Twickenham Stationary While Community Hub Moves Forward

2017 is up and running, we’re one month in and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Is this going to be the year when work on Twickenham station finally gets underway?’ You think that but you know, deep down in your heart of hearts that there’s a fair chance it could end up being next year, or the year after, or maybe never. Twickenham Station? Twickenham Stationary more like!

A warm welcome to Twickenham

A warm welcome to Twickenham

Word on the street seems to be that Solum Regeneration, the company behind the big development, is planning to finally get things moving in April. It seems so long ago since their overly large mish mash of styles received approval from El Brute’s Planning Wonks. It is a long time ago. Solum has dabbled with the idea of progress but it’s been kicked back on several occasions for whatever reasons. It seems that things have proved a little more complicated than originally envisaged. Add to that part-owner Kier Property selling its share of the Solum joint venture with Network Rail to Capital & Counties Properties Plc and maybe explains part of the dither-fest of the last few years. It might do but Kier are still committed to the Twickenham scheme with C&C moving some of the others forward. So far, so nothing.

A station. In Twickenham

A station. In Twickenham

The reality seems to be that Solum and the RFU can’t get themselves organised to agree the dates at which the station work can get underway. There’s rugby (and money) at stake don’t you know. The ‘possession’ dates planned so far for 2017 begin on April 9th and are dotted across the year but some already clash with rugby or NFL games which could see them move yet again. And this is only for ‘enabling works’ such as setting up the temporary ticket office in the car park, moving cables and hoarding off works areas. Mary’s Terrace residents can expect a ring side seat for all this work and it’s not even the big stuff. The message seems to be don’t hold your breath because April 9th could easily become June or September and so on. We’ll just have to see who wins this tedious ‘tug of station love’ between the RFU, Network Rail and Solum.

Here's what you would have won

Here’s what you would have won

Meanwhile the ‘community cultural hub’ slap bang opposite the station which has been something of a mystery in terms of purpose and management will now be run by St Mary’s University.
Obviously to attract students there it’s going to require them to walk past about a dozen pubs and a couple of kebab shops first which could present a significant challenge but having St Mary’s involved might bring some fresh thinking to central Twickenham. The building will comprises a 300 seat theatre space, six multi-purpose studio rooms and a large conservatory area. So, what’s actually going to happen there then? St Mary’s say we can expect a cafe that will be open to the public, theatre, film, comedy and music nights and the inevitable conference and venue hire options. Full details have yet to be finalised but it would be good to see the building getting regular use with events that appeal to the whole community and not just becoming a satellite student union building or a bland conference facility. Managed in the right way it could bring something new to the town. Let’s hope so.

A hub. In the community.

* Network Rail – Kier sells its stake in Solum (old news)

* St Mary’s University to run community building


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

8 responses to “Twickenham Stationary While Community Hub Moves Forward

  1. Steve P

    I suspect we might, just might see the temporary station go up this year then another long period of nothing. Although, if the RFU does not relent and cancel some events to allow more closures I’m not convinced station 2.0 will ever happen.

  2. A. Robot (Mrs)

    As 6000 people (and rising) have signed the petition against the ‘state visit’ of the loathsome Trump, I just hope that Twickenham station is making contingency plans for the surge of locals trying to get into London on the day of the massive demonstrations which will inevitably take place at that time.
    And, as an example of ‘regular use with events that appeal to the whole community’, maybe the educational and cultural community ‘hub’ could be used for the preparation and production of posters and placards on that day which reflect the humour and creativity of local residents.

  3. twickerman

    This piece in the Construction Enquirer in April 2015 sums up progress with Twickenham station:

    ‘Network Rail partnered with Kier seven years ago to form the Solum Regeneration joint venture with its sights set on a £500m pipeline of station redevelopment schemes in the South East.

    But several railway station regeneration schemes have proved to be more complicated to arrange and slower to come forward than initially planned.

    Osborne and Kier are understood to be bidding for a £40m revamp of Twickenham Station, which was originally due to be opened for the Rugby World Cup, but has been delayed and will now start towards of the end of this year [2015].’

    It seems that the RFU are the real Fat Controllers of Twickenham station activities, and have shunted Slowlum into the sidings!

    • Always easy to pin all Twickenham’s problems on rugby. Some might argue the reason for the station upgrade diminished with the passing of the RWC.

    • As always, developers get just too over the top, NO thought about the impact on the population… (they obviously think every place is like inner london, think ‘grass’ and ‘trees’ are things you buy at IKEA… )
      Then the demonstrations start, dates slip, plans get reduced, solicitors, estate agents, etc, etc get LOADS of money, companies sell on to other companies, with more delays and even happier solicitors, etc….. Meanwhile it looks like they are still finishing ‘brewers wharf’ ??
      Yet more shops are closing due to over-expectant selling by agents…

    • oh, and ‘rugby’ is not the problem, it is the fat controllers at RFU, network rail, etc.. looking to make money and the developers getting it all!!!

  4. St Mary’s University is probably the only local organisation with the resources to run the building. Lets hope community organisations also get involved when it is up and running.

    • Boss

      Hope they will. There was a bizarre piece in the Twix Tribune online newsletter condemning St Mary’s involvement before we’ve had any chance to see how they plan to run it.