It’s Poundbury-upon-Thames! New Riverside Designs for Twickenham Published

Richmond Council approves. Prince Charles would surely approve. But do you approve? You can have your say with El Brute and also vote in our poll below. The Council’s deadline for comments is Friday 16th December.

Revised design ideas for Twickenham Riverside have been published under El Brute’s Twickenham Rediscovered / ‘New heart for Twickenham’ banner. The proposals come from architect Francis Terry, El Brute’s chosen one for this particular project.

In the latest briefing note Pamela Fleming, Council Cabinet Member for Environment and the driving force behind the project says: “These concepts are not the final designs… but I hope that people will approach this consultation objectively and work with us constructively on developing a scheme so that the riverside is a place everyone can enjoy for many years to come”. In other words, “We’ve set the parameters and you can have your say within those parameters. We’ve left some things vague too but get with the programme.”

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

The document makes a big play of all the consultations undertaken so far and summarises the themes that have emerged en route… with a few notable exceptions, of course. There is no mention of just how much the majority of people seriously disliked the scale and style of the original concept or that many would like to see the whole thing re-started with a fresh brief and a transparent process. There is no mention either of the lido scheme which also has a lot of local support.  Putting those rather fundamental points to one side, El Brute do acknowledge locals’ other concerns such as the desire for the development to have some kind of town square, to have options to bring the community together and to have relevance to Twickenham’s riverside heritage. To try to address these points Terry’s ideas do have a more of a market town or ‘village’ feel to them.

So what do we have now? Well… there are three proposals.
One of them (Option 3) is essentially a re-worked version of the idea first given an airing back in 2015. Given how unpopular that scheme was, this option can be put to one side. Imagine it as a party leadership bid by Andrea Leadsom for the Conservatives or, for Labour, that Owen bloke that no one had even heard of before he decided to stand.  Never. Going. To. Happen.

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of original design from LBRuT website

That leaves two options both of which move away from the dream of building a new Roman republic in Twickenham and look to the not-quite-so-distant past for inspiration. Think Bekonscot model village in Buckinghamshire or Poundbury in Dorset, the life-size model village that doubles as a suburb of Dorchester. Yep, it’s more Twee-kenham than Twickenham although Poundbury-upon-Thames does have a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?  In your face Richmond!!!

Possible Twickenham Embankment design From LBRuT website

Possible Twickenham Embankment design
From LBRuT website,

Option 1 consists of two large buildings, one of which starts at the King Street end of the site and runs down the length of Water Lane with the second building running along Embankment with a raised river terrace in front. A small ‘town square’ would feature at the top of Water Lane and a raised pedestrian walkway would run from there down towards the river. The terrace area is where events could take place.  The arches under the terrace could be used for storage or for cycle or boat hire. In terms of style, think Richmond Riverside and you’ve pretty much got it.

Possible King Street design - From LBRuT website

Possible King Street design – From LBRuT website

Option 2 is very similar but consists of four buildings rather than the two in Option 1. The King Street facade looks much the same with the main difference being toward the river where there would be three buildings rather than one. The need for space between the buildings means that in this option the buildings sit closer to the river than in Option 1. Total build size is greater than in Option 1.

Town square site, Water Lane

Town square site, Water Lane

In all cases, building use is left rather vague:  it could be this, it could be that, it could be something else. If you were the architect you’d probably do the same and leave that thorny issue to Council types. Parking on the Embankment is left largely in tact, allowing stationary motor vehicles to retain the best river views although El Brute do say that more creative options are being explored, such as underground parking. And on the even more divisive question of having residential development on the site, the document says, “A significant part of the upper floors of the buildings, in all options, will be residential flats, predominantly for private sale. Although a proportion will be Affordable Housing.” Vague is the new clear. This is beginning to make Brexit look simple.

Design proposal 2 - From LBRuT website

Option 2 – From LBRuT website

Under the various options the Diamond Jubilee Gardens are left alone despite a widely held view that looking at this large riverside site as a whole would be a sensible approach. There would be difficulties to overcome posed by the terms under which the Twickenham Riverside Trust look after the site, but are they really insurmountable?  Dunno.

As ever, there are still things to be worked through but El Brute are now seeking your views on the proposals and asking you which of the three you prefer.  They say your comments will help ‘inform’ the next stage in the process, this being to refine the preferred scheme and do the technical work to take it towards planning. A further consultation will be scheduled before a formal planning application is submitted.

With Option 3 surely a non-runner, it looks as if Twickenham locals are being asked to make a choice between two very similar things. Forget Fifty Shades of Grey, this is Two Shades of Terry. Choice?  Nah, no thank you!

You can give feedback on the proposals up until the 16th December either online or in the pop up shop in Church Street which will be open on the following days:
– Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 11.00am to 4.00pm
– Thursday from 11.00am to 7.00pm
– Saturday from 11.00am to 5.00pm
It will also be open on Sunday 27th November from 12.00 to 6.00pm during the Twickenham ‘Christmas lights’ event.

Make sure you have your say with El Brute but you can also vote in our own poll here.


Options 1 and 2 Space Usage Comparison

New build in pink, open space added in yellow (by Twickerman)



* Richmond Council – Twickenham Rediscovered main page  –  The Council’s deadline for comments is Friday 16th December.
* El Brute PDF of the proposals
* Richmond Council’s original proposals
* Riverside Action Group – calling for a fresh start
* Twickenham lido plan – calling for a lido

Artists impression of a new Twickenham Riverside from Eel Pie Island. Or is it Bekonscot model village?
Bekonscot 01


Filed under Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

99 responses to “It’s Poundbury-upon-Thames! New Riverside Designs for Twickenham Published

  1. I think there will be some of you who are interested in attending the following. The words below are all those of Richmond Council.

    “Richmond Council has announced:
    18:30 to 20:30, 18 January 2017
    Members’ Club House, The Stoop, Langhorn Drive, Twickenham, TW2 7SX
    Residents in Twickenham will be able to quiz the Leader and Senior Cabinet Members about their local area during Question Time event in January.
    In 2013 the Council agreed to move forward with proposals to develop the innovative Village Plans, by including guidance on local planning considerations. The process gives local people and businesses the lead role in developing local planning guidance. In addition it provides a wider opportunity to ensure that the Council is working with the community to address a wide range of local issues.
    The first hour of the event will consist of pre-submitted questions to ensure a spread of issues are discussed. The second hour will be opened to the floor. To submit your questions, please email by 8 January 2017.”

  2. Palladio

    On Quinlan Terry: “There are two unfortunate things about this earnest and rigid traditionalist. The first is that he has grasped the dead hand of that perennial curse of English architecture: Palladianism …. The second unfortunate aspect to Terry’s being feted as the leader of a new generation of continuing classicists in Britain is that he is, I am sorry to say, a mediocre architect.” Gavin Stamp, Anti-Ugly, 2013. His legacy lives on in his son, Francis.

    • whiteknight

      That may be Mr Stamp’s opinion , but it is only an opinion; it is not a fact. Quinlan Terry is a successful architect, who presumably receives a constant stream of commissions; why would clients seek out his services if he is only “mediocre”?. Architecture is subjective; some people like one style,.some another

    • illiad1

      The PROBLEM is….
      “successful architects” produce ground breaking, alternate artistically new buildings… great for central city offices, BUT NOT for for small towns, and certainly NOT to live in easily… ‘grand designs’ are only for the VERY few, who like that stuff, not for an average family with children…

    • Anonymous

      Has Illiad1 looked at Quinlan Terry’s website? Click on ‘projects’ and you will find a whole series of images of ‘grand designs for the VERY few’ – that’s exactly what Terry’s practice specialises in – large houses for wealthy clients. Fitting small flats, offices and retail space, into one of these ‘grand designs shells’ is unlikely to produce the best outcome for every day living or meet future commercial needs.

    • illiad1

      Anonymous: hey I don’t have to look, I can see it all over the place… 😡

      worst thing is builders are paid money to build stuff (By councils?? or others?? anyone know who is ‘pushing’ it?? ) and then move on, leaving others to try to get people to buy it… :/

      I am sure there are some ‘hard sell’ estate agents, by the number of retail shops lasting only a year in twickenham…

    • There is an interesting article on Twickenham Riverside in The Twickenham Times. It is by PAUL VELLUET, (B.A. Hons, B.Arch. Hons, M.Litt., RIBA, IHBC) who was involved in the Quinlan Terry plans for Richmond Riverside..

  3. Today’s print RTT has a letter from Martin Habell RIBA praising options 1 and 2 of the scheme:

    The consultation closes at 5 pm this evening so it’s still not too late to add your pennyworth. Here’s mine:

    ‘You should have consulted residents about the brief for the architects and then had a genuine public consultation to choose an architect instead of allowing a councillor with no connection with or feeling for Twickenham to impose her taste on us.

    The notion that ‘everyone likes Quinlan Terry’ is absurd. You have done his his son no favour by persisting in the face of public scorn as he will be saddled with this fiasco for ever.

    It is still not too late for you kick the scheme into the long grass as has happened before. Just do it.’

    • A problem with the consultation is that we do not know what people are really saying in the consultations. Whether you personally support the lido idea or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it gained support at the Workshops and a lot of online support – over 3,000 on the petition. in the original feedback from the Council the lido was mentioned as an option in various categories but in Cllr Fleming’s press release on 15 November it was completely absent. If this can be done with the lido option how do we know what people are really saying.
      We are also suffering from consultation fatigue. Consultation on a scheme that Francis Terry thinks is in Richmond (did you see his tweets on Wednesday – before he deleted them?). I agree with Chris Squire that we need to get rid of the scheme before it is too late. Why do we want a housing estate on Twickenham Riverside and where will the money go? i cannot see how this would be of any benefit to Twickenham.

    • Chris, I look forward to hearing about your campaign. Indeed – just do it.

    • A procedure is currently in progress by some residents.

    • The AJ has: Francis Terry unveils revised Twickenham riverside plans Only 1 comment so far – from me.

      The campaign I will take par tin will be to replace the current council in May 2018.

    • Frances Terry put the article unveiling his plans on Twitter Wednesday lunch time. He deleted the tweet and drawing when I told him the consultation was still in progress.

  4. Building Design Online has: Francis Terry has another go at winning over Richmond residents
    It has attracted some hilarious comments both pro and con.

    • ‘We’re exterior decorators, we do the wrappings of net-lettable space,’ says Francis, and adds with a twinkle: ‘Architects will hate that.’ Architects Journal 22 March 2015.

      This is what the Twickenham Riverside development is all about – wrapping up spaces which local people neither want nor need but which LBRuT considers will provide a return.
      Francis Terry must take care what he says.

  5. Ben Makins

    Been watching with interest and trying to stay calm! Dashed off my on-line responses to the “consultation” last night and happy to share (slightly edited) for what they are worth. Anyone got any news on what RAG (whoever that is now), Eel Pie Island Group are up to and their response?

    Q7. Please give us any comments on your answers to question 2-6:
    A: These are really false choices and inevitably preference for one option overall is inferred from other preferences. We’ve not been given 3 clear options here. In effect we have option 1 (a and b) and option 2 which is just a rehash of the initial proposal so roundly rejected. We really needed to see alternatives in a range of styles and scope as could only have been sourced from an open competition by a range of architects able to present a range of visions and ideas for this precious site. The process adopted to date has delivered exactly what was predicted, a limited and uninspired set of proposals with no real excitement or verve or vision. It’s a mess of confused styles and lay out. This architect is clearly not able to deliver.

    Q8 Please state any comments you have on the style of the buildings (the facade and materials) you would like to see in the proposed development:
    A:It makes little difference. Obviously they have to be appropriate for the scheme, but we need better and more imaginative schemes. Stainless steel and glass would be suitable for some schemes, but not these, whereas stock brick, render and timber cladding are suitable for the schemes displayed here. That doesn’t make them the right schemes!

    Q9 Please state any other comments you would like to make about the proposals?
    A:I think I’ve pretty much covered it. This is enormously frustrating and, frankly, perverse. The drawings are dishonest in showing an absence of cars, which will still be present unless you are serious about “undercover” parking, which is so easy to achieve and so much better a solution. The scale is still too massive, but then you’re still insisting in putting the cart before the horse with no financial or business plan in place to guide the scale and level of development and mix of commercial, retail and residential and the mix of affordable and market value residential. This is all so deeply disappointing, predictable and avoidable and will not do. You must now take account of the new situation regarding King St and work with the seller and potential developers and fulfill your “place-shaping” duties.

    Question on views on how we’ve been consulted:
    A: Well, thanks for asking, but you’ve consistently ignored the views and advice of concerned residents from day one about the procurement and selection process for architects and that has led to this inevitable and predictable outcome. The attempts in the past few months to engage appropriately were certainly an improvement, but come in the wrong place in the process and are fundamentally undermined by your insistence in sticking to a flawed process at the outset and to the outcome of that process. So the recent consultation processes cannot mitigate what went before and will not fix it. You’ll probably succeed in battering residents into submission who just want to see some progress. What you have now is better that the first dismal and unsuitable attempt, but falls so short of what might have been for this precious site. Can’t you see that?

    • Anonymous

      Lord T promised to attract ‘some of the country’s best architects’ to work on the redevelopment of Twickenham Riverside (LBRuT press release November 2014). The designs we are presented with seems to be an amalgam of ideas from Francis Terry and Henry Harrison. If these two are the best of Britain’s architects, it would appear that they have been modestly hiding their talents for several decades now.

      It will certainly take some skill to create a series of attractive and usable spaces within these conceptual shells. Will there be any windows other than the ‘feature’ ones on the street facades …. and where will the rubbish be stored and put out for collection? Traditionally, residential blocks had holes in the middle.

    • I echo Ben’s sentiments about being battered into submission. But…yet again another example of politicians feeling they absolutely, positively, cannot, must not, will not admit THEY might have got it wrong. As usual, WE, the people who elected them, have got it wrong. Plus ca change.

    • illiad1

      Please do check my comment on ‘proper’ lidos/pools below.. 🙂

    • Sally

      Beautifully put. It is very difficult to fill out the feedback form without using colourful language. How those blocks of flats will loom over Eel Pie even with dear little quirky features.

      Under “what could we do better ” one is really spoilt for choice. I think not reframing dissent as confusion would be a good start. Followed by allowing residents to refuse.
      I suggest as a goodwill gesture Councillor Fleming first takes Terry Jnr and builds something on Richmond riverside. It’s not fair Twickenham gets all of Fleming and True’s building schemes.

    • A. Robot (Mrs)


  6. For those who reject all the options presented by the Council and still lobby for a Lido I have just been onto the Lido Bristol company which is the same as that being promoted for Twickenham. These are the costs for general swimming usage.
    Children (only between 2 – 4pm Monday to Friday, no Sats) £7.50 each
    Adult swimming £20 per session per person
    Adult membership: Joining fee: £50. Annual fee £638 per person
    Joint adult membership: joining fee £70. Annual fee £1,144
    There is no family membership.
    The young woman I spoke with said they restrict children’s swimming hours because the main focus of the lido is the spa.

    They also offer one off bookings such as
    Swim & breakfast for £35 pp
    Swim & Tapas & Wine: £40 pp
    Swim & Dine for £84 pp telephone: 0117 933 9530

    Do please check the figures out for yourselves, go onto the website and telephone for the details (the website doesn’t give detail about swimming without the trimmings) and decide if this is a place where you can go for a quick dip or use to teach the kids how to swim and will schools permit children time off in the school term to swim? They don’t offer special deals for schools. Is this a place our pensioners can afford?
    We have been told by Teresa Read (via Twitter) that a Lido business plan is with Mandy Skinner and of course the business plan when it is revealed may reveal a special deal between Council and the owners of the lido that permits special discounts for us locals.
    It really would be good to know exactly what people are petitioning for.

    • While I don’t doubt the passion of the petitioners, I long ago concluded this is a done deal as far as LBRUT are concerned. Option One would appear to be the least offensive and as far as LBRUT are concerned, enables them to move on with some honour, behind the figleaf of their “consultation”. Personally I move on to the desecration of the “Protected” view of St.Paul’s.

    • Dear Susan
      The Twickenham Lido is not the Bristol Lido. Information about the Twickenham Lido can be found on
      All we are doing is putting an option into the public domain and people can make up their own minds. We are not holding meetings or lobbying.
      We have told the Council about it and given them relevant information.
      People can sign and write their comments – it is up to them.
      It surprises me that you and Lord True and Pamela Fleming are so worried about it. Maybe it might just help regenerateTwickenham?
      Why are you spending so much time on social media writing against one particular project? i thought RAG was impartial.
      I hear that committee members of RAG have left. i wonder why? Can you tell us? Does RAG still exist and if so what is your position and what are its aims now. I thought it wanted to start the process again?

    • illiad1

      Have a look at Bristol Lido on the map…
      Riverside?? The Avon is about a Kilometer away…
      You will find it is buried in a large residential area, with multistory offices and university buildings around it.. Look in street view, you will find it is NOT that easy to recognize the ‘entry’ to the lido!! 🙂

      you have to note that Bristol lido is more like a **club** – there are ‘health centres’ in Teddington, Tooting bec, etc, that charge similar high prices, BUT that includes the whole use of the gym, spa, etc, etc….

      Richmond ‘pools on the park’ offers similar, starting with about £40 induction…

      But if you just want a swim, it is only £5 per person.. 🙂

      If you want a lido for twickenham, the ‘model’ you SHOULD be looking at, is Hampton, or other ‘simpler’ pools…

      Even with frost outside, Richmond is STILL attractive, with its heated pools! 🙂

  7. anonymouse

    Regarding the potential profits from the development, take a look at the viability workshop presentation.
    It says the Council want their £6.5m ‘investment’ back, plus the developer will be looking for 20% profit. To make it worthwhile for a developer 40ish flats are required. This is why the designs are 4 storeys high.
    However it doesn’t have to be like that.
    Alternatively the council could actually invest the £6.5m in the riverside and offset that against the rental income from the new shops and businesses.
    Excluding the £6.5m from costs means many fewer flats are required and more public open space can be delivered.
    Sounds like a no brainer to me. Come on LBRUT do the decent thing and actually INVEST in Twickenham Riverside.

    • aristophanes

      Let’s be accurate. What Paul Chadwick said at the Viability workshop was: “We will offer views but we will not be making any kind of definitive statement on the financial position that the Council requires at the site. We just don’t have one at this stage”

    • twickerman

      Let’s be honest, the council will never share the financials with us taxpayers.
      At the workshop Chadwick made it very clear that the council want ‘their’ £6.5m back.
      He suggested the possibility of a joint venture with a developer in which profits would be shared. Although this is more risky it would give the council some of the £6.5m back, meaning they would need to invest less to deliver the open space we’re all hoping for.

    • Once again we have the word ‘profits’. Please consider the word income. This is what the Council is looking for – a regular income into the disposable fund. The site is valuable and will fill the coffers for years to come.

  8. 2sceptical

    I wonder how much LBRuT has spent in order to establish that what Twickenham residents really want is a 4-storey, predominantly residential development taking up virtually all of the available site (i.e. as big a block of expensive flats as any developer could hope to get planning permission to build). If the Council can pull it off, will they get a share in the profit to distribute around the rest of the Borough?

    • £120k and add to that Officer and staff time. (there’s an argument that says people like Paul Chadwick and Mandy Skinner – on €127k per annum would be working anyway. But we should ask how they could be more usefully employed doing something else). Add too the rental of pop up shop premises and the cost of the workshops. You won’t get much change from £200k.
      And yes the info is obtained via FOI.
      Don’t forget that Terry has yet to come up with rather more than exterior sketches. The BAM and model have still to be produced and paid for. Payments have so far been made via purchase orders so there are some stiil outstanding.
      Never mind they’ll pop it all onto our Council tax next year.

    • i was told that any profits will be distributed around the Borough. I might be wrong so happy to be put right. If that is the case there is not much in the whole deal for Twickenham – it looks like a no win situation. With our Chief Executive in Wandsworth we will have to be careful the money does not go there.

    • Not profits, income. Of course any income will help boost the usable reserves. Look at the Council accounts. They’re not well presented but you can see the amount in the UR is not huge – Council finances are very tight and any Council of whatever political complexion will be forced into an increase – it is the usable reserve that will direct the amount of the next council tax review and the amount spent on social infrastructure. (Worth reading the R&TT January 2016 interview with Cllr Samuel).
      If we are to protect the community from relinquishing land to developers then we must press for a community input into the project. Retain a community ‘share holding’.

  9. Admittedly the amphitheatre was a joke, the other 2 are good enough and will benefit what is a poorly used site now. Someone just do something now and stop the endless debate. We’re stuck with a horrible station because so many people endlessly block any sort of development in Twickenham.

    • twickerman

      ‘Good enough’. Nothing like damning with faint praise. How about ‘marginally better than a couple of derelict buildings and an empty car park’?

      FYI, the station development was approved many years ago. The only reason for the lack of progress is the incompetence of Network Rail and Solum who can’t work out how to build such a massive structure over live railway tracks.

    • Good enough! Twickenham deserves a choice of the best architects. Not some middle aged chap whose dad just happens to be friends with the Council leader.

  10. twickerman

    Poundbury is fine as and where it is as an experimental satellite town in West Dorset.

    But the whole point, that some are missing, is that the development of Twickenham Riverside mustn’t be a carbon copy of Poundbury or of Richmond riverside either.

    It should reflect the local environment, rather than towering above it and dominating it as all of the Council and Francis Terry’s proposals do.

    For those who’ve only looked at the twee watercolour pictures, please take a close look at the plan drawings and see how incredibly dense the proposals are, particularly options 2 & 3. On these you’ll see there’s still precious little of the public open space we’ve been promised repeatedly.

    Option 1 is marginally better, but could do with trimming both in terms of the height of buildings facing the river and Water Lane, and the overall footprint. The style could also do with being simpler and a hell of a lot less effing twee!

    All the pretty pictures look sooo much better without parked vehicles, but the reality is that there will be just as many of them down Water Lane and along the Embankment as there are now. Unless some residents/visitors parking spaces are moved underground the whole scene will remain car dominated – unlike good ‘old’ Poundbury which has been designed to favour pedestrians!

  11. aristophanes

    Well, Dr B, as you write that you have so little faith in the ability of ANY political party to deliver on Twickenham Riverside, interesting to hear that you have apparently switched allegiance to the Labour Party

    • You presume to know a lot – but then some people still think the earth is flat.
      I should have mentioned in my previous comment that I also asked the local Labour Party for a statement on the Council’s actions on the Riverside – but answer came there none, nor has there been any effort on the part of the one Labour Councillor at LBRuT to engage with the subject.

    • Alexis

      Apropos my recent post (Christmas lights) about Dr Burningham’s current political affiliations, I was intrigued to receive an anonymous tip-off that she had been spotted handing out Labour Party leaflets.
      Being the assiduous sleuth that I am, I googled the good Doc and found that she had indeed signed on as a volunteer in support of the Twickenham Labour Party about a year ago. Nothing wrong with that apart from her somewhat strident denial of changed political loyalty to Aristophanese thus: “you presume to know a lot – but then some people still think the earth is flat.”
      As we are all told, a week is a long time in politics, so what has a year got to do with anything? Quite a lot I think since Doc B has played a prominent part in the debate about the Twickenham Riverside schemes. Is she still chair of RAG? Have other members resigned? Is she still a Labour Party Supporter/Volunteer?
      Who would know? She tends to avoid answering these awkward questions.
      PS: The lights are great as always, so a big thank you to Bruce and his loyal team for their tireless efforts.
      PPS: Option 1 for the Riverside seems the best compromise so far.

    • Alexis
      You make unearthing Ms Burningham’s political affiliations sound like a real find. All you had to do was to read her post on July 22 to realise it was more of a manifesto than merely a bunch of suggestions. Clearly anti-Tory, no mention of the Lib Dems – not a lot left. (No replies about UKIP please!!)

  12. Don’t knock Poundbury, it works. Last week I was there meeting with a resident originally from Teddington.

    Poundbury has a high level of social housing, over 35% so a mixed community. There is no street furniture, so no ugly signage, so no yellow, red or white lines, crossings are indicated by a change in road surface, no graffiti or litter. Each property has off road parking, there is also parking in the streets, no bay markings but free for all. There are buses to Dorchester which has two railway stations.

    • Fair and good points but none of them are dependent on having architecture from a bygone age.

    • Many (most?) people prefer the architecture from a bygone age; here is a selection of photos so readers can judge for themselves:

    • illiad1

      I would much prefer ‘bygone age’ (liveable in, easy on *normal* eyes, ) to ‘modernist’ YUK! (wins awards, awful to live in or around..)

    • A.Robot (Mrs)

      So all Twickenham’s wish-list needs is a sponsor who happens to be heir to the throne and the nth richest man in the country. Problem solved!

    • A.Robot (Mrs)

      Why does anyone imagine that P’bury is ‘architecture from a bygone age’? It’s a building style from building sets from toyshops from the 1950s, the bygone age of Prince Charles’s childhood. When you look at those Toytown pillars you can almost feel the texture of the wooden building blocks. There’s also a whiff of 3rd Reich kitsch and the sort of stuff that Mussolini built in Lazio in the 30s. Is that what Twickenham wants?

  13. smackernan

    I’d like to see what each looks like with a charity shop and coffee shop superimposed, so we could a real vision of what the riverside will look like. Honestly, that’s going to be the best way to really get a feel for how they will best fit Twickenham.

    • illiad1

      do realise, that due to high rents demanded by the council, only rich companies can afford it (have you seen the high price of fancy coffee????? :O )
      and charities get a huge reduction, mainly by using voluntary staff, and paying for little else…. /:
      It does not help reduce all the STILL empty retail units about… (some NEVER occupied!!!)

  14. Twicktor Meldrew

    New Proposals 1 & 2 are Richmond Riverside rearranged. The new offering has simply raided the parts bin. Rip it up and start again is the sensible idea. However, LBRUT have misguidedly signed a contract with the architect which means they’d likely have to buy themselves out of the deal – with our council tax!

    • Purposefully signed a contract. This is Lord True determined to get work for Terry. Although architects have been sacked before or have left rather than risk professional embarrassment. But yes the foul up will cost us. It really is up to the residents to decide if they want any of these options. And if not, how they wish to contest. Either way we will pay for this gross piece of maladministration.

    • Cleo Talbot

      I don’t like any of the Terry proposals. It’s a disgrace that the council appears to have committed to a Terry design. It makes the whole consultation pointless. Can’t wait for the 2018 council elections!

    • To Cleo Talbot, I do understand but I can’t count the elections we’ve had since “The Council” started kicking this issue around – it hasn’t made a blind bit of difference. And anyway, politicians will say anything to get elected and then backtrack when “faced with the reality we have inherited”.

    • We have to remember that Lord True has managed to ‘forget’ the promises he made in 2009 to protect our riverside against the plans of the Lib Dems who were keen on selling to developers who wanted to build at the back of the riverside site in exchange for a River Centre. Thanks to John Reekie of the Save our Riverside group the developer was exposed for not having accounts signed off for (I think) ten years. Meantime the River Centre business plan failed to stand up to scrutiny. It was thanks to the imminent 2010 local election and Lord True’s promises that the Lib Dem scheme was ditched.
      Have we been well served since? In 2014 we had to fight off Lord True’s cunning plan to build a boat shed in Orleans Gardens – this straight after the 2014 local election election. Cllrs. Fleming, Chappell, Hill and Dias claimed to ‘know nothing’. Lord True’s promises were recently described by our Director of Environment, Paul Chadwick at the Viability workshop as “a moment in time”.
      So can we count on the Lib Dems rescuing the riverside for us?
      On November 1st I asked the leader of the Lib Dems, Gareth Roberts for a statement regarding the Riverside Action Group supporters’ demands. This was the response:
      “The subject is regularly discussed by the group. Our manifesto is certain to make reference to the riverside development but will be informed by the prevailing circumstances at the time. In advance of publication of our manifesto we will of course continue to campaign for a new design brief, informed by local residents wishes, along with a rethink on the choice of architect.”
      I don’t know about anyone else but I detect a whiff of weasel in these words. The Lib Dems will most certainly not allow the potential income from the site to be waived aside.
      And can we count on dispatching the Tories in 2018 in time to save the riverside? Just look at the timelines in the pop-up shop. Sure we’ll be able to punish them, but the damage will be done. That’s why the RAG statement refers to ‘red-lines’ – we have to control the developers and the Council allowing too much of the site to be lapped up for commercial purposes. We already have a local developer who is itching to make money from the site. It’s why RAG is trying to make the best of a bad job by retaining some of the land for recreational use – hence the choice of Option 1 with its open riverside front and connectivity to the gardens. Yes of course parking is an issue, cars should be kept away from our riverside, but until someone can shake the Council up to look at the whole of Twickenham then extra car parks, underground or high rise – will not be on the agenda. The last time a whole borough survey was completed was 2009 with an update in 2014. No-one on Eel Pie is going to sacrifice their parking in order to keep the riverside beautifully car free. If there is we should hear from them.
      The site has been fought over off and on since 1923 when Richmond House was pulled down. Yes we enjoyed relative calm during the lido years, but since it was allowed to sink into disrepair and two swimming pools built at either end of the Borough the riverside site has been viewed by all sides as a ‘golden egg’. Now the Tories are looking for rich pickings and a real income – it’s obvious they need to add to their disposable reserves in order to ameliorate the increase in Council tax. If you don’t believe me look at the Council accounts on the LBRUT website.
      So – don’t count on any political party helping save the riverside. It won’t happen. They all need the money.

  15. Philippe

    Let’s get on with it, and with the train station… anything is an improvement from the current…

    • A.Robot (Mrs)

      Yeah! It’s time for a change. To hell with the consequences, let’s do something. Let’s take Brexit and Trump as our model. No more thinking.
      Just act!

  16. twickerman


    Unfortunately, in the new Options 1 & 2 the on-street parking remains exactly as it is now. El Brute have confirmed there will be parking on Water Lane even though the plan views and arty drawings don’t show it. Nor do they show a single vehicle anywhere on the site (just a bike and a few boats blocking the narrow Embankment pavement)!

    At the parking workshop and in the pop-up shop it was made very clear to me that any underground parking would be for the benefit of the new flats and businesses only. So if that’s the case, why waste money on it? Reduce the size of the development instead.
    Ideally, El Brute would use underground parking to remove some of the cars from Water Lane and the Embankment, thus creating a more pleasant Riverside environment. A few spaces may be required for businesses, car club and disabled, but the Council could easily sell the new flats without any parking or permits (as is the case with the station development). Surely the same ‘excellent public transport access’ rules apply just 5 minutes walk away?

    There are also practical issues with having parking immediately in front of the boathouses, such as how to get boats in and out of them! Parking needs to be removed from here and the pavement widened if this is to work (consider how much space there is on Richmond Riverside for boats, bikes, coconut stalls, etc). Only few side-on spaces would need to be moved underground.

    • illiad1

      On Richmond riverside, there is virtually NO residential areas needing parking….. The few near the canoe club has its own parking, and the few near The white cross has a large car park behind…

    • illiad1

      Richmond also has (going back 30 years or more) large multistory car-parks at the station and paradise road..
      and what does poor twickenham have??? :/

    • anonymouse

      The council are going to build on the Friars Lane car park behind the White Cross. No prizes for guessing the name of their chosen architect.

    • The Friars Lane car park was twinned with Twickenham Riverside in the original brief. I thought this was a good spot for Terry architecture but not Twickenham Riverside.

    • illiad1

      do not be distracted… The Friars Lane car park is Richmond’s problem, not ours.. and it is not exactly a ‘pretty’ part… :/

    • anonymouse

      Poor Twickenham does have a multistorey car park by Waitrose.
      Ironically it also has lots of people who choose to live on a car free island, but insist on having a convenient car park on the mainland that spoils the riverside!

    • illiad1

      oh yes forgot waitrose.. 🙂
      Anther thing DIFFERENT about Richmond riverside… the height from the high street, is about 3 times that in Twickenham!
      there is also no major road crossing, so many **do not know** twickenham has a riverside!!! :O

  17. stellagdb

    I quite like the sound of Option 1, but would have appreciated a plan view so that we can see how it all fits in with what is already there. I agree that it isn’t pleasing to have a mass of parked cars spoiling the look of the riverside, but there is a definite shortage of parking places in the area.

    Could the parking area be between the buildings fronting on to King Street and the new building on the riverside? It would be necessary to ensure that there is still space for an open area along the actual river bank, of course.

    • It’s worth going to the pop up shop Stella. There you can see the provision of underground parking near to Water Lane.Though this will be subject to financial feasibility and we need to press the Council on this point. Option 1 does provide a real waterfront and connectivity to the Diamond Jubilee Gardens. The sad thing about all these designs are that we have a wealth of wonderful architects in the UK and we have been pinned to just one through the intransigence of Lord True and Cllr Fleming. The whole process has been foul and somehow we need to ensure this never happens again.

    • Reply to smburningham
      November 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      This should never happen again?? Are you writing off the riverside! Was Pamela so persuasive. Many thousands will not agree with you and will continue the campaign to Save Twickenham Riverside,

  18. Paul Luton

    As far as I can tell Option 3 is not identical to the original scheme. It has been scaled down from 3 stories to 2 on the river side making it much less objectionable. It seems to be the only one that might reduce the dominance of parking on the river front.

  19. This is the Newsletter RAG has sent to supporters:

    “Dear Supporters of the Riverside Action Group (RAG)
    Our thanks to you for all your recent correspondence.
    As you probably know, the Council has opened a further pop-up shop in Church Street to display three new ‘concepts’ for the Riverside site. The consultation – which is on the Council’s website at – will last until the end of this year following which the Council intends to prepare its firm proposal for presentation to the LBRUT Cabinet and then planning in the first quarter of next year.
    All the new designs are by Francis Terry. Proposals 1 and 2 are based upon the Council’s interpretation of the views gathered from this summer’s workshops. Both abandon the concept of the ‘big block’ on the river front and create a terrace along the riverside above the access road. Both also have bigger space allocated as the village/town ‘square’. Of the two, Proposal 1 creates more space with a much deeper terrace (18m at its widest) and a larger open space; the Proposal 2 is around 6m wider, but the space overall currently allocated to the ‘square’ is much smaller. Both include a colonnaded space on the King Street corner – the idea is that this could serve as place for a market.
    Meanwhile, Proposal 3 is a reworking of the original design which the Council was forced to abandon after the last Council meeting in early July this year, and as such it is more of a revision of the past than a new design.
    RAG steering group members were invited to meet with Cllr Fleming and Mandy Skinner (LBRuT’s Assistant Chief Executive) on Tuesday 15th and then also Thursday 17th November, for a general report and then a preview of the pop-up consultation. At these meetings, a new outline Brief was presented – see attached. Like the two new designs, it shows some progress. At the same meetings, it was confirmed that Francis Terry had been appointed as the Council’s contracted architect. It was also confirmed that there had been no formal input from the major stakeholders (Eel Pie Island Association, Diamond Jubilee Garden Trustees, or RAG) in assembling the new Brief.
    RAG urges you to visit the pop-up shop and consider the options presented by the Council. There is a form to complete, on paper or on-line, for stating your preference. 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.
    The RAG representatives who met the Council suggest that the best course of action for RAG members at this point would be to endorse either Proposal 1 or 2, with a preference for Proposal 1. We suggest that Proposal 3 is so similar to the original concept that it should be rejected outright.
    Sections 7, 8 and 9 of the form allow for any comments you wish to add regarding the configuration of the site, the style of the architecture, or any other aspects. If you support either Proposals 1 or 2, these give an opportunity for further thoughts and suggestions which tweak those proposals and we suggest you should take advantage of these sections if you wish to suggest adjustments to those base-lines.
    It is our view that – provided the Council is willing to engage more fully with the local community (i.e. including the three stakeholders mentioned above) as it takes its decision, and guides the project to the next stage, moving towards the implementation phase – we should be willing to look beyond the issue of the architect, on the basis that Proposal 1 (and 2) are a significant step forward, becoming acceptable, with the potential to meet the majority of the wishes expressed by residents. We hope you will share the view that a constructive response to the new proposals is now the best way forward – please let us know if you do not, with your reasons, so we can build this into our position.
    Other important factors that have been raised with the Council and that you may also want to consider include:
    • The crucial issue of defining the ‘appropriate mix of uses’ (commercial, retail, community, residential, including affordable housing with space for creative workshops). RAG has already pointed out 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. The Council representatives suggested that ‘red lines’ could be drawn to define specific uses in specific parts of the development site, for example retail space fronting King Street, as compared with community space fronting the river. RAG expressed the view that it could help the Council in its dealings with the developer for such red lines to be agreed between the Council and residents and made part of the developer’s contract. As residents, we will need to watch carefully how the process evolves from these initial proposals into detailed designs, with costings – when will the Council make these available? We need to bear in mind, first, that the Council will be looking at the economic return for its investment in purchasing the King Street front site and, secondly, the chosen developer will have commercial goals which may conflict with any design agreed by the Council and the architect There is a risk that these goals determine the final designs above the wishes of residents.

    • The need for a mix of funding sources if the cultural heritage of Twickenham is to be reflected as stated in the developed brief. Our suggestion is that, currently, a missing element in discussion is the possibility of raising additional funds for the development to complement the private funding of the site, for example by applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund, or other sources (e.g. for arts and sport). Without a mix of funding sources, the mix of uses is unlikely to be ‘appropriate’ and could involve the prime riverside space being used for luxury residential flats instead of community space. With complementary funding, the development would genuinely be able to deliver the ‘appropriate mix of uses’ as suggested by the Council in the Brief.
    RAG will continue to support the need for a transparent and democratic approach to 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.”

  20. Anonymous


    From the site plan perspective, I prefer option one as it maximises the public space close to the river.

    I like the steps/tiered seating creating the opportunity (with road closures) for a performance space. I fully support the creation of ‘arches’ for river and tow path related uses.


    For the King Street View, I prefer proposal 3. I favour the wide pedestrian area alongside Water Lane to the covered ‘town square’. In proposals one and two, the projection of the building into Water Lane closes down the impact of opening up the river access!

    For the Riverside View, I prefer the variety of multiple, distinct buildings which is much more in keeping with Twickenham. (so proposal one and two)


    I would suggest reducing parking spaces along the riverside. I understand that this may be a challenge for those living and working on Eel Pie Island (EPI) but the inconvenience of access is a given for EPI today. Moving any parking/loading further away will not be a huge impact compared with the benefits to the wider population.

    I have previously suggested that the site as a whole is considered. Including Diamond Jubilee Gardens. Could this site be used as a car park? Perhaps underground with development on top to fund it? This could supplement underground car parking for new residents and business.

    This would free up the embankment to be the new ‘gardens’ and be car free.

  21. It’s all very well saying ‘no parking on the riverside’ but you have to be realistic – if there are homes there will be cars. You can’t ban people from owning them and they’ll need somewhere to put them. There is already a shortage of residents’ parking space. Any underground parking (probably the best solution) will need to be approached from behind the development – otherwise the river will get in.

    Re the second proposal, is there a town square in there? I wish they’d just knock down the Santander etc building and make that into an open space. It would open up the river view to the town centre and be useful for markets etc. I thought that was originally the point of the whole exercise. Whatever happens, I doubt I’ll still be here to see it finished, not at the rate it’s been going so far.

    And of course the letters page in the local paper seems to have disappeared. For me that seems a bit suspicious – it was such a useful forum for discussing these matters. I’m not having trouble who gains from its removal..

    • I don’t think I’ll be around either – it’s taken 36 years to get this far. And the disappearance of the Rick & Twick letters page is decidedly dodgy

    • anonymouse

      Newsquest has sacked many of its reporters and editors to reduce costs.
      RTT is being produced by a skeletal South London team that replicate stories across a large number of different titles with little local variation and much local complaint. Sadly the only interesting bit of the RTT, the letters, appear to have been sacked too. See @cutsquest for details.

    • Alan Winter

      The sad reality is that after more than 100 years Richmond and Twickenham no longer has a functioning local newspaper. RIP Richmond and Twickenham Times. You were once an award winning local newspaper. You are now nothing more than a few irrelevant advertising sheets cobbled together with some out of area and national news. All in the name of profit for the owners.
      Not even a mention of Brentford football club (our local senior club) in the last two weeks – disgraceful !
      Wanted urgently – entrepreneur/businessperson to start local newspaper based on “local” and “news”

    • Reply to Alan Winter

      A local online newspaper is under development for the resons you state. The third edition is being produced and editions 1 and 2 are online. Articles are for and by local people. There is a Letters page. Editions can be printed and a web based publication will follow. Check my tweets TeresaRead4

    • Alan Winter

      Reply to Teresa Read. I don’t do tweeting. Is there a website address. Sounds hopeful. Would like to see it. Thanks

    • Reply to Alan Winter
      this is probably not the place for this as we are discussing the Riverside but as you asked here is a link

    • Alan Winter

      Reply to Teresa Read Great! Well done and a good effort by all concerned. Thanks. You are right that this is probably not the forum to discuss the Twickenham Times so I have opened the topic under its own “headline”

  22. twickerman

    Great summary Twickerati.

    A couple of extra points on the not so Little Richmond options:

    1. Option 2 has an extended lump of development down Water Lane and lurking in the shadows behind the villagey bit facing the Embankment.

    2. Option 2 has 600m2 more development area (+15%) than Option 1.

    3. Option 1 has considerably more riverside open space than Option 2.

    4. The guildhally building on the corner of King Street with Terry’s trademark columns sticks out further into Water Lane than the existing Santander building!

    5. How many villages are so densely developed with predominantly 4 storey buildings? The boathouses + 3 storey buildings on the Embankment are out of scale and proportion with neighbouring buildings.

    It seems to be a mashup of Terry’s Tweekenham and Trump Towers.

    Whatever you think of the 3 options, and whether or not you have a least worst preference, please take the opportunity to give your full and frank views in the consultation comments boxes.

  23. They (El Brute that is) are NEVER going to rip it up and start again. Like the woman says “Get with the programme” which seems to mean “because I want it to be my legacy” This site has been derelict since 1980 – NINETEEN ******* EIGHTY!!! I’m going for Option One because I am sick and tired of it all. BUILD SOMETHING.

  24. The original pool under Diamond Jubilee Gardens might cause a problem for underground parking.

  25. S Bright

    Time to try a different architect, methinks…

  26. tomalom

    Crazy for cars to have best view of the riverside, underground parking is a must.

    • Paul Luton

      Agreed – French provincial towns manage to get parking underground and out of the way. If it costs then the market will sort that out. I don’t need a car in the outskirts of Teddington. Central Twickenham is outstandingly well connected so perfectly sensible place to choose to live without a car. A car club is available locally as needed.

  27. No parking on the riverside. How hard can it be?

    • aristophanes

      Grove: first , where are the cars going to park? Underground is prohibitively expensive. Second, how is traffic going to circulate? The Service Road cannot be used for through traffic. Answer these questions, and we have a solution. It is actually hard!
      So – your solution, please?