Twickenham High Street Update: Summer 2016

The dog days of summer. A burning yellow sun pounds Twickenham with its unrelenting heat, turning green to brown, turning pavements soft underfoot and turning minds to the great question of whether any new cafes or charity shops have opened recently. OK, so our summer hasn’t been quite like that but we will attempt to shed some rays of twickerati style sunlight onto the matter of changes on our high street.

Remember Iso Sushi? Perhaps you blinked and missed it. Actually that’s a little harsh as it lasted for about two years. Still not got it? It was a sushi bar on York Street that opened at around the same time of Ke Sushi on London Road, long before the 2015 BBQ rib invasion. Anyway Iso Sushi has now gone and in its place we have Umi, a new Japanese restaurant. Could do well? Maybe. But didn’t there used to be a Japanese place a bit further up York Street? Either way, that was then and this is now so good luck to Umi.

Umi. Japanese on York Street Twickenham

Umi. Japanese on York Street Twickenham

Kerla Melon, the south Indian place on Heath Road has closed and been replaced by Kochi, a new restaurant offering… South Indian Dining. Word is that the chef, or chefs, used to work at Pallavi which was one establishment that did actually have a decent run in Twickenham. One to try? Why the devil not? And if you don’t fancy that there’s always Little Mumbai, the almost-as-new Indian a few doors down. We’re not sure if any other restaurants are about to be replaced by similar restaurants but we’ll sure as hell let you know if we find out.
Oh, and as pointed out in the comments below,  Taste of Mogul on York Street is looking a tad closed at the moment. 

Kochi, South Indian Dining

Kochi, South Indian Dining

We heard that the Mulberry Tree pub will be ending its short-lived tenure on Richmond Road and is to become some kind of French bistro. If so we wish it well, especially as that space has proved tricky at sustaining businesses over the years. To those who say, “Bring back the Mongolian Barbecue” we simply say, ‘move with the times’.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the My Local, formerly Morrison’s M-Local has closed down. It was part of a national chain so whether it was a Twickenham thing or a ‘rest of the UK’ thing we just don’t know but please don’t suggest bringing back Blockbuster! 

If you’re one of the people beginning to panic about the Great Twickenham Coffee Drought we bring you news that help is on the way in the form of a new Costa Coffee. It’s on London Road where the Mailboxes / Princess Alice Hospice Charity shops used to be. Sort of opposite Cafe Nero, The Press Room and the new Caffe di Roma. You get the idea don’t you? In other words, stop fretting, you are not going to run out of bloody coffee!

Costa Coffee, London Road, Twickenham

Costa Coffee, London Road, Twickenham

And as for Princess Alice, well she’s moved around the corner into Heath Road to the place where Spirited Wines was before it closed for what we now call a “Twickenham Refurb”.

Moved: Princess Alice Hospice Shop

Moved: Princess Alice Hospice Shop

And talking of the “Twickenham Refurb”, with High Road Auctions now shut after its own ‘refurb’ we put the question to you,”What should happen to this space now?” No doubt some developers might be thinking that turning it into flats would be a nice little earner and it’s true that we don’t really need more retail. So what then? We asked the question on Twitter and the idea of a Citizens Advice Bureau was put forward… by Richmond CAB. Very droll. How about a food hall? Or a cycle shop and cafe for all those mamils clogging up our streets? Or a yoof focused emporium with concessions selling clothes and vinyl (yes, it’s back you know). Or a mini food-court? Or even the long awaited cheese shop? Would any of them ever work or are they all destined to fail? It’s a tough gig but someone out there must know the answer. Maybe that person is you? Or should we be focused on getting King Street fully occupied first, and here we’re thinking the old Laverstoke shop, for example which, as you will recall, was a coffee shop for a little while not so very long ago. And so it goes.

TTFN

87 Comments

Filed under High Street Updates, Local Issues & News

87 responses to “Twickenham High Street Update: Summer 2016

  1. Gladiator

    Re: referendum electorate. Can you further tell us if your roll will cover eg the whole of Twickenham, just a few wards, whole borough, etc?

    • Thank you for your interest. The information concerning the referendum has been provided.
      If you have personal concerns that you or a member of your household (aged 17 years and over) may have been left off the referendum list because your details do not appear on the published electoral roll, do let us know at riversideaction@gmail.com
      Deadline 12 midnight 13th September 2016

    • aristophanes

      A little bit more transparency would seem appropriate. An analogous referendum, namely that held by the Save Our Riverside group in June 2009, according to the local newspapers, had an electorate of just over 4000 residents, from the area The Green to Marble Hill Park and from the River to the railway line. Is RAG’s electorate similar to this, or larger/smaller?

  2. whiteknight

    Replying to Dr Burningham: I think you will find that the BID Manager is not a Council employee. She is employed by the BID Board, which is funded by a levy on businesses

  3. A reminder to all who care about the Twickenham Riverside and who have not yet registered to take part in the Riverside Referendum please let us have your postal address (not email) by 11th September. email us on riversideaction@gmail.com
    We are registered with the ICO for data protection.
    The papers will come through your post boxes the week of 26th September following the public meeting in the Clarendon Hall on the 24th September (doors open 9.45).

    • anonymouse

      Don’t you think it’d be a good idea to keep your referendum open until after your public meeting on 24 Sept?

    • Thanks for the comment, but no our timing has been worked out.

    • anonymouse

      If you get more than 1000 responses I guess the timing’s not an issue. If not…?

    • Gladiator

      From what you write it seems that your database of voters is only those who have registered with you. Is this correct? Will this be a representative sample of the borough’s residents? Can you tell us what the question is?

    • Thank you for the question. We have purchased the published electoral roll. As many people are not on the published register we have issued an open invitation to Borough residents who wish to take part. It is a simple matter for the ERS to check we do not have duplicate recipients.
      We live in a democracy and are doing all in our power to ensure we have Borough wide opinions. Councillors of all political complexions are welcome to register.
      The question will be revealed when the ballot paper arrives in the post on or about the 28th September. This is to avoid any pre lobbying on behalf of any group or individuals including RAG members. The vote is anonymous.
      We are following the advice of the ERS in all respects and are registered with the data protection commission: ICO. The data will be destroyed following the ballot.
      All are welcome to attend our open public meeting on 24th September in the Clarendon Hall, York House. Doors open at 9.45am, the meeting starts at 10.15am. There is wheel chair access.

  4. Discovered the reason there were no retailers at the workshop last week: they weren’t told it was taking place.
    Perhaps the Council needs to hold a workshop that allows retailers in Twickenham to make their opinions known. How much do we pay the town manager?

    • aristophanes

      The workshops have been advertised on the council website, for instance. If people are interested, they should find out what is going on. Was anyone specifically “told” about these ? I certainly was not, but I, and a lot of other people found out about these workshops.

    • We have an organisation called BID. It charges retailers to belong. It is run by a Council employee. We pay her salary. We should expect her to inform retailers about retail related events in Twickenham. Please do not provide the Council with excuses for non dissemination of information.

  5. illiad1

    Sooooo, does anyone know when/ where Boots and Santander is moving??? I will guess none of the employees know… 😦

  6. whiteknight

    In response to Twickerman’s comment of 1 Sept: the figure of Β£1,000,000 you refer to is the rental value of the WHOLE BLOCK ie 1 – 33 King St, NOT 1,1a and 1b by themselves

  7. Add M & Co to the list of retailers leaving Twickenham.
    Anyone read the Council research on retail in Twickenham Town? Apparently we are en par with Kingston. (Jamaica?)

    • aristophanes

      Hardly surprising that M&Co (MacKay’s Stores Ltd) is moving out of 1A King st. Their lease expires this year, and the Council is hardly likely to renew it, in the circumstances

    • twickerman

      The Council were earning Β£1,000,000/year from the three King Street stores they purchased, so its not surprising they want to replace them like for like, only with three storeys of flats above.
      Presumably, that’s why they’ve dropped the proposed ‘New Town Square for Twickenham’ in favour of a ‘New Heart’ to pump cash into the Council’s coffers.

  8. twickerman

    The latest Twickenham station plans are for work to start at beginning of November.

    Temporary ticket office (2yrs+) will be built in car park along with scaffold bridge up & over to platforms 4/5.
    When that’s done the old ticket office and bridge will be demolished.

    Expect lots of weekend closures, replacement buses, lots of noise and possibly further delays.

  9. Dorothy

    I had a look on a few commercial estate agent websites earlier.

    It is sad to see so many sites are on the market.

    Steers is a newly updated property now To Let.

    Kamares is closing down.

    Dry cleaners next to johnsons shoes closing down.

    Ben Thah is on the market.

    The baquette shop next to foxtons on the market.

    Very sad to see the high street in such a state of decline.

    • That’s why the council wsnts even more retail units. Pure logic!

    • Sally

      It is not good for residents. Every weekend the streets are thronged with shoppers desperate to purchase, every day hundreds of locals walk through town taking children to and from school yet we all so often have to drive off and shop elsewhere.
      We really need a Dyas, and a clothes shop, which sells practical items such as pants and socks. Woolworths is mourned by dozens of parents. We certainly have enough empty shops to chose from.
      Even Richmond, home of the more-money-than-sense shop has a Dyas!
      Interesting these hot days. How we would have all loved a lido, a pretty fountain, a leafy town square with riverside views in the centre of town. I have not yet met a single resident begging for high rise riverside flats and retail units in the riverside site. I would be more able to find a resident wanting to use the riverside site as a llama sanctuary. Yet the spin is that Terry’s lump of flats and shops will be the answer to our dreams.

    • I agree with Sally. There’s not much call for an over developed site along the riverside whether it’s Terry’s flats, Fleming’s open public space (aka shops and even more cafes) or endless business units designed by the Eel Pie Village developer Henry Harrison.
      Very grateful to Hugh Brasher (Trustee of Diamond Jubilee Gardens) who wants to enjoin the Diamond Jubilee Gardens with the whole site and extend a real river landscape to Marble Hill Park.
      A place that people can enjoy and get exercise. Let the businesses and retailers stay on the High Street – and yes, a Dyas would be great along with some simple practical shops for everyday needs. How many shops will be in the Twickenham station complex when it’s built – anyone know? Will this shift Twickenham’s shopping pattern to London Road?

  10. Jenny

    Anyone have any idea when Twickenham train station is being demolished? It was supposed to start July and we should be entering via Cole Park Road.
    Maybe it has been postponed because Whitton residents made such a noise about fixing their station that their’s got the go-ahead and fast-tracked. It’s nearly done!

  11. Jenny

    I’d like a gym in the centre of town – another reason to bring people in.
    And more affordable housing.
    When is the council going to sell the old building beside the shell garage for affordable flats? I don’t think they realise that we all use Amazon and don’t need retail spaces. We need more people living locally to support the community + to populate the pubs and restaurants.

    • illiad1

      well there is ‘anytime fitness’ right next to the station and travelodge.. might be expensive though…
      bu’sen fitness centre has been right next to KFC for years, if you want very basic and cheap.. πŸ™‚

    • illiad1

      http://www.bu-sen.co.uk/other/weights-gym/ can be used by non ‘Martial Arts’ members, you have to go in and ask… πŸ™‚

    • illiad1

      There is also ‘curves’ next to M&S ??
      Um, the council does not ‘think’.. it just looks at the money it can charge from retail spaces… Actually getting that money is NOT their problem.. (you will need to ask ‘finance’, not our department… πŸ˜› )

    • Steve P

      I belive the semi-derelict council office next to Shell is earmarked as the new home for the Eel Pie Museum.

    • Dorothy

      Sad to see Steers is now closed.

      Riley’s is closing down and opening up as a 24 hour gym according to Richmond planning. One person objected to the proposal.

    • Roger Williams

      Anytime Fitness by Regal House is nice, relaxed, and less expensive than most.

  12. Marion H

    Re. High Street Auctions closing. Not surprised it was a mess.
    A hardware store would be useful .

    • Dorothy

      High road auctions may have been a mess but the cafe had a 5 star hygiene rating and the food was awesome.

      Do you expect auction houses to be tidy like John Lewis?

  13. Ned

    Knock down that whole sorry row of shops between Santander and the kitchen shop (leave the old hall standing, of course). The shops can move to that length of York Road where businesses currently go to die (but there’s be a net loss in retail space, which is a good thing). Scrape everything away down towards the swimming pool site, and start again. Not Quinlan Terry neo-wotsit, but something open, with a view of the island and the river. Market square for farmers’ market, a place for the winos to sit and grumble, a few posh flats to pay for it all…
    Think big, Twickenham, think big.

  14. Hester Huttenbach

    For those of you who haven’t found out yet, the Rugby Store will be Hugo Oliver Bath Store who hopefully will do better than the one that was across the road. ShoeWorld is turning into a dentist and rumour has it that Blah Blah will also be a dentist! So now we only have two large empty units in Heath Road, the Auction House and the old My Local. Smaller units consist of Emilys in Water lane, the phone shop near to M&S, a unit next to the York Street Caff, one more in London road and the council pop up shop in Church street! Plus of course Laverstoke’s..So what next to add to the mix..We have 12 estate agents, 7 charity shops, 16 hairdressers and barbers, 20 places to have coffee, 15 Indian restaurants and 9 of an Oriental mix, 16 Italian, 8 sandwich outlets, 8 burger/kebab places and 14 public houses between Twickenham Green/York Street and London Road. This does not include the supermarkets that also allow you to eat and drink!!

  15. Maybe I’m old and confused, but I’m sure there used to be a Citizens Advice Bureau on part of that site before the auction place moved in…

  16. Phil K

    Whatever Happened To Taste of Mogul?

    • I would like to find out too. We have been customer for years and very sad to see it closed.

    • David B

      They changed the menu and lost too many of the distinctive dishes that made them worth a visit. I used to go solely for the Officer’s Chop. They stopped serving it: I stopped going.
      Though my absence is probably not solely responsible for their demise!

    • twickerman

      The Elvis Nights signalled the beginning of the end for the Mogul.

  17. Chris

    Has El Brute (or anyone else) done any kind of exit interview or research to find out why these businesses are failing? Is it a lack of footfall, high rates/rents or the wrong kind of businesses?

    • Robyn

      When scope closed it was through lack of footfall, even felt by the chain stores – the RWC didn’t change anything for them either. They said it was all very well promoting church street but the rest of the high street gets forgotten by Try Twickenham and the other Twickhyping groups

    • illiad1

      with the lack of high street bus stops, I will bet most people passing through don’t even realize there IS a riverside or Church street… :/

    • illiad1

      El brute does not do research… It just buys up land, gets the developer in… the developer does not bother who will buy their building, it pockets the cash and moves on… The estate agent sells this fantastic property, like it is a great site on the Riviera, with super facilities, waiting for a punter to *actually* believe their fanciful tale… :O

  18. Anonymous

    Good luck to Umi on York Street. My wife and I ate there on Saturday evening and enjoyed an excellent meal. The manager was very welcoming and offered us miso soup on the house whilst our meal was being prepared.

  19. twickerman

    Twickenham: Home of the Three Cs: Coffee, Curry and Charity.
    Or judging by the Riverside car park consultation: Car Centric Culture!

  20. Boss

    Anyone know what is going on with the Fox pub? It almost seems to be not bothering.

    • Chris

      I was told that it was getting new owners so maybe they’re running it down until the inevitable refurb…

    • Boss

      This is my concern. Are the owners running it down so it’s no longer viable as a business, then they can apply to turn it into flats? It’s one of the town’s oldest pubs.

    • Boss

      Rather than lazily clicking thumbs down, could you perhaps let on to the rest of us why we shouldn’t be concerned about the way the Fox is being run? The idea of this site is to help share information about the town we live in.

  21. Linda Ball

    What Twickenham really needs is a decent yarn and handicraft outlet. My knitting friends and I (and there are many of us! ) are fed up with travelling far and wide to purchase supplies. A proper Woolshop is becoming a rarity in the days of on-line ordering, but yarn is still a hands-on purchase! Our weekly Social Knitworking group was homeless after the closure of Tea Box in Richmond and the auction house would be a perfect site for a Craft Market. Retail outlets could be permanent residents, while the cafe area could be a focus for the more sociable crafters. It could hold a variety of drop-in workshops, teaching sessions, and allow those with a variety of skills to pass them on to others. The ideas are endless…. if I won the lottery I would certainly set up something myself!

  22. Hester B

    There also seems to be some activity in the long-empty Rugby Store which closed ages ago (2014 maybe?). Similar to the ‘Twickenham refurb’, the sign did say ‘closed due to relocation’. As a regular reader of the high street update, I would usually have been somewhat cynical about this, but at the time the Rugby World Cup was on the horizon and I really did think they meant it. But lo and behold, it never materialised. Instead I felt it was a bit of an embarrassment: rugby fans from around the world visiting Twickenham, only to find a still-branded empty England Rugby shop with only a collection of circus posters to show for itself.
    It’s a big double shop unit so it could potentially be divided into more than one premises going forward, but there doesn’t seem to be any indication just yet. Anyone got any update on this?

    • Adam

      I think the Rugby Store is now part of the stadium. They could have removed the branding during the World Cup as it did look rather depressing.

    • Hester Huttenbach

      Rugby Store is becoming Hugo Oliver bathrooms

  23. David B

    Suspect Laverstoke is fully fitted out with (expensive) butcher’s cold store etc, which might limit other potential uses.

    Kochis menu looks interesting.

    • Adam

      We tried Kochi. Very nice. We avoided the usual menu items and picked things with a South India theme. I’m sure we will return soon.

    • Boss

      The Pallavi was excellent and is well missed. If Kochi is by the same gang, then should be worth a look.

    • illiad1

      Just heard a ‘pop up’ charity shop by TAO will be using Laverstoke for while πŸ™‚
      Old fans of the previous shop will know what I mean .. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  24. Asya

    Any idea what’s happening with the space occupied by the closed ‘my local’ supermarket on Heath Road? I really wish another supermarket would take it over!

  25. Alison Taylor

    You bring a smile to our caffeine dehydrated faces. Thank you. X

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  26. I’m surprised Costa is opening there I would have bet on them taking one of the retail spaces under the new Brewery Wharf Apartments opposite the station!

  27. Sally

    I thought the auction house was terrific. A nice cafe and a very interesting range of things. It always seemed to be very well attended. I wonder what went wrong? There is a similar establishment in Old London Rd Kingston, cafe included which is popular and has been there many years .

    • Jonathan

      If the Twickenham salesroom had been a stand alone organisation (rather than a branch) it would probably still be open.

      Running a branch is more expensive as you need to start employing managers and supervisors. Plus the better stuff went to Chiswick which meant that less dealers would go to the Twickenham branch as it was perceived to be the poor relation.

      Speaking to some of the staff who transferred to the Chiswick branch after the closure – they mentioned the quality of the consignments brought in by the public was a lot better in Twickenham and it was the branch they ideally would have liked to keep open.

      Maybe there is an opportunity for someone else to launch a new auction house for Twickenham as demand has been proven (it was packed every week) but run by someone with greater financial discipline.

    • Dorothy

      The auction house may have been packed every Monday but very few people were actually buying items. The locals saw it as a night out to take over the place and abuse the seating.

      I lost count the number of times the auctioneer had to order people from the cafe seating area because they were not ordering anything to eat or drink.

      That said the auction house went bust with debts of 88k according to data at companies house.

  28. The new Indian Restaurant Little Mumbai on Heath Road is proving so popular that they are having to turn people away on the weekends.

    • Rufus McDufus

      Went there a couple of months ago. It is very good.

    • John

      Yes I’ve heard the same but I don’t recommend vlisiting restaurants unless they display their hygiene score in the window. If they don’t display they have something to hide.

      Thankfully the chains such as Costa, Starbucks etc have very high standards so they always display their ratings no problem.

    • Anonymous

      If the restaurant is new, it may be awaiting inspection. Rating scores can also be checked online here..

      http://ratings.food.gov.uk/