Twickenham High Street Update – Spring 2016

In January we did something of a bumper High Street Update as it had been many months since our last shops-related confession. But that was January and this is now and there’s more to tell. Things have happened. In telling you this tale we’re going to go with the theme of brevity and we hope you’re going to buy into it because we really need you with us on this journey. Let us begin…

Food Sanctuary, York Street

Food Sanctuary, new on York Street

Marc Jason’s Shoeworld, purveyors of cheap footwear to the TWs is closing down. To be fair, with its endless sales and discount banners it has always looked as if it’s been on the brink of closing but the words ‘closing down’ in the window do seem to be a big, big clue as to its current state.  We don’t know if Marc Jason has other ‘worlds’ beyond Shoeworld but it does seem to be the end of the line for this particular Heath Road outlet. The shop has lasted longer than you might think although we do say this without any insights as to how your brain actually works. So, how long do you think it’s been open? Two years? Three? And the answer is….  almost four and a half years. Plenty of other places have come and gone in that time.

One such example of the ‘short-lived retail experience’ is Sanbei, also on Heath Road, which will soon be selling phone accessories in the great retail mall in the sky, or at least in some other suburban town. The shop’s sign said ‘Sanbei. Since 2002’ but in Twickenham it only managed a year. Perhaps it was really just a ‘pop-up shop’, the retail experience de nos jours?

 

On the plus side, an ‘Asian grocer’ has opened on York Street. Food Sanctuary sells a range of Asian foodstuffs, spices, sauces and drinks. Think noodles, soy sauce, produce with plenty of chilli or coconut and you’re along the right lines. It sells online too.  It’s in the shop formerly occupied by York Street Galleries, that strange ‘antique shop’ that looked more like a Cold War dead drop point for George Smiley than an actual retail premises.  But it can’t have been that because we all know that La Serenata restaurant on London Road holds the crown for Twickenham’s most mysterious establishment. Real facts, folks, real facts.

Cavan Bakery, coming to King Street, Twickenham

Cavan Bakery, coming to King Street, Twickenham

A branch of the Cavan Bakery is set to open in Twickenham. It’s going to be in the long-empty unit on King Street where Wishbone butchers used to be. The chain already has shops in Hampton, Hampton Hill and Teddington and so a Twickenham branch seems like a logical extension.  They always seem to get positive reviews online so will be worth a look.

Talking of food, which we were, Little Mumbai is now open on Heath Road in what was Royal Spice and, before that, Amins.  And talking of nails, which we definitely weren’t, Nail Plaza is about to open on King Street in the small unit that had been empty for years after having spells as a charity shop and, very briefly, a deli.

Back on Heath Road, High Road Auctions is closed. It’s for refurbishment (according to the sign)  but comments below and from other sources suggest it’s permanent.  It always looked busy and the cafe was popular but, if it is permanent then it won’t have lasted long. So what next for this large space? How about bike shop & cafe? We reckon that could work. Moores, Cycle Republic, Giant it’s over to one of you guys.  And, as we reported a few weeks back, Greggs Bakery (the actual bakery on Gould Road, not the shop on King Street) is to close with the loss of up to 206 local jobs.

On Cross Deep we have recently spotted The North Clinic next to the True beauty salon. Its plain white decor doesn’t give much away but Google seems to think it’s going to be an osteopathy clinic and who are we to argue with Google?  It could fill the ‘sort your aching body out’ gap in the market created by the disappearance of physiotherapists Stoke Health from London Road a couple of months ago.

And finally, do you know about CeX?  It’s a kind of second hand goods chain specialising in electronic things, computing and video games.  Someone asked us whether a branch could do well in Twickenham. We said we didn’t know but that you might.  So do ya? Should they feel lucky?

 

That’s all for now, stay tuned for more breaking news as and when it happens, if and when we can be bothered.

52 Comments

Filed under High Street Updates, Local Issues & News

52 responses to “Twickenham High Street Update – Spring 2016

  1. aristophanes

    I see that no. 8 Staines Rd (West Twickenham), that is being converted into a Medical Centre, has an old facade, now uncovered, reading “Edward Sandys”. I wonder if this is where our much-appreciated fishmonger used to have his shop?

  2. ‘Dear Sir/Madam,

    Due to circumstances beyond the company’s control, it is with regret that we must announce the closure of the Twickenham branch of High Road Auctions. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support over the last two years and invite you to join us at our Chiswick branch, where David and the team will now be based, which is soon to benefit from a full refurbishment for a brighter and better High Road Auctions.

    Kind Regards, The High Road Auctions Team’

    07/05/16

    • Foxy

      Chris I did tell you weeks ago it was closed for good but you don’t appear to have believed me.

      I bet they never replied to your email….

    • Consider the weight of evidence: on side I had the company website announcing their intention to reopen plus an explicit denial from a staff member (she said she was a member of the Twickenham team) in Chiswick when I asked what was happening; on the other, a statement by an anonymous poster on a local blog edited by another anonymous person. I noted what you wrote and waited for ‘time to explain all’ which it has done though we still don’t why this happened as it did.

      One would have to be remarkably gullible to credit a blog comment straight off over the company’s two clear statements.

  3. Purple Haze

    Apart from the rumours that the premises once occupied by High Road Auctions is to be a charity shop, there is speculation that it might become a clothes shop.
    Any truth in the whisper that WH Smith is closing down?

  4. Foxy

    Chris

    I went to the auction at Chiswick last night. I was pleased to see Liam on duty who used to work at the Twickenham Branch.

    It was confirmed that Twickenham will not be re-opening. High Road Auctions has actually been sold to new owners and this has been confirmed by Companies House this morning.

    High Road Auctions Twickenham is looking pretty dreadful at the moment with brown paper dangling from a few strands of sellotape.

    • Thanks for the explanation – this is a sad end for what appeared to be a flourishing business. I suppose they had failed to attract enough big ticket business to make the profits the were looking for.

  5. Anya

    La Serenata = a conundrum ….I’ve lived in Twickenham for over 20 years, a short walk from this restaurant, and do not know anyone who has eaten there. Is it really closed? I wondered if it was a front for something else?

    • Rufus McDufus

      Went there about 10 years ago and really enjoyed it. It was a bit like stepping back in time to the 70s/80s but the food was pretty good and they had a massive collection of bottles of wine. They could have just renamed it Goodfellas and offered the genuine ‘family’ experience.

    • I’m sorry La Serenata has closed. The couple who ran it will have retired as they weren’t youngsters. We had many excellent meals there and always a relaxing evening. The husband was out front and his wife was the chef. All the food was freshly cooked and delicious. We will miss it.

  6. Con O'Brien

    My favourite place at the moment is “Food Sanctuary” on York Street that does an excellent lunch takeaway for only £5. It sells out every day and will be having a stall on Twickenham Riverside on Sunday 10 April at the TryCycle Event http://www.trytwickenham.com/content/trycycle-twickenham-2016

  7. Purple Haze

    Twickenham’s shops are spread over a wide area along London Road, York Street, Church Street, King Street, Cross Deep and Heath Road up to The Green and Staines Road.
    That’s nearly a mile of shops, and obviously many more if you walk on both sides of the road.
    There’s a lot variety, and most of them are fairly small. Overall they seem to be occupied most of the time, although turnover and repetition is quite high. So in these troubled times they do a pretty good job, all things considered.
    It’s also surprising how long many of these shops, restaurants and trade businesses have been there too. Shops and retailers like D&M, Sandys, Chapman’s, Cousins, Johnsons Shoes, Crusader Travel, Isfahan Carpet Palace, and Star Print. Along with the trades like Alsford Timber, Grays Tyre and Exhaust Centre and A1 Glass Supplies in Heath Road. I’m sure there are many more too, like the hairdressers, funeral parlours, cafes, betting shops and of course the pubs and restaurants. Also not forgetting Ruby’s Fish Bar on the Staines Road and the other eateries.
    Something that has been seriously lacking for years is a general hardware shop. A lot of folk have said that a branch of Robert Dyas would be a worthwhile addition.
    The Electrical Warehouse in Lion Road, that Aladdin’s cave of all things leccy, and Chapman’s sells DIY stuff which is useful and convenient, and we don’t want to put them down, but somewhere that’s sells the other things Robert Dyas does would be good.
    There’s a branch in Richmond and East Sheen, but oddly enough not one in Kingston, so Twickenham would be an ideal location.
    Anyone fancying lobbying its owner, Theo ‘Dragons Den’ Phaphitis, to open one up? If High Road Auctions are going that’s an ideal spot.
    Did anyone local ever go to La Serenata restaurant or York Street Galleries? I’ve known people that have lived here for decades who never went there, although La Serenata did get decent reviews for its food.
    Like Twickerati says, maybe YSG was a front for something else, like a safe house with a secret tunnel to the Council offices or the river nearby?
    Or maybe the owner was one of those canny antiques dealers who had bought the premises for 500 pounds, ten shillings, half a crown and thruppence ha’penny back in 1948. Then sat there every week, watching the value of their property go stratospheric, even if they didn’t have to sell a single thing!
    Perhaps Quinlan’s proposed riverside folly will provide a few more retro-themed shops, like a Regency dress shop? -You could get done up as a fop or a dandy, or I’m a laydeee!

    • illiad1

      The only ‘problem’ with ‘The Electrical Warehouse’ is it is more for builders and engineers… no ‘clean, pretty stuff’ (If you want that, goto homebase!) just loads of shelves and racks – fine for an engineer like me, looking for ‘old stuff’ that the finer electrical stores wont do anymore… 🙂

    • illiad1

      O yes… lest we forget, there used to be a very good ‘costume and novelty shop’ along Heath Rd.. FULL dress up costumes for parties, and Halloween stuff.. another victim of the recession… 😦

  8. Sally

    I think a Robert Dyas or Tiger would do well in the local shops and we desperately need somewhere to buy children’s clothes. The closing of Woolworths was a sad day for parents. Incidentally Star Print is excellent for really good quality artist materials at very reasonable prices. We do still have some great shops.
    Teddington does a far better job of looking after the local shops and encouraging locals to use them.
    We have a lot of families and everybody loves the river,If we had a town square, open to the river with low level cafe and a bike hire /boat hire, Twickenham would be more of a destination for people enjoying a day by the river, along the lines of Tide Tables/Blazing Saddles.
    On the other hand,If we had a lido many would use it.
    If the prices were OK ,how many people would have a swim before work, and take their the children on the weekend! Pools on the Park might be close for Councillor Fleming of Richmond, but this is Twickenham,. And the point is that we wanted something for Twickenham.
    So ,arguments on both sides. Either scheme would draw people into Twickenham, help the existing shops and cheer us up.
    One thing of which we can be certain is nobody at all (Unless connected to Lord True, Quinlan or a developer) wants a high rise block of pretendy Regency flats on the site ! Nobody will come to see it. It will put people off ,it will spoil what we have.
    We can’t allow yet another insane block of flats/retail to be put up in Twickenham by this contemptuous Council.

  9. Boss

    Seems genuinely too odd that an established business like High Road Auctions would pretend to be staying open when it’s closing down. So I reckon it is just a refurb.

    • illiad1

      well there is nothing better to spread confusion than misinformed people and workers, bosses kept in the dark by ‘too busy’ head office, and the glacial pace that these things are done!!! 😦 😦
      to say nothing about various sites that are rumoured as being ‘sat on’ waiting for some company to decide what to do with it … :roll eyes:

    • Foxy

      High Road Auctions is hardly established when compared to the likes of Lots Road who are professional and efficient.

      If it is just a refurb why is the telephone line now disconnected and why have all staff been made redundant?

    • Boss

      High Roads Auction has been around for a long time, even if their Twickenham branch is fairly new to us. So yes, it’s an established business.

    • Michael

      I spoke to the management just the other week and it is a temporary closure whilst they lay a new floor. It is due to open again towards the end of April 2016.

    • illiad1

      more news from ‘Foxy’ above..
      April 6, 2016 at 12:12 pm

  10. Mary P (only joking) Louise

    This may seem like a joke on a Twickerati post but I believe we should embrace our charity shops and use them as a footfall driver by them clubbing together and really specialising in Twickenham. To me it’s the only solution for the vast amount of retail space. We already have the Sue Rider on Heath road which sells furniture as its a large space – why not all join together and specialise so that they each only sell one genre and can concentrate on making that an excellent retail experience. We could even utilise our flag poles outside of match days! Crazy! I think we could successfully sustain a children’s clothes shop, a book shop, a gaming shop, male fashion, female fashion, a bridal shop etc. I’m sure it would get more people into the charity shops, draw people to town and they would stop and have a coffee at one of the many coffee shops. Sometimes you have to go with the tide, the foodie side of Twickenham is hopefully here to stay with Cousins, Sandy’s, Reuben’s and our market but so are the charity shops! I have been silently passionate about this for a while and would happily invest some time in this to try and make it happen if there was any interest. I know there are some obvious hurdles but it’s not rocket science. Interested in any thoughts.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Regarding the charity shops, I think that is quite an interesting idea.

    • twickerman

      Illiad, if you read the station planning application you’ve quoted you’ll see the plans for temporary scaffold bridge. It’s not ‘already there’.

    • illiad1

      Ugh, the planning site gets more complex!! more drawings hidden a way..
      I just went straight to the first drawing on that link.. (not the additional report. :/)
      (what? you want me to read ALL that bumf????? 😛 😀 )
      The existing bridge near the end of the platforms I assumed would be good enough.. but they are adding an additional one in scaffold? To last the 2 or more years the project will take?? :/ 🙂

    • twickerman

      illiad,
      There was a clue in the planning application name: Details pursuant to conditions NS47 (Details of Temporary Bridge)!

    • illiad1

      too late! the language just puts me to sleep.. “Details pursuant to conditio.. zzZZZZZ

  11. KMF

    The high street is just way too big. We’re minutes from Kingston & Richmond, not to mention Teddington, Whitton etc. It goes all the way from Waitrose to past Twickenham Green, up Church street and York Road. Craziness. We need community space, schools, doctors. Half these shops would be still too many!

  12. Sally

    I would be very sorry if High Road Auctions go. Great cafe, interesting auction room, friendly staff, always bustling…and somewhere people traveled to from other parts of the Borough.The number of visitors we have taken there who heaped praise on it!
    I don’t understand what goes wrong with our shops. Every weekend they are thronging with fairly well heeled people, often family groups, yet so many businesses seem to fold. If only we had something which drew people into the centre of town. Something to enjoy …like ,like,a huge block of flats .

    • twickerman

      Sadly, the development of the huge blocks of flats over Twickenham station has been postponed yet again (ha ha).

      We’ll just have to make do with the smaller, but not insignificant, block across London Road for the foreseeable future.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Sally – guess it is the same problem as Teddington. Seemingly quite a large footfall but not enough to sustain independent shops. With Kingston and Richmond either side and the capital city within easy reach I guess we cannot blame people for going elsewhere – and of course the old internettythingybob which seems all the rage.

    • Steve P

      What is happening with the station lump – last I heard work was supposed to start next month on demolishing the exisiting building? Also, I read that Stokes and Moncrieff is due to be re-branded soon, possibly as some sort of private club. And the Mulberry Tree pub seems to have withered (again).

    • twickerman

      Before the existing station and bridges can be demolished, Solum need to build a temporary ticket office in the car park and a temporary bridge over to platforms 4&5.
      Temporary should be for 2 years or so, but could be longer, much longer – we still have large parts of the ‘temporary station’ built in the 1950s!
      Preparation and demo work was due to kick off in May-June, but has been postponed by a few months. There doesn’t appear to be a revised plan at the moment.
      It’s looking less and less likely that it will be finished in time for the Rugby World Cup…..in 2019.

    • illiad1

      The bridge is already there, complete with heavy barriers to stop those with beer addled brains from getting through…
      I found the ticket office details here.. 🙂
      http://www2.richmond.gov.uk/PlanData2/Planning_CASENO.aspx?strCASENO=11/1443/DD26

    • illiad1

      I dont think it all the internettythingybob’s fault…
      Richmond has a huge sainsburys, a large homebase, and lots of good quality clothes shops… also a very good ‘home shop’ in robert dyas..
      I dont see many of those in Tedd or Twick… 😦
      there is a huge sainsbury near apex corner though..

      Kingston is nearer to Tedd, and has a much grander shopping area…

  13. Foxy

    ISO Sushi, Ben Thanh and Kamares are all on the market according to Milestone Commercial but none of them have a dreadful To Let sign up outside.

    http://www.milestoneresidential.com/search/2.html?n=10&showstc=on&orderby=price+desc&bid%5B%5D=miles-admin

    • anonymouse

      ‘Ideally located for the Rugby World Cup’!!!

    • illiad1

      I think the problem may be ‘too enthusiastic selling’ by estate agents hard selling the place, keeping quiet about high rates, and lack of ‘visibility’…

  14. ShelleLuscombe

    Shoeworld is taking over the old Scope shop!!

    Shelle Luscombe

    Professional Vocalist, Event Host, TV Presenter and Voiceover Artist

    E: info@shelleluscombe.co.uk
    W: http://www.shelleluscombe.co.uk
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ShelleLuscombe
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ShelleLuscombe
    SoundCloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/ShelleLuscombe

  15. Foxy

    Speak to the staff Chris they know more than the website editor…… Why would a building that was refurbished only a year ago close for another refurb?

    • Just had corroboration on this from a regular there so updated for closure above. Thanks.

    • I’ve just returned from their Stamford Brook branch where I was served by a young lady who told me that she was from the Twickenham branch and it would definitely reopen on May 2 as announced.

      I’ve had no reply as yet to my email of yesterday so still no written confirmation either way.

  16. JJ

    Little Mumbai was an interesting experience; Gaurang is the front of house and apparently it’s a concern owned by several others in the city who want to try their hand at their own restaurant. They aren’t opening during the day as they don’t feel there is enough business, plus Gaurang has another full time job and so can’t be there during the day. The food was nice and fresh but not particularly spicy.

  17. Sheila

    There’s a Cavan bakery in East Sheen too.

  18. I d love a CeX in TW with both Blockbuster having closed in tw and HMV long gone in Richmond! For dvds Poundland and charity shops are currently the only options

    • Foxy

      I visited Star Print earlier and felt really sorry for them. They own the shop but have very few customers per day. They said if they didn’t own the building they would have closed a long time ago. They agree with me Twickenham is turning into a ghost town because locals are not shopping locally and this is forcing businesses to close due to lack of income.

  19. Anonymous

    I heard an unsubstantiated rumour that La Serenata had closed.

  20. Foxy

    High Road Auctions is closed for good. Staff have all been made redundant and the cafe is closed. The refurbishment is a smoke screen.

    • I’ve emailed them to check; their website says:

      At Twickenham TW1
      Antiques, Collectables & Interiors
      Mon, 2nd May 2016 at 6:00pm
      Viewing Friday – Monday, 10am – 6pm