There’s bad news on the local jobs and business front today. Greggs, purveyors of bread, pies and pasties to the nation, has announced that it is to close three of its UK bakeries as part of a corporate re-organisation. The three facing closure are in Edinburgh, Lincolnshire and in Gould Road right here in Twickenham. The company expects to lose 355 jobs as part of the process which is designed to shift focus away from being a traditional baker and more towards selling ‘food-on-the-go’ products. Yes, and these can even include salads. At the same time, the company has said it intends to upgrade its Enfield bakery in north London.
What does this all mean for the large Greggs site tucked away in the side streets between the Green and the River Crane? It’s too early to speculate… but we will anyway. Would a business of similar scale move in there? Seems unlikely so perhaps it’s time to start a book on whether it gets divided up into industrial units, turned into a school or, let’s hazard a wild guess here, gets snapped up for extensive residential development.
So, no more bakery trucks clattering through the narrow roads but it’s bad news for business, bad news for jobs and bad news for those who enjoy the smell of doughnuts wafting through the TW2 evening air.
Greggs Bakery, Gould Road, Twickenham
* BBC News
Massive, great long sagas about school sites. We can only assume these do actually form part of official national policy when it comes to the provision of school places. We just can’t get enough of them can we? Time for an update on sites for much needed local school places? Yep. Then let us begin. And put your smartphone away and pay attention at the back!
East-side: Remember the new Richmond Bridge primary school that was going to be in East Twickenham but then wasn’t and then announced that it was going to be called something else and based at London House on the A316 near East Sheen but then opened in 2016 in temporary accommodation at Richmond Adult College in Parkshot in Richmond? You do? That’s great because you’ve saved us the job of trying to explain it all. Deer Park School it’s called. Anyway, that school has just announced it’s found a permanent home which isn’t London House after all but is in fact Ryde House in East Twickenham. You’d be forgiven for wondering if that wasn’t one of the early suggestions for the school site… because you’d be right. But Lidl (off of cheap food) bought it and that seemed to scupper that. But wait! Hot news arrives from East Twickenham that Ryde House is now set to become a ‘mixed retail and school development’. It’s an interesting idea. It could work. But will it work? We don’t know (obviously) but you might. Shopping and schooling on the same site could make for a very busy little corner of the borough.
The last few days have seen some very high tides in Twickenham complete with the usual array of flooded cars on Embankment. We especially liked this photo from near St Mary’s Church taken by @twickerman and posted on Twitter. Not bad, eh?
Eel Pie Island, High Tide (Feb 2016)
Photo credit: @twickerman
Take care out there… and park wisely!
* Government Flood Warnings Map
* Environment Agency Flood Alerts
Twelve months ago we reported how the Twickenham ‘country retreat’ of artist JMW Turner had received Heritage Lottery funding to carry out essential restoration work and put in facilities to open it up to the public. It was a good news story to kick off 2015. However, it now seems that the funds raised so far aren’t going to be quite enough to finish the job so now the Turner’s House Trust is looking to make up the difference from crowdsourced funding. (That’s the like of you lot, btw). A £25,000 target has been set.
Turner’s House, Twickenham
The Grade II listed house, Sandycombe Lodge, was designed by Turner in 1813 and used by him until he sold it in 1826. Heritage Lottery funding and other grants and donations have contributed to the majority of the £2.4m project costs but a last push to close the funding gap is now running until early March.
According to a BBC News report ‘inflation and building costs’ have meant the original estimates for the work had to be revised upwards. Donors are being offered inducements such as preview tours ahead of public opening and a printmaking workshop led by artist Sasa Marinkov. Time to dig deep for this piece of local history?
In the meantime, if anyone has ever met a builder who’s looked at a half-finished job, folded their arms across their chest, nodded solemnly and said, “Great news, this project is actually going to come in under budget!” we suggest you put them in touch with Turners House Trust asap. In fact, why not tell all of us.
Oh dear. That wasn’t supposed to happen, was it? And yet, at the same time, it was all so predictable. The results of the El Brute consultation on its Twickenham riverside and town square proposals have been published and it seems that the locals are not hugely impressed. So much for ‘design competitions’, pop up shops and positive spin from York House, the regency style scheme featuring amphitheatre, colonnade, shops and up to 40 flats does not seem to have wowed the twickerati (that’s you lot by the way).
The results have been analysed by ‘customer feedback solutions’ gurus Snap Surveys who probably know more about this kind of thing than you do and it’s pretty clear that the negative responses far outweigh the positive ones. The accompanying LBRuT press release says, “The Council and the architects will now carry out a detailed review of the ideas and comments put forward by the public before coming forward with ideas for development”. It goes on to say that the Council ‘understands’ it needs to reconsider its approach to a number of areas. It certainly does.
Twickenham Embankment from Eel Pie Bridge
Although like any survey the results are open to interpretation, some things stand out very clearly in the themes that Snap Surveys focused on. Of 754 responses received there were just 93 comments that felt the plans met the needs of the local community. That’s 12%. Not great, especially when the purpose of the plan was (and we hope still is) to regenerate the site and open up the town centre to the river. Twenty comments in the 754 were positive about the architecture. That’s 3% which, in case you’re not too good at maths, is not great either. As for the amphitheatre, 35 comments liked that. It’s true that calculating percentages out of themed responses isn’t exactly scientific even if it is fun, so do start taking pinches of salt when you get your calculator out. Continue reading
There’s growing concern locally about the recent Ministry of Defence announcement of plans to sell Kneller Hall. The sale of the Hall in Whitton will form part of wider MoD property strategy to raise funds and plug funding gaps. It is sure to have developers rubbing their hands at the prospect of acquiring the listed building and its adjoining land. Kneller Hall is home to the Royal Military School of Music and has been home to Army bands since it was taken on by the War Office in 1857. The prospect of breaking that 150 year link and seeing the listed building pass into private ownership has met with strong opposition from local people, local councillors of both the blue and yellow persuasion and Twickenham MP Tania Mathias.
Dr Mathias has said she was ‘dismayed’ to hear the announcement of the plans and that she will be fighting against them. She has asked to meet with ministers to try to persuade them to reverse the decision. Meanwhile Council Leader Nick True, aka the Blue Baron, has got himself into ‘slamming mode’ once again. In an El Brute press release he says, “This is a decision which the people of Twickenham and Richmond-upon-Thames Council will seek to resist in any way possible… Kneller Hall is an important piece of not just local, but national cultural and military heritage. It should not be tossed away to please junior accounting clerks in the Treasury with no understanding of the place of military music in London’s life and our nation’s military history.” Wallop! ‘Ave it! In your faces ‘Junior accounting clerks in the Treasury’, you have been warned!
An online petition has been set up to try to save the Kneller Hall from being sold off. To be continued…
* Save Kneller Hall Facebook
* Online Petition
* Richmond Council page
* Tania Mathias MP page
* Kneller Hall – Army site
* Kneller Hall – wikipedia
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
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
Eel Pie Island’s rich music heritage includes many famous names. Some of them are greats, a few of them genuinely deserve the title ‘legend’. One such legend, David Bowie, died today at the age of 69. Michele Whitby is a Twickenham resident and curator of the Eel Pie Island Museum which ran as a pop up exhibition at Twickenham Library last year. In this short piece, Michele, a huge Bowie fan, gives her take on the passing of someone whose nascent creative genius touched this part of London many decades ago…
11th JAN 2016. ‘Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.’
Being woken to the words ‘Mum, David Bowie has died’ coming from my daughter’s mouth at 7am this morning was not what I had in mind to start the week. My first thought was ‘please let it be one of those hoaxes’, my second was ‘if it’s true, then he orchestrated the release of his final album in perfect Bowie style’. Then I cried.
My daughter understood my tears and hugged me. After all ‘Starman’ was the song I chose to sing her as a lullaby when she was little and she has grown up listening to his music. She loved the line from his song ‘Kooks’, written for his own son, ‘And if the homework brings you down then we’ll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown’ (we were actually able to do this when we moved to a boat with a wood-burning stove!). She was as mesmerised as I by the fabulous V&A Bowie exhibition and it is testament to his genius that he could effortlessly engage different generations through his output of brilliant music. Continue reading
It’s the beginning of January and the daffodils are out at Orleans House Gallery. In fact, this lot were already up and blooming before we’d said goodbye to 2015. Perhaps we’re in the middle of ‘the winter that never was’. Whether or not that proves to be the case we wish you all very best wishes for 2016. Happy New Year!
January daffs at OHG