Council Publishes Twickenham Riverside Feedback

Last week El Brute published the feedback from its most recent exercise to listen to residents’ views on its ideas for Twickenham Riverside.  After getting roundly lambasted, damned, slated and panned after their initial publication, Richmond Council had another go at doing some listening to the locals (by which we mean trying to find support for continuing with their preferred course of action).

Water Lane car park - Twickenham riverside

Water Lane car park – Twickenham riverside

 

What do we know so far?  The Council’s chosen firm of architects was Q&F  Terry. Now that young Francis has separated  from his father’s firm, the Council’s preferred architect is Master F Terry. Same but different? Dunno.  What we do know is that just about everybody in Twickenham wants to see better use of the riverside site and that very few liked the original Terry design proposals – ill-suited architecture, too much residential development, large scale, no clear town square, too much parking by the river (or perhaps not enough depending on your point of view and where you live) were just some of the complaints. Cue more Council ‘listening’ but not much sign of any intention to go back to the drawing board for a wider ‘taking stock’.

And the new feedback publication says what? Well, it shows that everyone has a different view, of course! Will this be used to ‘prove’ that the original design was right all along and that a little bit of tinkering around the edges is all that is needed? Maybe. There’s certainly not much in the document about the commonly held view that the original Terry concepts missed the mark on many levels.  There was feedback in favour of a lido but then again there was lots of feedback on lots of things, including better joining up the site with the Diamond Jubilee Gardens. Good point dat. It’s got to be about the whole riverside.

Twickenham, Diamond Jubilee Gardens

Twickenham, Diamond Jubilee Gardens

One key phrase that recurs in the summary is “mixed opinions on” but some themes do emerge: the riverside as the focus for community activities, leisure and the elusive town square.  Commercial development at that end of the site to be limited to that which supports these aspects such as cafes and maybe a restaurant or two. Any retail focus would be more likely to be at the King Street end of the site. Parking remains as divisive as ever. And what’s missing? Barely a mention of plans for residential development on the site. Barely a mention of the ‘traditional’ architectural style that El Brute seem keep to proceed with although there is feedback on some design aspects: a preference for having several buildings rather than one; Twickenham already having a ‘mish mash’ of existing styles and a rather odd reference to “modern” local buildings that people like “such as Regal House”.  The subtext? Be careful what you wish for, maybe?

What next? The Council tells us that all of this feedback is being used to further shape the brief for the architects with revised “concept proposals” to be presented for further consultation towards the end of this month or the beginning of November.

Will El Brute reject its own Romano-regency plan? Can Terry turn it round for Twickenham? Are you bracing yourself for the next installment? All will be revealed in the next few weeks. Probably.

LINKS:
* El Brute Feedback link
* Riverside Action Group
* Richmond Council – Twickenham Rediscovered
* Richmond Council’s original proposals
* Twickenham lido plan

12 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

12 responses to “Council Publishes Twickenham Riverside Feedback

  1. A message from the Riverside Action Group to all who are concerned about the future of Twickenham’s Riverside.
    As you will most likely know the Council has engaged on its latest Church Street pop-up shop display of architectural concepts. There are three ‘concepts’, all by Francis Terry, the architect confirmed recently by Mandy Skinner, LBRuT’s Assistant Chief Executive (Customer and Partnerships) as the Council’s contracted architect.
    Proposals 1 and 2 are based upon the interpretation of the views gathered from just under 100 residents in the course of this summer’s workshops, the 3rd is a reworking of the original rejected design which the Council was forced to abandon after the last Council meeting in early July this year.
    When RAG steering group members met with Ms. Skinner and Cllr Fleming on Tuesday 15th November we asked what input the major stakeholders (Eel Pie and the Diamond Jubilee Garden Trustees) had in assembling the new Brief. The answer was none – interpretation had been carried out by Ms Skinner with Officers and Francis Terry.
    Although 93.9% of residents in the TW1 and TW2 postcodes have rejected Francis Terry as an architect for Twickenham and demanded an open competition, RAG urges you to visit the pop-up shop and consider the options presented by the Council.
    There is a form to complete. Please keep an open mind: are any of the designs what you and future generations want for Twickenham? If so, say so. Make sure your children and grandchildren have their say. If you reject all designs the only sections you need to complete are 1, 2 (reject all), 9, 10/11, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17.

    There are other important factors to be weighed that you may want to consider:
    1. the key economic return to the community;
    2. the control Council Officers are able to exert over any developers.
    A crucial matter RAG steering group members discussed with Cllr. Fleming and Ms Skinner was the ‘Appropriate mix of uses’.
    We remarked that the revised Brief highlights the crucial issue of defining a mix of uses (commercial, retail, community, residential, including affordable housing with space for creative workshops). One of our group reiterated the point he made at the July ‘Viability’ workshop in July that the mix of uses which emerges will be largely determined by the nature and structure of the funding brought to the development and the terms which are agreed between the Council and residents and then presented to the developer/s. At our recent meeting, Cllr Fleming was unable to say that the Council is looking for public money and sources of funding other than the developer/s. If, for example, the cultural heritage of Twickenham is to be reflected as stated in the developed brief, surely the Council must consider how community organisations/stakeholders could apply for Heritage Lottery Funding to supplement other sources of finance to the development. Without a mix of funding sources, the mix of uses is unlikely to be ‘appropriate’. The prime riverside space will inevitably be used for luxury residential flats instead of community space. In response, on behalf of the Council, Ms Skinner said that ‘red lines’ could be drawn to define specific uses in specific parts of the development site. That could be, for example, retail space fronting King Street, as compared with community space fronting the river. Our RAG spokesman expressed the view that it would be very useful for red lines to be agreed between the Council and residents, and made part of the developers’ contract. This would help the Council in its dealings with the developer. In parallel, applications could be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources of funding (e.g. for arts and sport) to complement the private funding of the site. In that way, the Council would be able to deliver the ‘appropriate mix of uses’.
    We asked whether the main economic-return for the Council will be the building fronting on to King Street and Water Lane. Without doubt the tastiest economic return for any developer will be the buildings overlooking the river. It is not only the choice of architect that must concern us but that the developer’s commercial goals and the Council’s financial ambitions will ultimately ride rough shod over architects’ pictures and plans – driving inexorably towards the building of luxury residential flats at the prime site(s) by the riverfront.
    Looking for funding would involve considerable work on the part of community groups, but once we choose a design (by any architect) raising funds to support the detail of a design might be a way our community can keep control of the final outcome and ensure the heritage of our riverside is preserved. All we hope food for thought.
    Finally please contact us on riversideaction@gmail.com if:
    1. You consider any of the options presented at the pop-up shop to be acceptable;
    2. If you would like to assist with fund raising to ensure a particular option is controlled by the community and not by developers;
    3. If you are willing to give your time and energy toward helping us and upholding our referendum, contest the Council’s choice of Francis Terry as architect and demand an open architectural competition;
    4. If you would be willing to contribute toward the legal costs of taking the matter further (estimated costs £50K).
    RAG will continue to support the transparent and democratic process of finding the right solution for Twickenham’s riverside. We need your feedback to understand how you would like us to proceed and discover the extent of your commitment.
    We look forward to hearing from you.
    The Riverside Action Group team.

    • Mergen

      The statement that “93.9% of residents in the TW1 and TW2 postcodes have rejected Francis Terry as an architect for Twickenham” is utter tosh! RAG selected 4000 people and we are told by RAG that only a quarter bothered to respond (just over 1000). Neither did the referendum question state specifically “do you want Francis Terry as architect for Twickenham”. I live in TW2 but only one family in my road received the referendum as they were believed to be RAG supporters though they didn’t ask to be included, but I hear that people in Hampton were selected to receive it! With 10,000 people living around Twickenham Riverside, never mind TW2, it doesn’t look as though RAG has got much support for its wish to reject Francis Terry.

  2. ‘The Council would like your views on these three proposals: http://www.richmond.gov.uk/twickenham_rediscovered_2016_consultation_proposals.pdf

    The public consultation will run until Friday 16 December. Residents are invited to have their say online https://consultation.richmond.gov.uk/environment/new-heart-for-twickenham-nov-2016
    or at the reopened pop up shop on Church Street. The closing date for the survey is Friday 16 December 2016.

    Your views will help inform which proposal will be taken forward. The next stage, in early 2017, will be to further develop the chosen concept, creating more detailed designs in tandem with the technical assessments needed for a planning application. These designs will then be subject to further consultation, before a Planning Application is submitted.’

    (Council website)

    • anonymouse

      The Council seem to have missed an option in their ‘please rank the proposals in order of preference’ consultation, which is:
      – All 3 proposals are shite and the Council needs to drop Francis Terry asap.

    • This is a formal consultation, part of the statutory planning process. It is almost the last chance for residents to contribute to the scheme, which is to go to planning early next year. So it’s too late for ‘thumbs down’.

      It will sail through planning with minor conditions attached. The final fence is cutting a deal with a developer. The River Centre scheme failed at this stage because of the general financial crisis. Perhaps history will repeat in 2017?

  3. twickerman

    Hmmm, I’m not impressed.

    Of the ‘three’ new proposals:

    *No.3 is the reworked amphitheatre design that was poo-pooed by the residents panel. #grumpyface

    *No’s 1 & 2 have exactly the same guildhally design on King Street, with minor variations to building layouts on The Embankment. Thus we get 1 proposal for the price of 3. #rippedoffface

    The Embankment designs are carbon copies of St Helena’s Terrace on Richmond riverside (terrace on top of boathouses). Maybe Francis Terry has confused Twickenham Riverside with the Friars Lane site in Richmond.

    I’m not too bothered about the 4 storey development on King St as long as it doesn’t exceed the existing roof line of the adjoining buildings. However, the bulky guildhall seems to jut out further into Water Lane than Santander currently does! That can’t be right.

    The 4 storey development on The Embankment (3 storeys on top of boathouses) is way too high and is out of proportion with surrounding properties. This must be reduced.

    On a positive note, the boathouses and the open space in front of The Embankment development (proposal 1) are steps in the right direction, as is the connection with DJ Gardens.

    But please, please, please reduce the scale of the development on the Embankment and facing Water Lane, and make it look a little more like Twickenham and a lot less like Little Richmond?

  4. Susan Burningham

    Don’t rely on the Council on-line info to register your interest. The on-line summer consultation has not been fully recorded. Go to the pop-up shop in the next four weeks to avoid the Council’s accusation of apathy. They are counting on you not bothering to look.

  5. People can thumb down as much as they like but if they don’t go to the Council pop up shop in Church Street starting Thursday 17th November they will lose the chance to look and react to the Pamela Fleming’s interpretation of the so called summer public consultations. All ‘concepts’ are by Francis Terry – the architectural practice that did not win the Council’s competition.

  6. The Council is about to display all 3 concepts by Francis Terry in the Church Street pop up shop.
    Revised brief written by Fleming, Skinner and Officers based on workshops attended by approx 100 people. No mention of pop up or on line consultation.No independent scrutiny from stakeholders. Connectivity to the Diamond Jubilee Gardens interpreted as integration. The residents rejection of Francis Terry ignored. Still no cost analysis. Amphitheatre appears in brackets – council is maybe determined to hold gladiatorial combat.
    Who knows maybe we all love one of them.

  7. Sally

    The feedback has been very much picked over for anything positive. Not much joy there, so we have here the tactic of negative feedback being reframed as ambivalence and confusion. The meetings I went to there was no ambivalence and no confusion. Residents were extremely clear in rejecting the awful Terry plans . Come to think of it they were also clear that they did not want Terry Junior involved and questioned why the contract was given on the basis of Daddy’s name and then handed to Junior, who on his own achievements would not have been awarded it. I can’t find the rejection of Terry the Younger listed.
    Why oh why can’t Councillor Fleming go away and bother the people of Richmond? Can anybody imagine her harassing Richmond with pop ups, and stitch up plans for riverside housing? Can we envisage Fleming standing before a trestle table on Richmond Green trying to sell plans for a block of Richmond riveride flats and retail? Unthinkable! She hasn’t even tried to put a bike rack on Richmond riverside.
    Fleming’s every comment shows she sees Twickenham as a scrubby annexe suitable for building on.
    I have heard a rumour from several sources that yet other council pop up is planned. God, no.

  8. Councillors are just like any other type of politician, just a little bit lower down the food chain. They do not give a flying fig about our opinions. They are there for business, in this case property developers. You only have to scratch the thinnest of veneers to see below the surface of what happened to the film studios at Teddington. May I commend a video of George Caitlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ