Twickenham Riverside Development: Will LBRuT Listen?

REVISED: This item is an updated and re-vamped version of the one published on 12th July.

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Folks, for months we had been expecting the big reveal, the grand unveiling, or, if you will, the presentation to end all presentations! We are of course talking about the revised plans for the Twickenham Riverside development. Remember that old thing? How could you not? It’s big. Well, after trailing the pop-up shop to review the revised designs, we’re now told we’ll have a wait a while yet as more consultation is required. Apparently.

As you full well know, and do not pretend that you don’t, when El Brute presented their regency inspired ‘design concept’ for the site last year it was met with views that ranged from mild disappointment all the way to downright anger. OK, so there was indifference too and even a small smattering of delight but for the most part the ideas presented fell quite a way short of what most residents were hoping for. Be honest, have you actually met anyone who really liked the design? The much discussed town square seemed to be missing, the opening up of the King Street shops to the river via Water Lane hadn’t happened and the prospect of a regency inspired amphitheatre with up to 40 flats on top didn’t really compute with the brief of making best use of this prime riverside location. The colonnade of shops didn’t go down well either, although the creation of garden space in front of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens was generally popular… except with people who currently park their cars there.  So far, so meh! For others, the fact that the plans were not a new lido also presented a major obstacle.

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of design from LBRuT website

El Brute sought feedback and the result was a resounding ‘no thanks’ from the hundreds who took the time to reply. Of the 754 consultation responses received just 93 said the plans met the needs of the local community. Ouch! A local Riverside Action Group was formed to try to persuade Richmond Council to re-think the whole process but the Council pressed on, telling you lot that it would listen to your views and make amendments to the designs that had been created by its chosen architects, Q&F Terry (esteemed “designers of new classical buildings”) who had won El Brute’s ‘competition’.

Initial design for town square Twickenham (image: LBRuT)

Initial design for town square Twickenham (image: LBRuT)

And so months later, there we all were waiting patiently to see whether residents’ feedback had been taken into account only to be told by El Brute that instead of seeing revised designs we’ve got “opportunities for an ever deeper conversation” instead. This is where the pop-up shop comes in and there is even a series of workshops too. An ‘ever deeper conversation‘? Sounds like something Bill Clinton would do at an EU summit. Does this mean that the draft revisions did not open up a vista to the river, create a town square, reduce or eliminate the amount of housing on the site, reduce the overall scale of the buildings and change the architectural style to something much more in keeping with Twickenham? No comment but there does seem to be a great divide between residents’ expectations for the site and the Council’s aspirations.

The new consultation is centred around creating a ‘New heart for Twickenham‘. In the introduction, leading Brutista, Councillor Pamela Fleming sets the scene and says that rather than present revised designs the consultation will be “reflecting back what we have heard so far and identify themes and topics where there is scope and appetite for a richer and deeper conversation”. A three stage process between now and October will involve first feedback, and then workshops before revised designs are presented in the final phase.  In terms of architecture and the much-unloved regency designs, someone’s been busy out and about around the town photographing windows, doors and columns that might possibly tie in with the proposed retro-theme. And to be fair to them they’ve actually found a few: the windows above Poundland for example, the former post office (now William Webb Ellis pub) and Twickenham Library. Great to know that Poundland is inspiring the future of Twickenham Riverside. Objectors to the idea of flats on the site will be disappointed to learn that LBRuT regards residential development of some kind as essential to making the whole scheme financially viable. In other words, don’t expect big changes.

Interestingly the ‘New heart for Twickenham’ document contains no images of the previous designs. Does this mean it’s all in the past? We sincerely doubt it as the intention is to push on with the current choice of architect. Does it mean that the end of the consultation will find a way to show that the original concept was ‘broadly right’ all along? You might think that, but we couldn’t possibly comment.


Water Lane car park - Twickenham riverside

Water Lane car park – Twickenham riverside

The pop up shop will be on Church Street and open at various times between Tuesday 19th and Saturday 30th July. There’s an online survey too. Not enough for you? There are also six workshops from mid-August to mid-September covering different aspects of the plans such as viability, business use, parking and cycling.  Here at twickerati HQ we’re still pondering on the rationale for this compartmentalised approach to ‘workshopping’ the issues. If you want to take part, advance booking is required. Who knows, there may also be other El Brute initiatives to get you to love their re-worked designs or to find ways to ‘better interpret your feedback’ (our phrase not theirs).

Meanwhile, RAG, in addition to producing its ‘residents brief’ setting out what many locals want from the site and protesting outside Council meetings are still trying to get the whole process re-started in a more open and inclusive way. They’ve even gone as far as to claim support from RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects.  RAG’s website says RIBA has raised questions about the procurement of the project and the level of taxpayer funds spent “without meaningful consultation with the local community”.

Perhaps on the assumption that EL Brute will try to push ahead with the Romanesque ‘Terry Town’ regardless, RAG have also planned a public meeting at the Clarendon Hall at York House on Saturday 24th September (10.15 – 12.15) where some of the alternative plans for the site will be on display and where locals will get a chance to hear from other stakeholders and discuss options.

Needless to say, don’t take our word on any of this, go along and speak your brains out. The window of opportunity for comments will be shorter than for the original pop-up so you’ll need to plan carefully if you want to have your say. Top tip: don’t go on holiday.

Why does it all have to be so hard, eh? From the way it’s shaping up, this heavyweight gladiatorial contest could run for a while longer yet. So plebs, thumbs up or thumbs down?



* LBRuT – Twickenham Rediscovered – Council pages on Twickenham riverside with details of pop-up shop, workshops and other ways to feedback
* LBRuT new consultation document
* Riverside Action Group – Local residents’ group calling for the consultation to be re-started
* Twickenham Lido group


Filed under Council, Twickenham Action Plan

98 responses to “Twickenham Riverside Development: Will LBRuT Listen?

  1. Now closed to new comments.

    Latest on this issue is here:

  2. twickerman

    Sadly the Twickenham Riverside Viability Workshop was a complete waste of attendees time because:

    1. It wasn’t a workshop.
    2. It was a presentation by slippery eel Paul Chadwick (Dir of Env) about possible ways of looking at viability from different perspectives.
    3. He didn’t advise how LBRUT would assess viability, only that they hoped to break even on the £6.5m cost of purchase. In othe words LBRUT don’t actually intend to invest any money in development of the Riverside.
    4. How they break even depends on how they cook the books – i.e. what costs/income they decide to include/exclude.
    5. Questions were batted away with the same vague ifs and buts and maybes as in the powerpoint presentation.
    6. Chadwick and Mandy Smith (Asst Dir Env) tried to assure us that this was a new start and they were listening, but that was undermined by the assertion that Francis Terry remained their chosen architect (despite his lack of experience, and overwhelming rejection of his first and second over-development schemes by residents).

    The only thing this workshop achieved was to tick a box in LBRUT’s consultation checklist.

    • whiteknight

      I cannot agree with all of Twickerman’s remarks. Viability is obviously a hugely complex subject, and I suspect that many in the audience didn’t know much about it. I found it helpful to be told about for example
      financially beneficial/detrimental factors
      the three possible pathways to delivery, high to low risk
      the many separate factors that must be taken into account for cost and income.

      On Twickerman’s #4, the option for a “lesser target” was put forward whereby,as I understood it,the Council makes a financial loss for the sake of community gain.
      Finally, I think it would have been better had Mr Chadwick been allowed to finish his talk without interruption.

    • As Twickerman pointed out it wasn’t supposed to be a ‘talk’, we had been invited to a Workshop.
      I think too we all know the all encompassing meaning of viability and we didn’t even touch the surface.
      Not to worry ‘whiteknight’ we have been assured we will receive a spreadsheet of analysis of options appraisal. Curious that this was not made available when we were supposed to get into the detail of finance. Curious too there was no-one from Council with knowledge of the numbers, or the disposable reserves. The accounts are after all on LBRuT’s website. If you recall one gentleman asked about reserves and received ‘I’ll need to check that out’ reply. The level of information was dreadful. The answers incomplete – too many “I’ll get back to you” or “I’ll get to that”.
      If we are paying the council officers over £100k per year we should expect a better grasp of the detail – unless as Twickerman says it was another box ticked.

  3. aristophanes

    At Thursday evening’s meeting there was uncertainty as to how to describe the site,ie as “council land” , “publicly owned land” or “belongs to us”.
    To attempt to clarify the precise ownership of the land, I have obtained the Land Title and Plan from the Land Registry. This tells us that the land is owned (“Title Absolute”) by “The Mayor and Burgesses of Richmond”. Burgesses means the elected representatives. Thus, our Councillors are the land owners. Hope this clears things up.

    • Indeed the point is they must represent us. What is more the representives must subject themselves for our approval every four years. The ownership is therefore ‘public’.


    • A LOCAL REFERENDUM (as of 28th September)
    Following the Council’s decision to open ‘pop-up shops’ and workshops in the summer holiday period that provide little or no information on the plans for the riverside other than the statement ‘there is no plan’ (except apparently to build shops, offices, flats and a basement carpark on public open land), Riverside Action Group will do what the Council has failed to do.
    1: PROVIDE AN EXHIBITION of the designs commissioned by the Council and paid for by you the tax-payer. Local architects who have also submitted designs have been invited to display their work. Venue: the Twickenham Club, 7 Church Street, Twickenham TW1. (For dates and times see details below);
    2: PROVIDE AN OPEN PUBLIC MEETING in the Clarendon Hall on Saturday, 24th September, from 10.15am to give people the opportunity to view and discuss in an open forum the designs, the information provided by the Council and the future of Twickenham Riverside;
    3: PROVIDE A REFERENDUM: You are invited by RAG to make your opinion known to the Council via a local referendum, administered by the Electoral Reform Society. The ballot papers will arrive on your doorstep shortly after 26th September 2016. Every person in your household aged 17 years and over has the right to vote, but please get the opinions of the younger members of your family. It is they who are the inheritors of our land.
    • PLEASE attend the exhibition of designs (dates/times below);
    • PLEASE take part in the Referendum. Register your name, address
    and postcode with us via or at the
    exhibition; PLEASE attend the Open Public meeting on 24th
    September, Clarendon Hall, Twickenham. Doors open 9.45 am;
    • PLEASE support the campaign by donating £20.00 or whatever you
    are able to give. We’re incredibly grateful for all the support and
    encouragement we have received but unfortunately every campaign
    needs funds. The RAG Steering Group really needs to ask for your
    backing for this final stage to cover venue hire and the local
    Referendum costs administered by the Electoral Reform Society:

    Donations can be made in two ways:
    NatWest Bank
    Sort Code: 60-22-03
    Account Number: 63487373
    Account Name: Twickenham Action Group
    Visit our website and contribute to our Crowd Funding.

    Dates and times of the RAG exhibition of architectural designs
    The Twickenham Club, 7 Church Street, Twickenham TW1 (there is a bar).
    Wednesday, 24th August: 16.00 – 19.30
    Thursday, 25th August: 16.00 – 19.30
    Saturday, 27th August: 13.00 – 15.00
    Tuesday, 30th August: 16.00 – 19.30
    Wednesday, 31st August: 16.00 – 19.30
    Friday, 2nd September: 16.00 – 19.30
    Tuesday, 6th September: 16.00 – 19.30
    Wednesday, 7th September: 16.00 – 19.30
    Thursday, 8th September: 16.00 – 19.30
    Saturday, 10th September: 13.00 – 15.00
    Tuesday, 13th September: 16.00 – 19.30
    Wednesday, 14th September: 16.00 – 19.30

    • Hi Susan
      We haven’t received any details about exhibiting at the planned exhibitions at the Twickenham Club.
      Twickenham Lido

    • If you wish to conduct a public dialogue other than via our private email exchanges may I remind you:
      1)Ms Read received her invitation at the same time as everyone else.
      2) the terms of partipation:were made clear; we emphasised the exhibition is organised and administrated by RAG and no other party.
      3) you and I spoke on Thursday 18th August. You have had my email for some time.
      4) I have since been in email contact with you.
      For anyone who is interested RAG is attempting to provide the visual information on all concepts/designs. We are not presenting any lobbying material. We stand by the terms of our petition and will not favour any design.
      We look forward to providing the information denied by the Council.

    • Hi Susan, Relax. There has been a simple admin glitch. Berkley had not heard from RAG when he put on the post and it went on a bit later.
      i must say though i am totally and utterly confused by what RAG wants. Some emails tell me i am not wanted at the Twickenham Club (but you want my work) and my presence will not be accepted and now you say I have an invitation. Why couldn’t it be more simple. The Barefoot Consultation was so relaxed. Everyone had a space to exhibit. Everyone behaved and there were absolutely no problems.
      Btw, i am always called Teresa so don’t use the Ms or anything else. As a widow i really do not think i can still be a Mrs so the Christian name is used by everyone and i would be grateful if you could do the same. Let’s hope it all goes smoothly and people can cut a bit of slack.
      Best wishes,
      PS Berkley says he has been in contact but the emails kept bouncing back. Blame Cyberspace!

  5. The Viability presentation from last night’s LBRuT ‘workshop’ is now at Nothing new is disclosed, I think, indeed it is very basic, too basic for a self-selected audience who have been following this issue for 9 months. The only number is £6.5 mn. as the price of the land purchase, which we knew already.

    Only 30 minutes were assigned to discussion and there were no mikes, so I imagine that nothing of substance was said – no doubt RAG will soon enlighten us.

    • As you say Chris, there was nothing new. £6.5m was the only figure disclosed. There was no Finance Director present, so no clarity of answers.
      A discussion about a developer: joint, council run or 100% developer.
      Given the incompetence of certain officers (who we pay £127K per annum) to write a clear Invitation to Tender – even the spelling is dire – I have no confidence in the council’s ability to manage the erection of a small tent on a calm day. I made myself unpopular by asking too many questions, but that’s life. I am not looking for a gold medal. We have asked for a spreadsheet of financial options – we’ll see if that is produced this side of Christmas.
      Next stop: business and retail. I know from an FoI response that no shopping survey has been done in Twickenham. So stand by for another plunge into the abyss of obfuscation.
      Oh yes – in case you didn’t know: Francis Terry is the architect but there is no plan.
      And any promises made by True or Samuel in 2009/10 about land development were “just a moment in time”. Need to remember that when politicians make promises at the next local election.
      If anyone is going to any of these ‘powerpoint’ presentations (council evidently has no understanding of the meaning of workshop) – do ask if there are any local developers present in the audience. Nice to know why some people fawn.

  6. Dr NHS

    El Brute have started a ‘Talk Richmond’ forum, and one of the threads concerns Twickenham Riverside. It’s moderated by ‘Gabriele’ and rather suspiciously ‘Gabriele’ loses no opportunity to fish for positive remarks about the Quinlan and Francis Terry designed Richmond Riverside and impishly suggests that maybe a ‘focal point’ would be just as good as a town square when you come to think about it.
    I suspect that cherry picked quotes from this will be making their way into the justification for continuing on with this deeply unpopular paladian pile.

    • The Terry scheme (Francis only NOT Quinlan!) is not in the Palladian style -‘Of, relating to, or designating the neoclassical style of Palladio; built in this style’ – but in the much older Classical – ‘characteristic of Greek or Roman antiquity’ (think Coliseum). Two fine local examples of the 18th century neo-Palladian are Marble Hill and Chiswick House.

      Thanks for the info re ‘Talk Richmond’ I wondered whether to join but decided against as I did not wish to get drawn into being asked to express opinions on matters I have no interest in. I’ll have another look.

      The incredible shrinking RTT is clearly on its last legs – we need new forums for discussion to replace its Letters page, for a long time the only forum that The People In Charge deigned to look at.

    • Derek Jones

      had a look at talk richmond, it seems all ideas put forward become their intellectual property. Don’t think that’s a good idea.

    • Riversidevoter

      When I visited the pop up shop I had a very similar experience to Twickerati. Actually by the time I visited there was not just a sense of agreement the scheme was not right, it was blatant. However there was a reference to needing to find out what “the silent majority” thought. This presumably being the “silent majority” that Lord True, Fleming etc. insisted were in favour of the Gloriana as well. In reality surely most of the silent majority don’t speak up because they don’t care, don’t know, are too busy or think it isn’t worth trying to stand up to the Council? I suppose Gabrilelle is following the same orders to try and find evidence so that the Council can claim approval by the “silent majority”

      They were not having much luck in the shop when I visited. I noticed quite a lot of passers by did come in so presumably a fair cross section of people who live and use the area but they were not having any luck fishing for words of approval….

    • illiad1

      I hope people remember there is a TOTALLY FREE Forum creation software available, if you need it – it is FAR more functional with large posts and userbase, unlike wordpress… 🙂
      Th biggest problem is getting people from here to USE it….

  7. mike hine

    Coming back to this thread after a while away I’m surprised to see people still talking in terms of positivity, trust, faith, cynicism etc when talking about ‘consultation’. We would all do well to follow the Jeremy Paxman/Louis Heren starting position when dealing with councils and ‘consultations’: ie ‘Why is this lying bastard lying to me?’
    Recent events in the political culture of this country should have confirmed this by now as a necessary part of any citizen’s democratic armoury.

  8. twickerman

    It seems that El Brute have got their consultation timelines wrong…or have they?

    Today in the pop-up shop I was advised that Phase 3 would kick off with presentation of Francis Terry’s new design (the Amended Scheme) on 19 Sept. This design would of course take into account all the phase 1 & 2 input.

    When I pointed out that the the workshop for Configuration of the Site was only one working day before the start of Phase 3, I was advised that there was clearly not sufficient time to respond to the workshops and that Phase 3 would have to be pushed back. And NO there wasn’t a ‘new design’under the table!

    When I suggested that the timelines were clearly unrealistic, and wondered how the Council could have published anything so flawed there was something of a tumbleweed moment. Eventually, I was assured my thoughts would be fedback. Hoorah.

    Piss-ups and breweries spring to mind.

    • Just received: an invitation to join the brewery piss-up organisers at York House:

      ‘Talk Richmond is an innovative online community through which members can contribute to the development of Council services, campaigns and communications.

      What will members be asked to do? – Members will be asked take part in up to 2 weekly activities and share their views, images or videos. An example activity might be discussing the design of a new poster or brochure, where comments will be taken in consideration before this gets distributed.

      Upcoming discussions – Twickenham Rediscovered consultation . . Talk Richmond will be holding a number of discussions about the key areas in the consultation . . Discussions on topics will commence on Talk Richmond from 1 August. If you would like to take part, register now.

      . . For further information, email’

      It would obviously be most unfortunate if RAGgers joined up en masse and crowded out the silent but shy majority of Twickenham’s Terry fans – the only residnets whose views they want to hear.

    • Actually a complaint to the Local Authority Ombudsman leaps to my mind. The Council has a duty of care!

  9. martin Habell

    Twickerati has it in one… depends who you speak to. If you have faith then the pop up shop can be seen as an effort to get things right. If you are doubtful then everything is read as a plot .
    If there are mixed messages and not a forthright plain and bald statement on the status of the past scheme, then the new consultation is flawed because people simply do not know where they stand.
    That was the problem last time.

  10. Your humble twickerati correspondent has visited the pop-up shop and had a different experience from Sally. No hard sell of the Terry scheme by the officer I spoke with – perhaps she picked up on a lack of enthusiasm – and there even seemed to be a slight of sense of agreement that this was not a great scheme for Twickenham, or at least that it had a number of flaws.

    When quizzed as to whether there had been any positive comments at all about the scheme the official in question referred to one of the other officers present who said there had been quite a few from people who just wanted the Council to ‘get on with it’. This didn’t come across as totally convincing. These other officers there gave an impression of toeing the party line & seemed quite wary… maybe you’d been in just before me Sally (?).

    Interesting again that the Terry designs were not in evidence to any extent – and possibly not at all – despite the confirmation that El Brute will be sticking with these architects.

    The structuring of the comments into themes does feel like a way to break them down to make them ‘rebuttable’ within the framework of the existing plans rather than open things up to new consultation.

    • Thanks for the point of view esteemed Twickerati correspondent. Can you hear a ‘however’ coming up?
      You will have read the article in this weekend’s R&TT – Cllr. Fleming continues to claim there is ‘no plan’ and yet there is no sign of any of the other designs that people have asked to see. Residents have asked to participate in the choice of design, not just how many cars can be parked or whether there should be a connection between “the development” and the jubilee gardens, or what riverside activities we want, or how community and open space might be incorporated into “the development”. (Note the use of the definite ‘THE’ as opposed to an indefinite ‘A’).
      It is interesting to see that the ‘consultation’ schedule has a very specific time-line after the pop-up shop closes:
      1) Phase Two – Community Conversation (Workshops) the last workshop is on Thursday 15 Sept. The subject is the ‘Configuration of Site’. (This is when all the bits we have talked about in the other workshops will be slotted into “the development”).
      2) Phase Three – Consultation on the Amended Scheme (a New Proposal) starts the following week on Monday 19 Sept

      Phase Three will simply be an opportunity for Fleming and Terry to ‘drop-in’ a few of the adjustments that have come through this series of public ‘workshops’. The architectural model is all ready to go – it will be simple to move things around, take out a few walls, drop in a tree or car parking space and hey presto ‘we have listened, we have consulted’!

      This exercise is a wonderful example of revisionism. I was told poker- faced by a council employee that the numbers quoted for the original consultation were incorrect. That people didn’t really object to the Terry scheme, and anyway – this current consultation will reveal the dept of acceptance that exists. In fact the extent of the manipulation that is being exercised over the riverside reveals only the depth of deceit and misrepresentation that this Council is willing to enter into – my question to one of the Council employees was “who taught you these lies?” Do they think we live in China or North Korea?

      I agree with many in the pop-up shop that we are all impatient to get on with the job – but only when we have got it right. The only reason the Council is rushing this is because they fear it will become an election issue – as with the Lib Dems in 2010. The land – our riverside is more important than the survival of any political regime. It will be there long after we’re all dead – can we not just halt the short-termism and look to the future of the site and what it might mean to the inheritors of our land?

    • Thanks SMB, I make no comment on El Brute’s intentions – I am sure the Council are keen to press on with their unpopular scheme – I was commenting on the absence of hard sell from the person I spoke to and got the underlying impression she was not much a fan of it either, which was interesting and almost a bit odd.

    • Point taken. How fortunate to meet a sceptic. I met a zealot last week.

    • Perhaps they recognised you and decided to wind you up for their own amusement, knowing also that when word of their apparent zeal reached their masters it would do them know harm.

    • Gosh a zealot with a sense of humour. Woof, what riches Twickenham conceals.

    • Sally

      I am not sure if our lot had just been, were there still faint cries of “hogwash!” reverberating around the shop?
      Well, the encounter in the pop up started off calmly in a kind of work -away- day, lets -explore- some- themes sort of way. I looked for post -its. All ideas welcome, council listening, do sit down.
      The problem came when under pointed questioning the workers admitted that the consultation begins with the assumption that 40 Flats and the Terry lump are to be built. That’s “the development ” mentioned in most questions. 40 flats , Terry lump. Can”t be refused. We would just say no ,so best not ask .
      And that is when the sell began:that the flats wouldn’t be a problem because they are up high, that it was “not viable ” to put aside the Terry edifice , that it was “unclear” that the last scheme had been refused and so on.
      The employees were clearly reciting off one of several memorised scripts the one for “stroppy and persistent” .
      The annoying thing is this total stitch up will be spun as residents pointlessly refusing lots of great ideas.

    • martin Habell

      Apologies to John Muir over my inaccurate history of the Town Square idea.It seems it has been in the community’s mind for a long long time.
      Sally’s experience in the pop up shop up shows the council reps are simply unable to assuage the concerns of the public that there is a whitewash.
      My spirits were raised at the pop up shop on being informed of the “setting aside” of the Terry scheme. It was to be a new start. It seems now this is not the story told to everyone.
      My own suspicians are aroused by the fact that the all important viability workshop is plumb in the middle of august. Why? Viability and the pursuit of so much building is at the heart of the issue.
      If there are still 40 flats then everything in my report circulated to councillors demonstrating overdeveopment and a cavalier disregard for the Council’s own development rules is again applicable. Why have a workshop on viability if it is only to confirm the intent of 40 flats? Surely the community should have a say in whether it accepts a theoretical lower viability to save the space for future generations?
      Why sing the praises of an amphitheatre if there is to be change?
      One can only conclude that what we have seen is an upgraded effort at message, not substance.
      It is also worrying that we are getting a reinterpretation of history.The council are again historical revisionists, saying those who want the Terry proposals are a majority and that the recorded vote of opposition was incorrect. Do not believe it…as one of many who trudged the streets (not just a comfortable pop up shop) I can vouch for signed witnesses decrying the style and size.
      The Borough residents may well be apalled at the squandering of public money on truth reengineering and call for the same remedy as to their own circumstances: If you have a builder who does not do what you want you might give him a second chance….but a third? Third chances are for children.
      So let’s get to the nitty gritty: if this really is a consultation, and bearing in mind a total loss of trust on the part of the public, will the Council accept third party record of all workshops and consultation exercises and scrutiny of all documentation as it is produced at each session? …and why not record them as well?
      Furthermore will they agree to a public vote on the continuation of the current designer?

    • The original plan has not been set aside Martin. It is as we know ‘tweaked’. We already know they have widened Water Lane – heavens knows what noise the people in Water Lane will have to put up with on high days and match days, since this seems to be the Town Square, and yes they’ve loped a bit off the height of building overlooking Eel Pie island. The Council propagandists are doing a good job at being seen to ‘listen’ to the calls for car parking areas. The 40 flats remain (which will entail more car parking requirements). and as one Council employee put it with a smile the flats aren’t likely to be ‘affordable’, for key workers or elderly. They will be luxury flats, probably bought by people who don’t live in our town and will add nothing to community. This way of course the Council will save money on having to look at the restructuring of services in our town.
      I have been in the pop-up shop 3 times now and spoken to different Council employees, some more amusing than others – when pushed they all admit the flats will remain.
      The £19K model will have made a few changes post-workshops and bob’s your uncle: “we have listened to the people” slogans will pepper our news reports and fall like confetti through our letter boxes. No doubt the Council’s good work will be reported faithfully in the local paper. Francis Terry will have moved a few walls (and trees) and put in some fire escapes or added a small pontoon. Cllr Fleming will have set aside some little nook for the Eel Pie Museum – so that will keep a few more people quiet and less inclined to protest.
      Our Riverside will be sold off to developers if we don’t all wake up to this travesty of a consultation.
      On the 18th August a few of us have signed up to a ‘Viability Workshop’. The viability of what exactly?
      Perhaps we should begin by discussing the viability of this Council and Councillor Fleming in particular.

    • There is a depressing inevitability about this whole saga – truly it is a saga after at least 30+ years. I too would like them to “get on with it” and ideally one would have a view of the river when driving up from Richmond, but for the life of me I cannot see LBRUT – Tory or Lib Dem – providing ANYTHING that we punters want, it doesn’t seem to be how politics works. The so -called “consultation” is being managed so we will get what we are “given” – out of our own hard-earned Council Tax – and Fearsome Fleming will be happy that she has a “legacy”. Whoever is the Lib Dem opposition will moan about a missed opportunity. Cynical? You bet I am.

  11. Sally

    We went down to the pop up shop. Three Council employees , smiling like Stepford wives were buttonholing passers by and marching them in. Once inside we were given a sales pitch covering
    A. How very hard the Council is listening
    B. How very good are the ideas for the site .
    C How very much of say residents have. Its anything goes!
    I broke in to ask if they still intended to build 40 Terry flats. Well, yes. It is simply” not viable “to do otherwise. Why then, was this little fact not mentioned In the spiel? No answer.
    This consultation is insulting. There is no neutrality even pretended and it begins with the Terry flats as a given.
    The workers were really earning their wages. I was told that there.would be a town square, why, the ampitheatre was a town square. The town square would be embedded in the flats!
    In any case the flats were up high ,hardly any bother. Below them was the great open space of shop interiors.Yes, they really claim that the high block keeps the flats tidily away.

    Final and most insulting point ,the employees tried to cast doubt on the idea that the majority of residents had refused the flats. I had to point out these were their own figures. “I don’t have any details of that”
    We filled out the questionnaire, but gosh ,you have to be careful to refuse the flats in every single section to avoid the one thing you say which is neutral going forward.

  12. twickerman

    There’s a Terrybly fishy smell to El Brute’s latest ‘Consultation and Engagement Plan’.

    Phase Two – Community Conversation (Workshops) doesn’t finish until Thursday 15 Sept at 8.30pm…..

    ….but Phase Three – Consultation on the Amended Scheme (a New Proposal) starts just one working day later on Monday 19 Sept!

    Now either Francis Terry is a miracle worker who can knock up a whole new neo-classical monstrosity over the space of a weekend (and prepare all the consultation materials) or the ‘richer and deeper conversation with residents’ in the workshops will be falling on deaf ears.
    BTW, the last workshop isn’t on a trivial subject that can be tweaked at a later date, oh no, its subject is only ‘Configuration of the Site’ (i.e. arrangement and form of the buildings)!

    El Brute are desperately trying to convince us that there is no plan on the table, but their timeline clearly indicates that Terry’s tweaked plan is basking just below the surface, ready to jump out immediately the sham Community Conversation is over.


    What does the community want for its riverside?
    A document prepared by the Riverside Action Group
    The Riverside Action Group (RAG) is a group of Twickenham residents who believe that the future of our riverside should be determined, not by political parties, but by the people who live and work here, and that the end result should be in harmony with the site and its legacy.
    There are a number of schemes circulating, but RAG is not supporting one scheme over another. RAG exists to find out what people of all ages and backgrounds want from their riverside, and to distil these ideas into one coherent brief. We want to ensure that the Council, together with architects and landscape designers who will be asked to work on the project, can come up with a design for the riverside that sympathetically meets the needs of the community. To create this document, RAG has collected opinions from residents, youth groups and traders through local media, public meetings, petitions, interviews, comments on our website, and liaison with members of various local interest groups.
    RAG asserts that the community brief should be used to guide a professional and neutral briefing team that will be assigned to prepare a comprehensive brief for the site; a brief that truly reflects the aspirations and needs of local residents and businesses. The entire process must be transparent at all times and be open to active public participation and scrutiny.

    RAG has learnt that the majority of Twickenham’s residents want a riverside development that is in harmony with the whole riverside site, one that upholds community spirit and the heritage of Twickenham. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity for future generations to create a ‘heart’ of Twickenham for the future.

    RAG commends the purchase by the Council of the Santander, M. & Co., Superdrug block but it also endorses the residents’ view that the purchase will be a lost investment if this welcome initiative is not used to open up the vista and approach to the riverside. The Council has proposed a concept designed by architect Francis Terry of the Quinlan Terry Practice. The style is totally out of keeping with the spirit of Twickenham; it closes off the riverside and dominates the riverbank and island. The plan was resoundingly rejected in the Council’s own consultation of 2015. The Council say it is listening to our views, and are making alterations to the design, but Councillors are refusing to acknowledge that it was the whole concept that was rejected. It is therefore vital that this concept is taken off the table and we return to the design stage to ensure the brief contains the elements that Twickenham’s community wants and needs. Architectural practices, including Quinlan Terry Practice, may then be invited to submit their designs.
    RAG wants the community brief to inform a new process, that is transparently run and neutrally managed with active local public participation, not merely ‘consultation’. It is worth noting that the issue of the Twickenham Riverside is one that has blighted various councils as far back as 1923. This is largely due to the initiatives imposed from the top down. The message is clear: local residents cooperate well when actively participating in finding a solution.
     To provide a Town Centre – a heart – for Twickenham that clearly defines our town and its working riverside
     A whole site solution that runs from King Street to the river, bounded by Water and Wharf Lanes, incorporating the Diamond Jubilee Gardens. The whole area needs to be developed as a harmonious area
     It should be mainly open space, bordered by buildings. An overwhelming feedback has been that people do not want a huge building, they do not want a block of flats, nor do they want shops; any buildings should fit in with the height, scale and spirit of the existing riverside
     Our new riverside should be a space for public enjoyment, a hub for the local community and a draw for visitors to the town. The 1960’s music heritage of Eel Pie Island, for instance, is a legacy worth celebrating, alongside the history of a working riverfront

    Shopkeepers want an attractive area to which people are drawn. They believe if people are given a reason to visit Twickenham, footfall in the current shops will increase and the business community begin once more to thrive. This opinion has been borne out by the last two Town Managers.
    Obviously not everyone will ever agree about everything, but the comments, requirements and suggestions below have come up over and over again.
     Twickenham should have an open town centre that defines our town as a working riverside town, making it attractive to residents and encouraging visitors.
     The riverside should be enhanced as a working waterfront taking its cue from Eel Pie Island opposite, from the Embankment church and surroundings. This may be expressed in style and boat-related uses, and could draw on the Eel Pie artists/craft/high-tech industries to provide working studios and exhibition spaces
     The scheme should capture the spirit of the river as laid out in the Thames Landscape Strategy. It should plug into the ribbon of landscape and heritage from Twickenham to Richmond
     The scheme must be sensitive to the wild life and nature reserves on Eel Pie Island and across the river at Ham
     There should be a memorable view to the river from King Street
     A design must take into account the changing nature and tides of the river.
     Public toilets
     Market and craft outlets and space for pop-up opportunities. There is a need here to link up with Church Street so that retail and catering businesses can share in the benefits of the new space
     A waterside signature restaurant, possibly on the Eel Pie theme that attracts people from outside of the Borough

     Activity areas that will make the riverside attractive to young people and are available for family use
     The scheme should include defined open-air spaces, carefully landscaped, defining activities and views of our small waterfront town
     A space for performance, festivals, drama and music to celebrate Twickenham’s artistic heritage, in particular Eel Pie Island’s contribution to the music scene of the 1960’s
     Appropriate facilities to accommodate riverside sports and leisure activities
     Retain a cycle route connecting the embankment to the riverside
     The issue of parking along the embankment is contentious. There are members of the community who wish to see the area as a car free zone. Parking and access however is required to support the working waterfront. Businesses in the town centre and on Eel Pie Island, residents of the Island and Embankment and occupants of flats in the town centre need parking.
    Many visitors to the town centre use the embankment for short term parking and the effect of reducing this parking on economic viability of the town centre needs to be considered. The use of this area needs to be studied scientifically. Following from the advice provided by the Inspector, Twickenham Area Action Plan (TAAP), RAG emphasises the requirement for a comprehensive and independent parking and traffic flow study that takes into account not only Twickenham riverside but also the town centre
     The bridge to the island needs access. The requirement for unloading facilities at the bottom of Eel Pie Bridge is essential to sustain the businesses on Eel Pie Island together with the recreational activity of the clubs and the island’s viability as a place to live. It is critical that this development supports life and commerce on Eel Pie Island
     Water Lane should have a safe pedestrian route
     Secure cycle parking
     Existing facilities on the site, such as the Hands Charity, need to be upgraded and supported, or else sympathetically relocated

     New urban planning trends encourage healthy urban living. The choice of a sympathetic architect/landscape designer for this project is imperative. The riverside regeneration needs a practice with experience in the encouragement of social cohesion and the designing out of vandalism and anti-social behaviour. The development of our riverside and its unique setting provide a wonderful opportunity to capitalise on the best of these ideas
     RAG acknowledges that any project of this kind will need to include an element of ‘economic return’, although time and again, the local community has rejected the idea of housing developments on the riverside. Any housing that needs to be included should be modest, in proportion, and confined to the back of King Street, not the riverside.
     The service road running parallel to King Street should be just that
    The results of the design competition organised by the Council has certainly made people think about what they do not want on the riverside. What they do want is a riverside that reflects the town in which they live, work and relax, that is popular with residents and clearly financially viable. The Community understands better than outsiders the spirit of Twickenham, the history of Twickenham’s riverside and the residents’ ambitions for future generations.
    Sir David Attenborough’s reference to Twickenham as ”The People’s Landscape” expresses the fierce sense of ownership all Borough residents have expressed over the generations to preserve what they value. Their campaigning has preserved the Twickenham riverside from thoughtless, bland development. We have a unique opportunity to regenerate our riverside and we should recall our Twickenham motto ‘looking backward, looking forward’ in order to design for future generations. In the past, the riverside has reflected popular activities and pastimes: 18th Century artists and poets of note were inspired by this “picturesque” riverside fishing village and immortalised it in print and paint; in Dickens’ times, passenger steamers puffed up from London bringing city clerks

    and families for weekend trips for eel pies; in the 1960’s the Island lit a rocking spark that started a music revolution. Eel Pie Island, with its artistic community and working boat yards, has always been a draw and a unique asset to our Borough, and our riverside should celebrate this.
    Six years have passed since the Barefoot Consultation. Important elements that were expected of the scheme back then were not included in the Council’s plan, and new ideas have since emerged. Residents and traders, concerned about breathing life back into Twickenham, are not being actively involved in the solution. Twickenham Town centre has suffered for too long from the pull of Richmond and Kingston. We could be on a more level footing with our neighbours if our unique riverside became a draw for visitors to our town. Our new riverside should be a celebration of all that is essentially ‘Twickenham Town’ and thus a potential attraction for the whole of the Borough. Increased visitor numbers would in turn help support local traders and leisure facilities.
    Currently the whole Riverside is a patchwork of unrelated spaces. If any rejuvenation is to succeed it has been agreed by all Twickenham interest groups that we need to look at the whole picture. This is Our Riverside. We, the community, need a comprehensive, sympathetic solution that is led and driven by the community.
    It’s interesting to note that similar requests have been made off and on since 1923 and have been repeated in various forms through the last seven decades.
    RAG is grateful to the many contributors to this document, for the time given and insights and anecdotes provided. It is time for their voices to be heard.

  14. sb

    I fail to understand why Francis Terry is involved in considering ‘all the views submitted from residents’. The whole design is unsuitable. Can we demand to see all the other designs that were submitted and be permitted to vote on them? Is there a petition system in local government?

    • We cannot legally demand anything at this stage.
      RAG is putting all available designs onto its website in the course of the next week; please bear with us because we are getting as many fly-throughs as possible. Some you will have already seen, but we can at least offer a one site place for comparison.
      You may not like any of the ideas – but that’s why we have said the competition should be reopened to current and new designers – we have some stunning local architects who have not been considered. The competition judged by competent, independent people with a couple of residents on the judges panel. Fleming and True are neither competent or unbiased.
      We do also have recourse to a local referendum…….
      Watch this space.

  15. Just an update. We have decided to move our open public meeting to 24th September (10.15 – 12.15).
    More later – but don’t worry we have plans.
    Please do press Cllr Fleming for longer opening hours and extended pop-up shop dates.

  16. No parking on the riverside. Don’t ruin it for the 99% of people who want to enjoy a smog-free safe public space

    • You have to remember parking is a lifeline for the islanders. They must have parking and delivery access.
      Whichever design we all opt for however – and yes there are others than the mausoleum designed by FT – we really need to get to grips with our love affair with the car – people who just pop into Twickenham shouldn’t expect to park on our riverside. The Council really does have to sort alternative parking places out incomers.
      I think the Mayor’s extended emissions zones might just rule out a few unnecessary journeys.
      As for flats !!!!!!! don’t get me started.

  17. Ben Makins

    Popped into the pop-up shop last thing yesterday, staffed by a range of Council staff. The person who sat me down and briefed me with the official line told me that the last consultation response (i.e. the on-line 700+ responses, 90% not favorable) hadn’t really reflected the favorable comments that they’d somehow heard at last pop-up but which somehow hadn’t been captured. Nor did it reflect the views of others, such as young people, who hadn’t come in. I suggested that a +/- variance of 10% might be allowed for on-line survey, but that was still a pretty damming verdict. Engagement, by RAG and others, reveals “young people” not in favour of Terry Scheme.

    This really is like anti-Brexiteers asking for another vote ’til the right outcome is secured. You could argue that’s a legitimate position for anti-Brexiteers, but I wonder where Cllr Fleming stands on that, and this is hardly a 52/48 split!

    I was also told that the £19k for the architect’s model wasn’t wasted as they will be able to just slot in a new bit into the red area on the plan, that defines the 3 shops on King Street and rear parking, into the model! So this again denies any vision or consideration of a ” whole site” solution. My briefer tried to explain that it is a whole site consultation as it looks at the relationship of this block to the other parts. But that rules out any consideration of change to the other parts or taking an overview.

    With such a constraints this scheme will never work and will only result in proposals which are unsuitable, unacceptable and inappropriate in planning terms, as they will necessarily be too great in mass regardless of the style adopted. Only bringing the whole site play will unlock the opportunities for a coherent, low rise, low tech scheme which can offer adequate amounts of pleasant open space for people and some reasonable amount of suitable commercial development and needed housing to make it financially sustainable, assuming there has to be full cost recovery of the £6m paid for the site and there’s no development profit to be had by the Council.

    When will this Council understand this which is blindingly obvious and pointed out more than once? And please, let’s not go round the “sanctity ” of Jubilee Gardens again. The trustees have a duty to the whole riverside amenity under the terms of the trust, and, surely, if something that is a greater enhancement to the riverside can be found then the will for change is greater than self defeating power of the trust to lock out all schemes for 100 years! Again, I’m sure Cllr Fleming would agree with her colleagues in Parliament who argue that, regardless of contrary legal opinion saying that Article 50 can only be invoked with agreement of Parliament, political will should just drive it through without such a vote. That’s real-politik.

  18. The 6 workshops are:
    Connectivity to and use of the River
    Retail and Business
    Community Space and Diamond Jubilee Gardens
    Parking / Access / Cycling
    Configuration of the site

    The important ones are ‘Viability’ (Thursday, 18 Aug 18:30 to 20:30 – St Mary’s Church Hall – I have just booked a space) and ‘Parking / Access / Cycling’ (in reality just Parking – Monday 12 Sep 6.30 to 8.30 – St Mary’s Church Hall).

    These were the two insoluble difficulties that sank the River Centre scheme and may yet sink this scheme.

  19. twickerman

    Hi twickenhamalive,

    I’m not being overgenerous, I’m merely reporting what the consultation document offers us: parking options one & two as I described them in my comment below.
    These two options both have 87 parking spaces (presumably this is the existing number in the area) PLUS underground parking for the new development of 40 flats + businesses. I challenge why the flats should have ANY parking (apart from disabled) when they are in the town centre on excellent bus and train routes.

    If you take a look at the Configuration of the Site page, El Brute make their financial objectives clear: they ‘would like the project to be cost neutral’ i.e. sales of properties and rental to pay back the purchase of King St and the development costs. So much for investing in Twickenham!
    40 flats seems to be the magic payback number. 40 was the number in the first Terry scheme, 40 again was the number presented to the ‘panel of residents’ last month in Terry’s second scheme (ref Martin Habill). This second scheme is clearly lurking just under the table, ready to be tweaked and regurgitated post-consultation.

    The image ‘King Street Could Look Like This’ shows an increase in height from 3 to 4 stories which corresponds with reports of bulking up the King Street block to offset a small reduction in size of the Embankment block (aka the colosseum).

    So for the foreseeable future it looks as if we are stuck in the rut of the Fleming/Terry housing estate with a massive car park on one prominent side or other.

    Unfortunately, as we all fear, very little is going to change as a result of this sham consultation. But we must continue to demand proper consultation for a more imaginative lower impact riverside development.

    • Yup! That’s it in one.

    • A thought for those of us who are concerned that the Council is just pretending to listen while ramming the Terry design down our throats: answering the questions on the questionnaire forms legitimise the choice of Terry as our architect. A friend has just worked his way through the online consultation and has for the most part written ‘no comment’ or ‘irrelevant’. When the question refers to the development he has asked “what development? The people of Twickenham have not yet chosen”.

  20. twickerman

    It looks as if the latest consultation is giving us two main options:
    1. An oversized development of 40 flats + retail + a massive car park on Water Lane.
    2. An oversized development of 40 flats + retail + a massive car park on The Embankment.
    All other consultation points appears to be relatively trivial.

    It seems very strange that Fleming & Terry should be presenting this as primarily a car parking scheme without having conducted a traffic/parking survey and needs analysis!

    Why don’t they consider:
    3. Moving the parking where it will have the least negative impact i.e. along the service road.
    4. Minimising parking by not providing any for new flats (as per station) so existing residents can use the underground car park.

    Ideally they should start again, once they have completed their various studies, with a new better informed brief for a lower impact scheme that has considerably more open space on the river side of the service road.
    But alas they’ve already done too much digging and wasted far too much money on poor out of his depth Francis Terry.

    • twickenhamalive

      Hi Twickerman. I think you are being overly generous as I don’t think there are any options on offer by the council. The council is still moving towards a Terry housing estate whatever we say. For a proper consultation we should see the revised Terry plans alongside other options. Otherwise what are we consulting about? We gave our opinion at the last ‘consultation ‘ so what is going to change now? We are going to say the same thing

    • aristophanes

      Twickerman suggests putting the parking on the service road. If you walk along the service road and take into account the boundary of the demise of Twickenham Riverside Trust and the extent of the property at the rear of King Street, you will see this solution is quite out of the question.

    • twickerman

      The boundaries would need to move but something needs to change to avoid the massive unsightly riverside car park options being presented to us.

    • aristophanes

      Twickerman: I can assure you that the boundaries of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens cannot be moved. The King St properties are not owned by the Council, so they have no control over them.
      It is a non-starter.

  21. The above item has now been re-worked to take account of the next phase being more consultation rather than revealing revised plans.

    • Thank you. Some people mistakenly think RAG has won. We haven’t. I urge great caution because you will be taking part in an exercise that is based around the work of Francis Terry.
      There will still be a block and the Council will still sell off to a developer. Fill in the pretty little cards with great care. This is another ‘consultation’ by another name.
      Also make sure the Council’s consultation hours are adjusted to our summer holiday period.
      RAG continues to guard against duplicity

  22. In an earlier post Martin Habell points out that the idea of a town square first arose in 2002 – a long time ago. But unusually for him Martin is incorrect.

    As evidence I refer to an article carried in the Richmond and Twickenham Times that reported on a public meeting in St Mary’s Church Hall on 1st March 1983. It states that Mr Muir’s piece de resistance was a scheme opening up the riverside around a town square A shopping arcade would lead on to the square which itself would be lined with small shops and cafes, The town square becomes the heart of the development said Mr Muir

    I’m still promoting the town square and so I’ve been working up my KMW submission that was one of the unsuccessful schemes in the Council’s competition to show how we could improve links to Jubilee Gardens. Disappointed that the developed scheme we were promised by the Council is not on show in the pop up shop that opened today I’ve given everyone something to look at by published an animation of my developed KMW scheme “ We Love Twickenham” on YouTube. Please have a look on:

    • Thanks John. We will shorty be posting this design on our website along with the other designs that must be made available to as many people as possible.

  23. martin Habell

    Well there I was at 1 minute to 11 this morning outside the pop up shop. A little queue of campaigners eager for the message . At 11 sharp the door flew open and we though Lord True would step out and bless us but instead we fell into a wall of hot air. No not the council chamber…but a shop full of council employees and councillors gasping and fiddling with electric fans. A new dawn is offered folks.We shall shape the future. I saw individual posters addressing viability, traffic, community space and connectivity.All those things we had been asking about.These were to be the epistles to shape our destiny.I was asured the old Terry Scheme has been set aside.(Make a note of that…might need the record later). Yes I too could join and believe. I could sign up for any workshop for each subject. Eagerly I went down on my knees, not to worship Pamela Fleming, but to log in, there and then to get tickets for the workshops. I sat huddled in a corner and wrote my thoughts on a coloured coded card (4 colurs eh? what do they mean….yes they will know where I live and my rubbish may not be collected) and I was invited to pin my thoughts on a wall, or if rather shy, drop it in a box.
    Then, back home to see I had won, my tickets had arrived by e mail. Pity the first workshop (yes the one about money!!!) is in august when I am on holiday….I am sure no one else is.

  24. twickenhamalive

    Susan, I support the aim of RAG to have greater community participation in the design and content of Twickenham Riverside, but I (Berkley Driscoll) am somewhat perturbed by your post. You refer to our Lido proposal as “The latest lido scheme is rather more of a private club though”, which is incorrect and parrots the disinformation put out by Pamela Fleming. Our Lido scheme actually offers more public access, public facilities, public space and views to the river than any other current proposal. I thought that RAG was supposed to be unbiased, apolitical and non-partisan; however, your posted negative view of the Lido proposal while RAG is seemingly promoting the Twickenham Riverside Village Group’s housing estate makes me question this. So far nearly 3,000 people have signed a petition in favour of the Lido and their views should not be ignored. It is bad enough that Pamela Fleming has so rudely and summarily dismissed these views, but I would expect RAG to welcome the input and views of the community.

    • Teresa Read

      This is an invitation to meet Susan as she clearly needs to know about the lido. In the same way that i gave her the Brief and the Richmond House booklet I would like to give her the correct information about the lido

    • The inclusion of the lido project is part of RAG’s petition.

    • Teresa Has my personal email Berkely – she is most welcome to contact me – as usual.

    • anonymouse

      It seems that Susan Burningham is now supporting the Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group’s lacklustre plans to develop the dull old HANDS building. Could this have anything to do with TRTG members on RAG?

      Give me a lido any day or a villagey development with more riverside open space than Henry Harrison has offered.

    • Susan B supports the RAG petition and wants all designs to be seen and discussed by as many people as possible.

      The RAG petition reads:
      “We, the undersigned, reject the single option approach to consultation on Twickenham Riverside currently favoured by Richmond Council. We call upon the Council to re-open the consultation to include the designs paid for by Borough Council tax payers yet rejected by the Council, along with all other proposals such as a riverside park, a town square and the lido.
      This is the people’s Riverside and we demand a genuine say in its future.”

  25. martin Habell

    Would you believe that since the Lido closed there have been 23 “official” council schemes for the site in 5 competitive processes. Freedom of information enquiries show each competition process costs around £600,000 up until the point a builder might start and since 2007 the council has spent something like £2m. Remember that for Council read all political parties not simply the current incumbants. So we are all to blame.
    It seems the idea of a Town Square originated officially in the Council’s Development Control Committee revised brief 2002 wanting “opportunities for town square and outside performance”
    There are means to prevent awkward and unsuccesful relationships: It’s interesting to learn that the Council Urgency Committee terminated its arrangement with Alsop Zogolovitch’s after it had produced 2 schemes and appointed architects MacCormac Jamieson Pritchard instead. with Dawnay Day as developers. So perhaps there is sense in the “two strikes and you’re out” approach. Francis Terry has failed twice and many would say a third chance is foolhardy with public money.
    So why the pursuit of so much building?
    The Dawnay scheme had 40 flats across the whole lido site and was even then criticised by officers as “overdevelopment”. That gives you some measure of the impact of the the 40 that have been proposed on just the remaining portion now.The Planning Officer’s report on the Dawnay scheme: stated reservations over how scale and character affected the quality of the Conservation Area and proximity to the river. Familiar?
    It seems we have a groundhog day as far as the riverside is concerned and an extraordinary amount of money wasted. Time and again the evidence demonstrates the people want a modest scheme. This was first mentioned by the Twickenham Steering Group 20 years ago. When you look at the appeal of Jubilee gardens, perhaps a modest building up at King street on pillars over a market in the traditional english form, and the rest as park would please people the most, refurbishing the simple Hands building into
    a community facility.

    • There is already a planning proposition in to Council about just that. Martin Stearman and his Twickenham Terrace Group (which has a Diamond Jubilee Gardens trustee on its steering group). We are still trying to find out why the Planning department has failed to acknowledge receipt of the plans. Simple, modest design. It has a 1930’s feel about it and is community centric. Also it provides the Eel Pie Islanders with the necessary parking. It does not however promise to yield an income for the Council – no luxury flats, so investments possibilities for developers.

  26. Randolph104

    While I have lived here since 1994, I had begun to lose track of the various arguments which I THINK originally centred on the restoration of a swimming pool. So I just googled twickenham riverside and came up with:

    I recommend it as an aide memoire. The sheer longevity stretches credulity and I think that Francis Terry may be the 3rd, 4th or 5th set of architects to “have a go” . Personally, I like views of water and the River Thames is the best it gets round here and any scheme that does not include a view of the River from the main thoroughfare misses the point. As for the current one it needs to be centred looking at it from the River, (probably discounted at the point LBRUT decided which 3 properties to buy), rather than off to the right. But what is the point of an exhibition WITHOUT a model of the proposal?

    The whole thing is a sorry mess but that’s politics – Liberal or Tory, as long as they can blame each other, the voters can go hang. Heaven knows how we get out of this situation: too may egos not willing to admit they might be/have been wrong, too many careers dependent on the next move, too much money already spent, red lines, lines in sand etc etc. Hey, how about a LBRUT Referendum? All too depressing………

    • The modern story goes back to 1923 when Richmond House was demolished and the land left to Twickenham. The people wanted a community allotment, the Council a municipal centre. Luckily the Tata family gave the council York House and the land was saved for a while. And so in the era of lidos the Twickenham lido was built. And very popular too.
      The latest lido scheme is rather more of a private club though, not quite in the tradition of restored 1930’s lidos which are beautiful. I love the idea of water reflection. However we fighting now to avoid a landgrab – they will sell to developers. History comes full circle.
      I agree by the way on the referendum issue – perhaps in the autumn when we know what we are voting for and when we’ve recovered from the shock of the EU vote.

  27. This week’s print RTT has: ‘Model ditched – New Riverside consultation starts but £19k design scrapped’ (p 1); a letter from Rik Williams (p 16); and ‘We are not fools, a letter from Sally Kermond (p 17).

  28. martin Habell

    I attended an advance meeting in June made up of a panel of residents to view the revised Francis Terry scheme.I was apalled by the shear size of the proposal and little obvious change. I published a report examining the scheme based on my experience as an architect, as if it was a normal planning application submission by an independent party. It was circulated to councilors.The proposal had many serious deficiencies that simply would not be allowed were it not a Council scheme: Projecting high levels of noise over Eel Pie Island by acting as a sound mirror, flats overlooking the play area (not permitted these days),Loss of all the trees on the east side of Jubilee Gardens, overshadowing of homes in Water Lane, winding route from King Street to Jubilee gardens past lifts and kitchens,
    In fact the quality of life of residents in Water Lane was to be seriously damaged: as there was no town square the only possible place for the market was on the widened Water Lane, not a pleasant prospect to have crowds outside your windows and doors and no traffic access,market one day rugby crowds the next.
    On learning there would be 40 flats I tried to discover what was driving that number, and feared that the Council’s ambition was to maximise sales…the worry being for example that investors would grab riverside properties and not occupy them,(as they have done elsewhere),,,,with the net effect of no contribution to the Borough housing problem or the town social life.The maximising of housing for profitseemed confried on learning that the sacrifice of a floor beside the river to meet earlier criticism had been added on top of everything else at the High Street. My own personal view is that if there is to be housing then 25 or so small flats for the elderly would be the maximum, appropriately near shops and park and freeing up family houses elsewhere near schools etc.Such flats would have the lowest traffic impact.
    I found it inexplicable that the scheme ignored so many protective Policies that developers normally have to follow, from Conservation Area requirements to the Thames Landscape Strategy.All these call on careful study of setting and the role of nature. The historic role of Twickenham as a working waterfront with appropriate architectural style had been ignored.
    There has been an attempt to over intellectualise the proposals with spurious references to “palladian architecture” (which it is not) but the simple fact is that people understand immediately when something is incongruous, inappropriate and, I am afraid to say, greedy.
    We have again and again pointed to the message from so much consultation (and all credit to RAG on this) that all people really want is green space,a town square of some kind and the opportunity to bring Jubilee Gardens down to the river with something modest up on King Street . My very great worry is that the Council seemed to be indulging in exceptionalism: that rules it applies to others, do not apply to itself. This has to be addressed because it is at the core of the way we live in this country and I pity the poor planning officers being required to support something that would not normally pass professional scrutiny.
    In being shown the latest Francis Terry design we were informed that it would be exhibited with model and fly through in a few weeks. So there was no time to incorporate any suggestions the panel had. This did not go down at all well.
    The last thing we wanted to be was merely a cosmetic exercise.
    So, following report and protest and a cry to “pauseand think” we have had sudden changes of description of action and a change of personel in the council dealing with the scheme. That is excellent news but there is a need for a lot of trust building to restore credibility.
    However there needs to be real engagement of people not lip service to “consultation. As a start the other competing architects should have their proposals placed side by side with Francis Terry’s work and the people should judge for themselves what they want and like.Simple to do.
    Daring? yes. But if the designer is worth his salt he will leap at the chance, to prove his worth as should the Council.
    Come on, we are building for future generations and it should be fun, not a war.

    • Martin, may I remind you of RAG’s petition. We do not renege on our supporters who have rejected the Terry design and who want to see all other designs and consider alternatives. 3000 people have made this very clear.
      For our press statement please see our website:

    • twickerman

      Hear hear Martin.

      I’d be interested to know who the other residents were on the panel, and what their reactions were to the tweaked Terry scheme?

    • Riverside Voter

      Can I just say thank you Martin Habell for taking the time to undermine and highlight the issues with the benefit of professional expertise, and shoving the supertanker off course a degree or two, and for letting the rest of Twickenham have the accurate background. Now we just have to try and find our way through all the misinformation and spin to make our views heard in this latest step in the process. I can’t quite believe it has taken this to make them realise their expensive model of the predicted tweaks to the Terry confection was going to inflame local opinion further. (and thanks also to the Riverside Action Group of course)

      Anyone else heard that Lord True plans to step down before the next election and take the blame with him for all he has and still aims to achieve so his party can campaign on a fresh we know we didn’t listen enough ticket? Well I made the mistake of voting for the Riverside Counsellors once, twice in one case. Not again. At least we don’t have to look upon the Gloriana amongst his works, lets hope no Terry not palladian carbuncle on the Riverside either.

    • Thanks Riverside Voter – grateful for your comments. We need to be very careful if we are to make sure the supertanker is wrecked. There’s a lot of professional PR ‘listening’ going on right now. Certainly the Council has realised it is in a storm, but I don’t yet see a willingness yet to ditch the tweaked Terry version. It’s maybe worth people knowing that Cllr Fleming swore all Panel Members to secrecy.
      If you want to contact me through our RAG email I can send you a paper on the various reasons there are for objection (using some of Martin’s stuff and RIBA updates):
      One or two of the objections might just be helpful in the pop-up shop.
      I am sure Martin will agree £19K on an architectural model is dirt cheap – accurate models which the Council has a duty to present, cost in the region of £50-£100K because they must be be precise about dimensions, window positioning, tree placement etc. if Cllr. Fleming is planning to show a £19K version then we must all ask questions about accuracy of information.
      Lord True? well he showed a certain impatience with Cllr Fleming at the Council meeting on the 5th July when she was, as usual floundering. He had to shove a piece of paper under her nose. Stepping down? the rumour is he would like to spend more time in the Lords (he is a Brexiter); he has probably lost patience with us Twick’nam folk. We are healthily un-compliant and have a habit of asking why – goes back to Twickenham’s association with the Levellers. His successor – there are rumours….

    Following the press release from Cllr. Pamela Fleming, Cabinet Member for Environment, Business and Community on the subject of Twickenham’s Riverside, the Riverside Action Group (RAG) welcomes the Councillor’s apparent effort to engage with local residents in the form of ‘workshops’.
    While RAG hopes all residents will respond to the invitation to participate in the workshops, RAG notes that the Council statement reads: ‘Richmond Council and Francis Terry have been considering all views and revising the original proposals…’ There is no reference to the other designs submitted by the other architects and paid for through local taxes. Nor is there a proposal to allow the public the opportunity to scrutinise the work and motivation behind all the architects’ work.
    RAG deeply regrets that the workshops described are to be presided over by Council officers rather than independent professionals and are to be curtailed to a limited number of days and hours between 19th July and 30th July. RAG reminds the Council its methods are already under scrutiny by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
    RAG expects that any discussions with members of the public are independently recorded and evaluated. Without this future Council claims cannot be validated.
    It is regretted that the Council persists in its disingenuous claim that 3,000 people took part in the 2015 consultation. 3000 people may or may not have visited the pop-up shop (there is no record), barely more than 700 were sufficiently interested in the Francis Terry design to complete the questionnaire. Of the 700, 88% rejected the Francis Terry design and requested the Council to look at alternatives. The Council ignored residents.
    In the light of the Council announcement RAG will continue to campaign for residents’ rights to have a say in their riverside and will be providing further information and insights into riverside designs in order to fully inform public debate.

  30. queby

    I’m not sure what I expected from the Riverside design, Certainly not the design that’s been shown. It looks like a bit of Disneyworld plonked down in Twickenham. Completely out of place. I thought maybe more brick, glass and wood, an opportunity to do something modern and striking. . I can’t imagine how anyone on the Council could have thought this was acceptable.

  31. Update: latest news from the Council is that we won’t see new designs at the pop up, just more consultation. Actual designs are to come later.

    Curiouser and curiouser. We will update the article soon to reflect this.

    • Sally

      What exactly are we being consulted about ,then? Just on generalities about that space which will be used to back up the design when it is revealed? Say it isn’t so!

    • aristophanes

      Here is part of the actual wording of the Council’s Press Release:
      “Rather than present specific designs, the next stage of the process, beginning on 19 July, will offer opportunities for an ever deeper conversation. This includes a succession of workshops with residents on aspects of the planned investment in Twickenham’s future on the site”

    • well it looks like an opportunity to bring all your designs along….. 🙂

    • Sally

      “Opportunities for even deeper consultation? ” What the Hell is “even deeper consultation? “Which PR firm is working overnight on this? They should be getting extra for intensive reframing.
      This is so enraging it’s hard to know where to start. No revised plans to be shown. What , then ,are we being consulted on? They have made it clear they intend to build the Terry design, housing etc included. How stupid do they think residents are? Do they think we will be so thrilled and flattered at being consulted, -in a very deep way – that we won’t notice that we are being consulted on a. fait accompli ?
      These dingaling consultations will be used for several purposes. To present themselves as having paid attention to public opinion-even though it has been admitted they fully intend to build the Terry flats . It will also take a long time , which looks good. It allows the council to reframe objections and neutralise them.
      Let’s say you are in such a discussion group, a horrible thought.. You might say that you loathe the Terry design. “Ah well his new design will be different.” Your every objection will be reframed into a misunderstanding on your part or an opportunity for a token tweak .
      It’s like.being served with a rotting steak , sending it back and it coming out with a new sauce. Worse, being deeply consulted on what sauce you want-with the rotting steak.

    • Dr NHS

      Call me paranoid, but it looks to me like there are decidedly reduced ‘consultation’ hours and a truncated ‘consultation’ time and, crucially, nothing there to actually comment on. This removes the problem of there being no ‘yes or no’ option as there is no design to say yes or no to.
      Instead, we are asked to reiterate what we want and whatever we say (which will be pretty much what we all said before) will be interpreted as breathless enthusiasm for whatever infinitesimally tweaked version of the existing plan they have come up with.
      I suggest the responses should be in writing (that, at least, has been promised and might come to pass) and should consist of remarks to the effect of ‘we don’t want the current Palladian pile of any variation thereof foisted upon us but instead want a proper, open, competition where the results are decided by us and not Lord True and Pamela Fleming’

  32. twickerman

    Aha, a change of tack from the Council.

    Call me a cynic, but it seems they are trying to ‘listen’ for (cherry-pick) any positive feedback to try to justify the minor design changes they’ve made, but are afraid to show us.

    It would be so much simpler to abandon the current colosseum design and start afresh with an open and unbiased consultation.

    • You have it in one. They are trying to look as if they are consulting. As devious as ever and not to be trusted one millimetre.

    • In fact they have circumnavigated compulsory planning guidelines and have to tread water while they go back to the drawing board.
      As well as questioning due process start asking about sales to developers. Thre Diamond Jubilee Gardens are protected but the rest is up for grabs. Remember Save Our Riverside in 2009?
      Well we still need to do just that.

  33. At the last pop-up shop, while anger raged and the Christmas lights were turned on, I overheard a brief exchange between a certain councillor and a certain architect, which went like this. ‘It’ll still be fine – we’ll just make it one storey lower and Water Lane wider’.
    Be afraid.

  34. Sally

    It would be difficult to find a resident unconnected to the council who believes that a vast blob of luxury flats equals a town square. It was grimly funny at the council meeting to hear Lord True quaver “This is not selling off Twickenham riverside to developers”. No?
    The problem begins with the consultation document. We have had thie following confirmed by the company the council use-and have the emails!

    The council write the description of the development. Hence it is described as a wonderful thing, just what everybody wants, meets local demand etc. The architect is described as just the person and the Councillors as jolly clever for finding him.

    The development will be portrayed as flatteringly as possible. In the last attempt this included the tree in front ridiculously elongated to several times its actual height to make the development look less hulikng.
    The questions, also council supplied ,will include:
    1.Generalities most people would agree with , which are then interpreted as support for the development (” it is important for Twickenham to have a vibrant riverside space”)
    2.Invitations to comments on aspects of the design with the design as a given ,. (” Do you approve of the bike racks outside the development?”)
    3.Responses will certainly not be yes or no but rather degrees of good. (“How wonderful do you think this is, very wonderful? A bit wonderful?)

    At the council meeting Pamela Fleming refused to say if residents would be allowed to give a yes/no to the block of flats. She doesn’t seem to see any problems giving one option which is nothing like what was wanted and planning on going ahead and building it no matter what residents say. She is just figuring out what sized bone to throw us as part of the build.
    There is no point in “listening” ,her oft repeated mantra ,if you have decided you will be putting the flats up no matter what.
    Anybody complaining about RAG please bear in mind they don’t have thousands to throw at this. The council have. They will be printing out flattering posters and leaflets describing the development as wonderful etc etc. All local services, Libraries and council buildings are required to display this propaganda. We really are up against a lot. Almost not worth bothering. Unless you love the riverside, love that area and don’t want a block of housing put there!

  35. Sue

    I can’t imagine any alterations that will make this Pseudo-Regency design acceptable.

  36. Carole

    And where is the pop-up shop – or is that a secret?

  37. Before everyone becomes enraged by the Council’s pop up shops consultation period RAG is pressing for extended dates and hours. RAG is also working to ensure residents are given a broader view of the issues involved and the other methods of addressing the renovation of our riverside. You’ll certainly hear from us during the summer – I’ll be taking my bucket and spade no further than the Twickenham riverbank.
    The RAG open public meeting is two days after the bank holiday. Most people will be back at work by then.

  38. RAG meeting 31st August. Bang in the middle of the holiday season