Category Archives: High Street Updates

Farewell to Florist as Station Development Gets Underway

Solum’s ‘regeneration’ of Twickenham station will finally get going in the next few weeks. Sort of. This was the development that dithered and dallied but was then definitely going to take place after the Rugby World Cup back in 2015. It’s now 2017 and, true to their word and the very passing of time itself, it still is definitely after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

It’s been a long wait. The process will see preparatory work take place before and a new station building goes up and the construction of new residential blocks. Think several years’ worth of work.

Peter the florist – moved on

One of the by-products of the project is that  we say goodbye to the Puccino cafe outside the station, the ABC newsagent and Peter the Florist whose “Two bunches for five fifty therrrrre” has been a regular refrain outside the station for many years. And of course, who can forget the fateful day when prices went up 10% taking those all important two bunches from “a fiver, therrrre” to “five fifty”?

No bunches for five fifty!

Although the development itself can hardly be news to anyone let alone the traders affected – it’s been ‘almost happening’ for years – the word is that Peter was given just one week’s formal notice to vacate. Hmmm. Assuming that’s correct that’s not great Solum. His pitch is within Solum’s development boundary and perhaps they were not obliged to offer alternatives either.  And what of Richmond Council? El Brute’s Pamela Fleming tweeted that, “Our licensing officers are proactive in helping him relocate”.  That’s good, although one might wonder why nothing had been finalised with only days to go before the deadline.  Peter’s most likely destination is Teddington but at least one option in Twickenham has been explored.  Surely there must be one spot in the town where he could continue selling to local shoppers and commuters?

ABC News – closed

Hoardings are due to go up soon (note the blue marker lines on the pavement) and a building site created. Strange to think that the old sorting office site opposite has been almost fully rebuilt in the years that the station development has not been happening. Funny old world innit?

LINK:
* Richmond Council Page on Twickenham Station Development

* Sign up for updates from Solum on the construction sheme

 

And finally. Thanks for the memories….

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Twickenham Traders Bemused by Council “Regence-frication” Plan

Twickenham shopkeepers have again found themselves in conflict with the Council since the latter unveiled their renewed plan to spruce up the notoriously ailing high street last week.  With work on the controversial Riverside Piazza soon to begin, there is now a concerted push from York House for the immediate surrounding area to keep up with the classical theme and aesthetics.

Time for a spruce up?

As the LBRuT  statement reads: “One significant response to our recent, wide-reaching consultation with the people of Twickenham was the general feeling of inadequacy and neglect suffered by the main high street.  We have listened, and are now rectifying this situation by returning this veritable artery back to its former unspoilt glory.” This is to involve the compulsory removal of all bright, artificial-looking signage in exchange for more subdued colours provided by chief heritage advisers and sponsors, Farrow & Ball Ltd.   Many shop names, to be newly rendered in classic typefaces and in gilt, may need to be adapted, in some cases entirely renamed.  Failure to comply will result in hefty fines.

Particularly incensed was managing director of Poundland, Phil Barsguits, who told us “quite out of the blue we have been ordered to take down our distinctive bright green and white signage and replace it with what looks to me like the Harrods livery.  And if that wasn’t enough we are to be renamed Pounde Lande.”  Equally infuriated was Claire Bunne, head of central public relations at Iceland Foodstores UK, inexplicably to be re-branded in Twickenham as “Ireland”, who complained, “This is yet another example of local administrators stamping their authority over freedom of trade and expression.  Sadly we are bound by law to comply, as we found to our cost after Southend Council’s successful case to rename their local branch Viceland.” Most other retailers have been given the option to precede their name with “Mr” (for example Mr. Kentucky, Mr. Waterstones) or end with “& Sons” (Boots & Sons, WH Smith & Sons) or both (Mr. Starbuck & Sons).  Only Marks & Spencer seems to have escaped unscathed on all counts.

In defence of the scheme, dubbed “Twickenham Regence-frication”, Councillor Pamela Ewing explained that “in less than a year a very run-down corner of Twickenham favoured by vagrants will become the jewel in the Borough’s crown, with a splendid new piazza and town crier.  We simply cannot let the rest of Twickenham fall by the wayside.   This is a simple solution that will please absolutely everybody.”

New: LBRuT offical signage guidance

Contributor: Rich Monrode

LINK:
* LBRuT Press Release 1st April 2017

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Wow! A Twickenham High Street Update

Wow! You just won’t believe what Twickenham town centre looks like now!!

Clickbait, eh?  Hate or despise it you just can’t ignore it. Here at twickerati HQ we’re not in the business of using sensationalist headlines to try to draw in readers. Well, not all the time anyway but we do allow ourselves the odd exception. So what has been happening over the last few months then? Well, quite a lot since you (almost) asked. Here’s our round up of the recent real changes and the alternative facts on the mean streets of south west London’s premier leafy suburb.

On York Street, estate agents Haart will no longer be where your home is. They’ve closed. You’ll just have to buy or sell your house at one of the many other agents in Twickenham. So sad. Just along from them, poshly named Hugo Oliver, purveyors of luxury bathrooms, is now open for business in what used to be the Rugby Store and before that the Bottoms Up off licence. With Bensons for Beds just across the road and some other new businesses on Heath Road there does seem to be some kind of a ‘home improvementification hub’ developing in the town. That was part of the famous Twickenham Action Plan, aka the TWAP, if you recall.

 

Hugo Oliver. In the rain.

Hugo Oliver. In the rain.

On London Road, Happicraft has sold its last pram and completed its final 100 piece jigsaw puzzle. As with many other sellers of ‘things’, competition from online retailers proved too strong in the end. Many local parents were sad to see it go.  The building is now a pop-up charity shop for the Octavia Foundation. Continue reading

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Twickenham High Street Update (Yet Again)

When the going gets tough, the shops get going… from our town centres.  Harsh? Yes. True? Probably.  In our latest High Street Update we cover the usual array of departures but some good arrivals too. In fact with all these comings and goings it’s busier than Heathrow Terminal 6!

Costa Coffee has now been open for a couple of months on London Road.  It’s where Mail Boxes and the Princess Alice Hospice charity shop used to be.  Costa obviously spotted a gap in the market in Twickenham, a very tiny gap indeed.  Nero. Check. Starbucks. Check. Costa. Check. We’ve got ’em.  Add to that the likes of The Press Room (good coffee, btw), Corto (awesome almond croissants),  Cafe Zizou, York Street Cafe, Ruben’s Bakehouse, Sapori TW1,  Caffe Roma, Harris & Hoole, Rosie Chai and err, all the others and we reckon that Twickenham’s got  its tea and coffee bases covered for the time being don’t you? Room for one more?  On Water Lane, where Emily’s furniture store was, The German Bakery is up and running selling bread, cakes, coffee and enough gluten-free products to keep the most ardent gluten-phobe happy.

Costa, London Road, Twickenham

Costa, London Road, Twickenham

Talking of national chains which we sort of were, The Old Anchor pub on Richmond Road has been converted into flats with a mini Co-op supermarket on the ground floor. It’s due to open round about now and joins the ranks of Tesco, Sainsbury and M&S Food in the great pantheon of ‘express’ supermarkets in the town. Continue reading

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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

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Twickenham High Street Update – Spring 2016

In January we did something of a bumper High Street Update as it had been many months since our last shops-related confession. But that was January and this is now and there’s more to tell. Things have happened. In telling you this tale we’re going to go with the theme of brevity and we hope you’re going to buy into it because we really need you with us on this journey. Let us begin…

Food Sanctuary, York Street

Food Sanctuary, new on York Street

Marc Jason’s Shoeworld, purveyors of cheap footwear to the TWs is closing down. To be fair, with its endless sales and discount banners it has always looked as if it’s been on the brink of closing but the words ‘closing down’ in the window do seem to be a big, big clue as to its current state.  We don’t know if Marc Jason has other ‘worlds’ beyond Shoeworld but it does seem to be the end of the line for this particular Heath Road outlet. The shop has lasted longer than you might think although we do say this without any insights as to how your brain actually works. So, how long do you think it’s been open? Two years? Three? And the answer is….  almost four and a half years. Plenty of other places have come and gone in that time. Continue reading

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Twickenham High Street Update – January 2016

It’s been a while. It’s been a long, long while. A twickerati High Street Update is something of a rarity these days but we’ve pulled out all the stops to brighten up your January with tales from Twickertown. Unfortunately they’re not all good…

Laverstoke, closing in Twickenham

Laverstoke, closing in Twickenham

Posh butchers, Laverstoke Park Farm is to close its doors this month after more than four years in the town. The purveyor of high quality organic meat, complete with prices to match, had been part of what seemed like a bit of a foodie boom in Twickenham when considered alongside the likes of Sandys and Rubens Bakehouse but it’s decided to cash in its steak. Geddit? There’s a notice in the store window saying that despite their best efforts it just wasn’t working out financially. We’re not privy to the precise details but, what was telling, was the contrast between the queue outside Sandys on Christmas Eve and the queue, or rather lack of one, outside Laverstoke. Perhaps it just didn’t manage to build up the base of loyal regular customers necessary to make it a viable proposition in the town. Or perhaps the prices were just too high for Twickenham? This isn’t la-di-da Teddington after all!

On the opposite corner of Wharf Lane, the Italian Design menswear shop has gone. It didn’t last long. From the off it always looked like place that was going to struggle to survive among the cafes, charity shops and sprinkling of chain stores on King Street. It’s now been replaced by Season Cookshop which sells all sorts of kitcheny type things, the type that you might actually want, and a rather fetching Thermos mug at twickerati HQ is testament to that. It could do well. Continue reading

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Twickenham Summer High Street Update

Just so you know that we’re still alive here at twickerati HQ and haven’t given up on the website completely we thought we’d rush out this bumper summer sizzler of an update for all you lovely people to read while you’re on holiday, stuck on an overcrowded train or whatever it is that you do during the so-called Great British Summer. And in case you’re wondering what happened to the idea of some kind of twickerati 2.0 ‘collaboration meeting’ about how we might take things forward into a whole new era (or not) then that’s something that still might happen but after the summer holidays.

As ever, by now you’re screaming, “Get the muthaflippin point” at your monitor, phone or tablet. And do you know what? We will, we bloody well will. So here’s our very quick rundown on recent high street additions and departures in case you’ve been just too unobservant to notice them for yourself…

There’s a fair bit going on in Church Street. The Church Street Food Hall is now open for business in the former Langton’s book shop. It’s got the whole deli vibe going on with cheeses and fancy-dan jars of things as well as a selection of wines from Borough Wines and bread from local baker Blackbird Bread. Worth a look inside.

Church Street Food Hall

Church Street Food Hall

The former London Zu shop is now The Bloomery, a new florist. We reckon a decent flower shop could do well in Church Street given that it doesn’t have much competition slap bang in the town centre. Obviously for those really special occasions there’s still the Shell petrol station on Richmond Road but this will have to suffice at other times.

The Bloomery, Twickenham

The Bloomery, Twickenham

Twitter rumblings have alerted us to the impending arrival of Warren Wines at 56 Church Street in the place that was Complement jewellery and, before that, Toko. It’s an independent outfit that will have a heavy focus of wine tastings and education. Sounds good but we hope it does plenty to get itself noticed as that shop unit is a little bit… how shall we say.. tucked away behind Pincho.

Elsewhere in Church Street, the Sheer Laser Clinic has opened at number 17, near the Delhi Durbar. Laser clinics seem to be popping up all over the place these days, don’t they? Is the UK, as a nation,  growing more unwanted hair than in days of yore? It’s a big question but we’re not going to attempt to answer it…  let alone Google it.

And speaking of beauty, which we sort of were, Raksa Thai Therapy  has opened in the former Coffee Lab shop on King Street. A new Rush Hair and Beauty salon is now open on King Street and if it’s “almost new designer wear” that you’re after then Dynasty is new on Cross Deep near Headmasters.  Scrub up nicely don’t you Twickenham?

IMG_7334

Elsewhere Cook, purveyors of posh frozen food  to the ‘time poor’ has closed its London Road branch. The place is soon to be a new cafe, The Press Room, filling that caffeine free zone that exists between Caffe Nero and Lulu’z. There’s already a Press Room in Suburbiton so this new Twickers shop is an expansion for them.

The Press Room, TW1

The Press Room, TW1

Also on London Road, the Money Shop or whatever it was called has ceased doing whatever it did and is now doing that elsewhere. There also seem to be some signs of life at the long defunct Wishbone butchers on King Street next door to Cousins the greengrocer. Could something really be about to happen there or is it just a facelift in advance of the rugby world cup?

This used to do something or other

This used to do something or other

Mac’s Diner has closed. The owners worked hard to publicise their restaurant and it housed the indoor market stalls for a while last year but (and we’re purely speculating here) perhaps its first floor location didn’t help matters especially when up against the influx of new American / BBQ themed competition in town. Word is that Curves gym will be moving into the space above M&S. (We has heard on Twitter that it was  Riley’s sports bar being replaced by a gym but we’ve been corrected on that point. On Facebook)

On Heath Road, the short-lived Royal Spice Indian restaurant and takeaway has closed. It is, or rather was, the place where Amins was based for a good few years. You’re now  left with about a dozen others to choose from.

Sticking with food for a second, on London Road, Steers has now opened in what used to be Wimpy. It’s a kind of beefed-up burger bar all the way from South Africa and, as it happens, it’s part of the same group as Wimpy. Meanwhile let us know how you’re getting on with the rest of the carnivore’s quartet: Chicago Rib Shack, Blue’s Smokehouse, The Shack 68 on London Road. Or maybe share you’re views on other fairly recent openings, the new Malaysian Chuba Rasa or Sapori Siciliani.

And finally two things that will have you rushing to Heath Road just to take a look. As you know, Albert’s Music Shop is no more but what you might not fully appreciate is that if you have unfulfilled vacuum cleaner needs you can visit Seldram Supplies which has sprung up where Alberts was. It’s certainly got an interesting window display. We think it’s gone for ‘suburban French trading estate’ chic. And why the hell not, eh?

Seldram Supplies. For all your vacuum cleaner spares requirements

Seldram Supplies. For all your vacuum cleaner spares requirements

And the squatters who had occupied the old Scrubys furniture shop have moved on (or been moved on). We’re now privileged to enjoy the giant metal shutters that have been put up to deter a repeat performance. If you have any complaints about the new ‘run down inner city’ look in Twickenham then feel free to direct them to Tesco who own the site. They’re sure to give you their full and urgent attention.

No squatters here.

No squatters here, just shutters.

 

The end! We’ve probably missed a few things but that’s all you’re getting for now. Bye!

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High Street Update – Spring

Our last High Street Update was way, way back in February. It was a time when the election, new road surfaces, bust-ups over school sites and questions about landscape gardening seemed but distant dreams. Halcyon days some might think. But we are where we are. And where are we? We’re in the place where it’s time for a quick update.

Food Hall goes here...

Food Hall goes here…

Let us begin with some good news. The launch of the new food emporium in Twickenham is getting ever closer. The Church Street Food Hall plans to open its doors in May. It will be in the former Langtons book shop premises on Church Street. The responsible adults behind the scheme have steamed up with various providers of essential victuals, including the likes of Borough Wines, to bring a range of food and drink to the twickerati (that’s you, btw). It’s an interesting idea and we wish them well. Will the new food hall help bring in the extra footfall that Church Street so badly needs? Let’s hope so. It needs it.

Church Street Food Hall poster (click to enlarge)

Church Street Food Hall poster (click to enlarge)

Staying in Church Street, Wild Goose has flown the nest and we hear rumours that another store very nearby may soon be bidding farewell to Twickenham. On a more positive note, the Lovers Lights pop-up shop that has been occupying the old Mercado store is moving a few doors down to take up residence in Monica Boxley’s old place.

My word, we’ve got all this way in our update without a single mention of a new cafe. How can this be? Well, to assuage your concern we can report that the former cafe Bellissimo on London Road has had a makeover and is now open longer and later and describing itself as a cafe / restaurant. Good luck to ’em is what we say. Continue reading

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