mike hine

      It sounds as if you’ve come to this matter only recently. Welcome anyway. Your points about the inappropriateness of (grandiose) Regency have been made by a number of people here but are still welcome. The problem is that LBRT seem to have no sense of aesthetics (see the Gloriana shed farce) and consequently seem to regard any such considerations as arty-farty at best and commercially subversive at worst.
      I don’t think you should concede the ‘flats are ok because it needs to be paid for’ bit. It will be paid for anyway. It’s a public space and we’ll pay for it in one way or another whatever is built. Looked at another way, every open space, park, square and gardens in London can be seen as a waste of commercial potential and be made to justify itself. Just think of the way Singaporean investors would be creaming themselves at the prospect of choice bits of Richmond Park being flogged off for luxury flats development. Or Trafalgar Square. Can’t get a more iconic location than that, mate. Is that the way we want the quality of our environment to be determined?
      Same with ‘small independent shops and cafes really’. They would be great, but they’re the sort of thing that normally emerges in low-rent situations where the bright and innovative can get things off the ground without paying enormous rents. That needs naturally-occurring cheap locations (like railway arches) or it needs subsidy (ie some degree of intervention, the kind of thing which the free-market cultists who are currently running things would never countenance).
      Why not just provide a space which can be used simply for the enjoyment of the location and which allows scope for any interesting commercial enterprises which might wish to open up there? Kensington, in one of the most expensive residential areas in Europe, still lets out council street stalls around Portobello Road street market for £9 (I think) a day. Subsidy? No, good business sense in providing assistance to something which makes the area the characterful and desirable place it is (or was!).

    • tony elsom

      It’s probably worth alerting other readers to the fact that Mike Hine is a Green Party activist in Brent who pops up every now and again, and, as you can see from his blog about the Gloriana debacle, he has fairly trenchant views about society.
      I do hope we aren’t going to become a playground for these people – we had quite enough trouble with the landscape gardener.

    • mike hine

      Sorry, Alexis, Mr Elsom or whoever you want to be known as. Mike Hine is NOT a Green Party anything. Nor is he a Brent anything. He is a Kingston resident who probably lives closer (as the crow and Hammerton’s ferry flies) to the issues he contributes comments about here than you do. He IS a member of the Labour party which, when he last checked, was still legal and, more relevantly, no bar to contributing to this blog on matters which he believes affect his enjoyment of his environment. (He also is a member of the National Trust and the CPRE even though he doesn’t live on the south west coastal path nor in rural England.) He does have strong views, which is also, I believe, still legal and, on a lively blog such as this, to be encouraged I would have thought. He sometimes even enjoys Alexis/Mr Elsom’s views, (at least when A/Mr E resists the temptation to bitchily indulge his obsession with Chris Squire).
      As for the final sentence of your post, who exactly is the ‘we’, Alexis/Mr Elsom? Do you claim to ‘speak for Twickenham’, to adapt Paul Dacre’s recent adaptation of Leo Amery? I certainly can’t imagine you speak for the spirit of an interesting, lively and inclusive blog like Twickerati. As for the reference to ‘these people’, I’ll leave if for others to decide which of us has more in common with a negative, bigoted, blinkered right-wing nationalist.

      Mike Hine

    • tony elsom

      After having re-read Mr Hine’s response I am minded to think that he is rather irritated for having been mistaken for a Green Party activist in Brent, also called Mike Hine. Strangely he seems to take a lot of interest in both of our boroughs – schools in Heathfield and Twickenham Green, Gloriana, which he guest blogged on “Wembley Matters” and now the Twickenham Riverside project here on Twickerati. Odd that isn’t it?
      I have to say that his response seems somewhat intemperate and leads me to think that I may not have been wrong in the first place.
      I was a founder member of RUG and firmly opposed the Twickenham Riverside sell- off by Lourie and the LibDems. I’m equally unimpressed by the Tory plans but have retired from activism.
      Tony Elsom.

      PS: As to Chris Squire, who used to be the LibDem “ webmaster” and was almost certainly responsible for the “Liar, liar pants on fire” slur on those of us who stood up to Lourie. Has he ever apologised? Of course not. These sort of people hardly ever do – even when caught out .If he cold bring himself to do so it would end. A thought for you, Mr Hine?

  12. Today’s print RTT has ‘Riverside plans must be revisited’ (p 8) and a letter, ‘People Power’, from Cllr Linnette (p 16) inviting residents to suggest topics that future scrutiny panels should investigate: anyone who can think of such an issue should write to scrutiny@richmond.gov.uk by March 31.


  13. Dear illiadi

    i do not know who you are but i will reply to your comment about how we got Diamond Jubilee Gardens and not the housing which was proposed.
    in 2009 i suggested a referendum about the proposals for housing on Twickenham Riverside. i organised the Electoral Reform Services Referendum. One person had to underwrite the referendum and take responsibility. i was the client of Electoral Reform Services. i worked with two other parties but took ultimate responsibility. Members of the present administration were only too happy to support the referendum against housing on Twickenham Riverside. If i had not proposed the referendum and carried it forward the housing would probably have gone ahead but instead we have Diamond Jubilee Gardens.
    Now we are in a similar situation and instead of arguing we should unite to stop a proposal for housing on the riverside once again.
    i know that a proportion of housing is in the Council’s brief but there is no need for what is being proposed and it is entirely undemocratic not to make all plans in the competition public – 5 including the Francis Terry plan.
    The Council paid £5,000 of taxpayers money to 5 architectural firms and all these plans should be made public.
    i worked with Atkins on a plan and the role of Twickenham Alive was to carry out a public consultation. The idea of a lido came from that consultation.

    • To make it clear, it was £5,000 for each of the architectural firms who entered and £100,000 for the winner. i had expected that short listed plans would be exhibited to the public before the winner was confirmed.

    • illiad1

      Me? been resident since 1990… 🙂
      I don’t mind a lido, but I wonder what the council thinks!! Surely it has a brief to fill, and any plan should fulfil the *whole* brief??
      Once you have a professionally crafted plan, that includes the whole block from King st down to the river, showing an area that you would want young children to play without traffic pollution, I am sure it would have support!
      You could fit a covered lido right on King st, and still have masses of riverside space for a pollution free market square, etc, etc…

      Just add the essence of the KMW plan to it.. 🙂

    • anonymouse

      By definition a lido is a public open-air swimming pool. A ‘covered lido’ is not a lido, it’s just another swimming pool.
      I’m sure the lido will be heated (note all the solar panels) for use all year round, just like hampton pool is.
      The lido scheme satisfies the council brief (and some), whereas the Council’s Terry scheme fails to deliver the brief in quite a number of respects (introduce a town square, improve connection of king st to riverside, introduce further open space, be complimentary of existing properties on water lane).

    • illiad1

      anonymouse, lets talk ‘definitions’ when the council has started listening??? 🙂
      So much chat, based on a old times, when Twickenham and its people were much, much richer…
      Forget about ‘romantic names’ from the past, what if it was actually built, and then had to close due to lack of visitors???
      Hampton and Richmond open air are much larger, and still called *pools*… and have a much greater area for picnicking, sitting by the pool, etc…

  14. Sure, a lido may be nice, BUT only used for those few months where it is warm enough…

    So how about a COVERED, heated pool that can be used all year round??
    and it has to get past the planning stage, with **proper** architectural plans…

    • Ellie Firth, Comms manager from Richmond council contacted South West London Television asking about the right to reply to the recent video: it seems they are formulating a reply.

    • illiad1

      Teresa, I hope you know that the website with that video has its own commenting system (only 2 replies currently!)
      Click on the red ‘youtube’ to take you there…
      Also what about the area near the high street??
      Everyone has their dreams, but it has to first go to proper public consultation and vote.. This was how we got our present Jubilee gardens, and not the massive housing the last council wanted…

  15. Teresa Read

    South West London TV documentary on Twickenham Riverside about to be released.

  16. mike hine

    Speaking to God today he told me he detests neo-classical crap and that today’s tide levels are a warning to Quinlan Terry and Richmond council that unless they buck their ideas up any planning for Twickenham riverside will be completely superfluous (going forward). I think He meant it.

    (He also asked me to point out that He Will Not Be Mocked)

  17. twickerman

    It’s no surprise that El Brute are holding back publication of the alternative riverside schemes for as long as possible (probably until forced to by FOI requests).
    If the considerably more appropriate KMW scheme is any indicator, the other alternatives will show the Terry scheme up for what it is – two big ugly boxes designed to maximise profit for El Brute (approx 20% profit from £30-40million development). This is not what Twickenham needs, nor asked for.

    I’m really looking forward to publication of Twickenham Alive’s new collaboration with KMW – the lido/cafe/boathouse meets market hall/square.

    I also hear that the Eel Pielanders have drawn up their own scheme that will be presented to El Brute shortly. Info is limited, but apparently it includes a proper market square, and sympathetic development facing the Embankment (towards their homes). I also suspect there will be less sub-aquatic parking in this scheme!

    I wonder who will be next to deliver a scheme. Maybe the newly formed Twickenham RAG (not to be confused with TRAG).

    All in all the council won’t be short of great ideas for Twickenham riverside, let’s just hope they take note of the overwhelming criticism of Francis Terry’s monstrosity, and consult us properly next time.

  18. Sir,

    “I don’t believe it!” Victor Midrew’s ever-simmering temper at the unfairness of it all, is an apt catchphrase applied to Richmond Council, which like some Machiavellian force continues to conspire against local democracy here in Twickenham.

    Our council’s blinkered, lack of vision, imprisoned in some sort of corporate municipal cell cries out for an injection of creative talent. Not with this group of “Slaves to the System ” I’m afraid.

    Unfortunately this is local politics attracting a cast of actors that would deliver award winning performances in playwright Ayckbourn’s classic “Absurd Person Singular”

    “Shops and Flats”, more “Shops and Flats” is their limited remit, “Shops and Flats” over the station, over the Riverside! and on the old Richmond College site.

    Hang on what about the “Shops and Flats” here already. Twickenham’s struggling Church Street and depopulated shopping centre: its existing dense population that is looking for respite with an open riverside space?

    Problems are of our own making and Richmond Council just do not get it !!! The riverside is Twickenham’s natural attraction and here already. We do not have to build anything. The riverside is a Free, Beautiful, and Relaxing space.. Its character is historical and 18th. century. Why the burden of extra investment in building a concrete carbuncle masquerading as Regency or God forbid, a clinical Holiday Camp Style Lido to wreck the rustic and natural charm of the place?

    This space and view is too valuable in our overcrowded environment to forfeit. Now the opportunity is here, we should grasp it for our physical and mental well being. Simply pave the newly acquired King Street and Water Lane development, place a fountain in the centre; with some some flowers, benches and refreshments.(or similar).

    An easy and cheap solution to provide tarmacked Twickenham with a Piazza, where we can unwind and view the river with its natural green surrounds. A free facility for all to enjoy and not just a privileged forty private households. The town more attractive and worth visiting will bring more customers and economic benefits to our existing shopping centre.

    How can the council call their decision making process consultative? Quinlan and Francis Terry were awarded the contract in July 2015 (anyone know them apart from Richmond council?) before the proposals were unveiled in November 2015 ! The feasibility study re. outline design was carried out in January, albeit in the face of overwhelming opposition, Richmond council are pressing on.

    Councillor Fleming who lives in Richmond says “I want us all to work together.” Why say this? Councillors are working for us? This is not a partnership between council and the electorate. we are or should be in charge, or is Twickenham, an enactment of Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

    MP. Taniya Mathias who lives in Teddington tactfully says she is “hopeful that Richmond Council will be able to amend its plans to satisfy the negative response” Only “hopeful” ? and we read that the loyal Conservative councillors refused to break rank and represent Twickenham, when it came to the vote. Illusions of power? Grandiose schemes? They have it in bucket loads.

    Little wonder Councillor Nayler was deselected for the Riverside ward at the last election.

    Lib/Dem Councillor Gareth Roberts can take no comfort over his attack on the Conservative administration as “hypocrites” either; especially when his party would have swamped the riverside with over development years ago. Please don’t gloat Lib/Dems. The charge of a “non listening council and hypocrisy” began way back with their administration and it came to haunt, when they were rightly ousted from office by the Conservatives who promised to listen.

    I attended these meetings where the breathtaking dictatorial attitude of the Lib/Dems was articulately challenged by then Councillors True and Samuels. So Lord True and Councillor Samuels are we going to have the listening council and space you then promised.? Are you going to give Twickenham Riverside back to the town?

    Twickenham riverside in its present state under the present Conservative administration is the best it has ever been to my recollection which goes back to 1983 when it was boarded up and derelict.

    Thirty three years fast forward:, a whole generation of Twickerites have died, born and moved on, to begin their own careers and families. Town centres in the north and south including cities such as Cardiff have had massive regeneration with colossal landscaping, road and building projects, Nationwide dirty decrepit docks and industrial wasteland have become busy tourist attractions .

    Richmond Council and Twickenham Riverside ? “I don’t believe it! ” —- “time stands still for all those that come here to Neverland.”

    Allan Storer

  19. The minutes of the January 19 Council meeting are at: https://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=173&MId=3732 with a link to the webcast at: http://www.richmond.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/207458/start_time/5418000. A Lib Dem motion to reopen the consultation was debated and rejected by a vote on party lines (Item 13).

    No details are given of the 8 speeches (including a powerful speech by CllrSusan Chappell, ward councillor and Cabinet Member for Community, Planning and the Voluntary Sector (!!)) so the only way to find out what was said is to listen to the speeches (50 minutes). The Tory speeches, from her, Fleming and True, made it clear they really do believe in their scheme and are determined to press ahead with it. Speaking for the motion were Roberts, Ehmann, Acton, Elengorn and Churchill.

    Earlier “Cllr Chappell (had) presented a petition of 162 signatories on behalf of Eel Pi Island: Business Community opposing the proposed Twickenham Riverside scheme . . . (and) a petition of 832 signatories on behalf of Eel Pie Island Association opposing the proposed development of Twickenham Embankment.”.

    • Am I reading the above correctly? Cllr Chappell presented two petitions from constituents opposing the proposed development and then spoke in support of it? I’m not very familiar with the workings of local Government and I suppose there’s a lot of sticking with the tribe but if you have literally just handed over petitions from your residents, is it not a little peculiar not then to speak on their behalf?

    • anonymouse

      I suspect she’s after more parking for EP Islanders. Though many of them want to see the whole scheme parked, underground.

    • Riverside Voter

      I got around to watching True, Fleming and my Councillor defending their proposed development, except they didn’t. They spent most of their time trading potshots with the Libdems about who did and said what in the past, all very tribal, and completely irrelevant to me as a resident. Their defence seems to be that it is just an idea and that the architect will now develop it further, and any other course of action will mean nothing happens for years with the vague threat that some bullying Lord Mayor of London might bring in evil developers to build something even more horrible there.

      But how can Terry diverge his ideas enough away from the original proposal to make it a building that will be in scale and in context with it’s surroundings let alone meet the aspirations of residents to open up the riverside and create a centre for Twickenham? It seems as though Councillors True, Fleming and Chappell think he can work miracles……..

  20. They need to show All the plans paid for by the taxpayers. What are they afraid of?

    • anonymouse

      They are afraid that publication of the other schemes will show that the True/Terry scheme is:
      – based on a different brief to the others (inclusion of Embankment road and landscaping in front of DJGardens)
      – inferior to other schemes in many ways (lack of town square, lack of riverside connection, gross overdevelopment etc etc)
      – a totally inappropriate design for Twickenham riverside (described by a twitter commentator as a ‘caesar’s palace’)

  21. Today’s print RTT has ‘Riverside washout’ (p 1) and ‘Complaints flood in over Riverside’ (p 5). Also a letter, ‘Nobody asked us about flats’, from Sally Kermond and a web comment from Julie Hill (pp 16-17).

    • Gladiator

      I was disturbed to see the Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Roberts, on the RAG stall on Saturday. I hope this does not indicate that this community-based protest group has become a political organisation

    • Riverside Action Group is in the early stages of formation. I was asked by a local resident to form a non-political group and I’m pulling together a cross-section of concerned residents who have for example written to RTT or been involved previously in community action as a steering group. I just don’t have the resource to print fliers or have a table or even a car, to be able to get out and run a street stall. I asked for help as there were only two of us as local residents who were able to be on the stall. The group is certainly non political/cross party and Gareth was simply supporting with the extra person power we needed. I would welcome others next Saturday and every other Saturday for the foreseeable future! In the meantime the LibDems are offering bodies and I’m not turning my nose up at that.

    • cjk

      Sorry Gladiator but someone needs to stand up to Lord True and Pamela Fleming on this idea. This is a cross party group of residents who are sick to death of the arrogance of nick true and Pamela Fleming. The fact that they refuse to show us designs we have all paid for shows the utter contempt they have for us residents.

    • illiad1

      there ARE good politicians, but there are also idiotic voters…. 😦

    • Sally

      Twickcat thank you very, very much for doing this. Happy to donate time and indeed money. People are not going to know what is suggested if they don’t see posters, banners, even a Glorianna style flag raised to the height of the flats to make clear what is proposed. The council will certainly not be slow to put up winning and reassuring posters and they have a lot of money to throw at this.
      Of course any party not the Conservatives will be falling over itself to align with the campaign, it happens every time. It is most annoying, but the only thing to do is squash attempts to make political capital out if it such as: “I was the leading light of the campaign” It is tempting to have the group only for Twickenham residents..

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Gladiator – local politicos will climb aboard because there are votes to be gained. A local action group will, I would suggest, always need party political support. Indeed the previous Battle of the Riverside saw the Lib Dems being attacked by the Tories, Labour and the Greens as well as local residents. Nick True (as he was then) made great political capital, quoting Obama’s ‘yes we can’ slogan before being ushered into power on the back of local opposition to the Lib Dems plans. Now of course roles are reversed – the Tories’ plans are being rubbished and the Lib Dems are enjoying the fallout. Sure one or two others will be jumping on the bandwagon too!

  22. Sally

    Now this is interesting.
    We actually wrote to Margaret Reed, the named researcher for Snap Surveys,asking about the very biased description of the site (outdated etc) the design| (stunning design,..top architect) ,
    and the questions which didn’t permit clear comparisons of responses, didn’t even ask for/against the actual design. How on earth had this been allowed?

    Here is her response.” Snap Surverys were not involved with the design of the consultation methodology, survey questions or consultation material..these elements of the
    Consultation were undertaken directly by the council..the consultation material, background and objectives were provided by the council”
    In other words. The council, put together negative description of the site and glowing descriptions of their development plans fave architect and selves. They then provided questions about this which did not allow a yes or no to the development plans, just comments on general ideas, ending up with results which were biased in every way possible to claim a positive response from residents.
    This was not a survey. This was an exercise in advertising.
    It is outrageous that this was presented as an independent survey of locals’ reactions to the plans.

    • anonymouse

      Good work.
      Snap also did the analysis work on the Gloriana consultation. The main difference between the two consultations was that the council asked people about the ‘appropriateness’ of the boathouse location. 77% of respondents said it was Not Appropriate.
      I think it’s pretty damn obvious that the council didn’t dare ask about the appropriateness of the Quinlan Terry’s regency monster for Twickenham riverside, or any other quantifiable measure of it’s suitability.
      Take a look at the Gloriana consultation report and you will see many similarities with the ‘Town Square’ consultation:

    • If anyone is willing and able, a newly formed residents’ group (Riverside Action Group), will be leafleting around the town centre on Saturday. With a stall outside Santander from 10.30-12.30. All help welcome.

  23. Mark

    Ah… There’s the rub: ““However, we do need to be clear that any proposal must be financially viable.”

    Why? Are libraries? Are schools? Can’t some things just be for the general public good?

    Whatever they throw up for commercial gain rely on the continued patronage of rent paying shops and flats. Once that goes away, so does the utility.

    A well maintained open public space will out live us all. Maybe we should call it Fleming Square to make the counsellor more amenable to the idea .

  24. Josh

    I am still trying to work out how a scheme called ‘The Town Square’ ended up as a shopping mall, flats and underground parking for said flats. Did anyone actually read the brief?

    • illiad1

      Too right!!! the *unbelievable* part (and DO correct me, if wrong..) is…
      It was thought a ‘few extra feet’ of width on that corner of Water lane/ King street would count as a ‘town square’???

      Surely a good Town Square would NOT have a major busy road *right next* to it…
      Even KMW is lacking (trying to answer ‘high street town square’ demand??)

      *what* is a ‘town square’ ?? Just some place for demonstrators/ protesters to set up a table??? plenty of space there right now..

      I am sure that sensible family people want a ‘town square’ that is AWAY from traffic, is right next to river and wooded areas, with large space for markets, seating, etc, etc…

    • Anonymous

      Yes, Atkins and Twickenham Alive read the brief but you are not allowed to see that plan. Twickenham Alive is under legal threat not to show those plans but the lido, in that plan, is our idea. So we started twickenhamlido.com.
      Terry may have had a different Brief or maybe he knew he could do what he liked.

  25. Ben Makins

    Now it is clear for all to see that, overwhelmingly, these proposals don’t meet the aspirations and expectations of the good people of Twickenham.
    However, the report suggests that we discount the views of 778 people who took the trouble to complete a time consuming and complex exercise don’t really count because “open ended” responses can’t be evaluated and may not be representative of what the people who didn’t respond think!

    Maybe the people who commissioned such a “flawed” exercise using council tax payers money need to be held to account!

    What a tortuous process. You can almost hear the creaking of arms being twisted to secure the necessary interpretation of results in order to deny the “inconvenient truth”.

    Alongside this is the spin that any suggestions that these are not the right proposals, or could be improved upon, are “negative” and are from the usual suspects who are always against things and want delay.

    On the contrary, comments reproduced in the report reveal a wealth of positive ideas and suggestions for alternative, practical and less grandiose schemes on a human scale suitable for this location and its history. These wouldn’t require this, currently, mostly publicly held asset, being handed over for mainly commercial development and privatised access.

    With the unreasonable refusal to reveal the alternative schemes also commissioned with our money this is turning into a depressing saga of cynical manipulation.

    We wonder why people are turned off by and alienated from the political process, locally and nationally.

    Please dear Councillors of all shades, treat us with more respect and, as Barry Edwards pleaded in the RTT last week, “do the right thing”.
    I’m sure most of you are engaged in local politics because you want to make a difference and improve your community rather than for personal aggrandisement and gain; so maybe it’s time to stand up and support the correct and honourable process to find the right scheme. These go hand in hand.
    Otherwise you will find that come election time, or sooner (Judicial Review anyone?), the community will hold you to account.

    • Sally

      Careful Ben, your praise of our Lanscaping non resident friend is affilicting you with his over use of “quotation marks”

    • Ben Makins

      Sorry Sally. I’ll try and limit my use of quotation marks. I’ve no idea who Barry Edwards is, resident or non resident, but “Do the Right Thing” seemed the right phrase. Apologies, I see that I mashed up the 1st para. Delete “don’t really count” (appropriate use of quotation marks I think!)

    • Sally

      Apologies at this end. Jokey reference to a poster much given to quotation marks and random Capitals..

    • Ben Makins

      Thanks Sally. I think we’re on the same page about the quality and manipulation of the “independent survey”…..appropriate use of quotation marks?

    • Riverside Voter

      To be fair Ben his letter was atypical in terms of some of the long posts he made on here as UKIP candidate during the election, where the main problem wasn’t really his syntax and punctuation………………….

  26. Riverside Voter

    It is very clear looking down river from Radnor Gardens just how damaging the proposed development will be for the Riverside. A three (four if you count the basement) storey building will completely dominate the vista of the current riverside leading to the church. For many of us this vista is one of the most special things about living in Twickenham. The usual developers trick of starting with something larger so they can appear to compromise with their slightly smaller back up plan isn’t going to work. Anything that is going to be so out of scale and character is totally inappropriate and residents have made that very clear. But this is another case of Lord True and his acolytes putting the interests of influential friends, who they regard as wiser and more important than us, first. They no doubt dined and receptioned out on the success of the Richmond riverside development and are hoping to do so again. Except surely Quinlan Terry realise that such a bullying building is only likely to win worst building awards?

  27. Colin Heath

    It is loud and clear from the consultation report that residents feel; the style does not suit Twickenham, it is too big, and there is not enough gain for the local community.

    The scheme shares a common feature with previous attempts that have run into the buffers over the past thirty years. It is top down driven. The desire to make money, rather than substantive improvements for the town, leads to oversized grandiose proposals. I would not want to get into party politics here as the last scheme under a previous administration was just as bad. On the other hand people have to be realistic. There are no vast sums of money in council coffers for costly regeneration works that do not pay their way however nice they would be.

    All this points to compromise. The area is an important part of Twickenham and Twickenham Riverside is unique. Something should be done. Going away, saying we are listening to the consultation, but all we are going to do is tinker with the present design will not cut the mustard. There should be a genuine attempt to find the middle ground from the bottom up so that everyone could buy into it. To achieve this all sides of opinion will need to give a little but the prize will be real enhancement of the town.

    • renzi

      ‘There are no vast sums of money in council coffers for costly regeneration works that do not pay their way however nice they would be’. This is not an immutable fact of life, it’s a political choice. If you want private affluence and public squalor with no increases in any kind of tax, ever, then ‘compromise’ away. If you don’t accept that that’s the inevitable future in this country, fight it.

  28. If you want the consultation reopened do please sign and share this petition. Thank you.


  29. twickerman

    It was so predictable that El Brute’s ‘we know best’ approach (tried, tested & failed during the Gloriana debacle) wouldn’t float twickenham residents’ boats.

    It’s time for them to publish all the riverside schemes, and to consult us on the preferred scheme (or aspects of them), before wasting any more time/money on detailed plans.

    Hopefully, the selected scheme will include pedestrianisation of the Embankment (the only positive from the Terry scheme).

  30. Cleo Talbot

    Here’s the link to Twickcat’s petition (from the previous thread). Thanks for setting it up, Twickcat!

  31. Sally

    Thank you very much for doing the figures.
    Action is needed to prevent this. I predict Cllrs Fleming and True will announce this as a victory which just needs a couple of tweaks to the wonderful design. On which they will consult yet again-but only using much the same design. And the consultation timed for the Summer holidays.
    My impression is that Lord True and Cllr Fleming are pushing this hard with Cllr Samuels cheering, well pretty well whatever Lord True says. None of them live in Twickenham. None of them would dream of suggesting a block of flats going up on Richmond or Hampton riversides.
    Councillor Fleming’s stern warning about economic realities are galling. She argues that no public space is possible without most of the site used for a block of flats. But they bought the site stating that it could and would be used as a public space. Had they not done his no money would have been spent and the site would still be chugging along nicely.