Tag Archives: hyperlocal

Council Tax Freeze Thaws

The recent years of no or very low increases to Council Tax are over. Residents in the Borough are now seeing bills land on their doormats for increases of around 3.5% as Council budgets come under pressure from cuts to the funding received from central government. With bills frozen from 2009 to 2015 and with a modest increase last year, the new charges mark a big change. Our Dear Leaders at El Brute have said that cuts in these government grants mean that savings of £31m need to be found to cover the shortfall in order to maintain vital services but increasing Council Tax forms part of the plan too. For a Band D property the hike will average out at 3.55%, comprising 3.99% for Richmond’s own council tax and 1.46% towards the Greater London Authority.

A Council Tax pictured recently

LBRuT Deputy Leader, Big Sam (that’s Geoffrey Samuel not Sam Allardyce btw), said “With unprecedented Government cuts to our funding, and increased pressure on social care, it simply isn’t feasible to freeze the tax any more. We now need to find a new way to deliver future services, working more collaboratively with our residents and partners.  This will take time. The only way we can cover the costs of vital services for the next year is to raise Council Tax and the adult social care precept”.  Some of the savings will continue to flow from the merger of Richmond and Wandsworth Councils’ operations functions, others are no doubt ‘tbc’.

The seat of El Brute power

The rise comes at a time when business rates continue to cause concern for many local traders and when newly announced National Insurance increases for the self-employed will add financial pressure to many already feeling the pinch.

So, are you happy that El Brute says it is raising Council Tax to protect important services or hacked off that you’re facing an above inflation rise after years of stable bills? Err, or both at the same time maybe?

LINKS:
* LBRuT Press Release
* LBRuT Council Tax Page

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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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Filed under Food & Drink, High Street Updates, Local Issues & News

New Cinema Club for Twickenham

If you like watching classic and cult films which rarely get an airing on television or in cinemas then you’re in luck.  A new cinema club is launching in Twickenham to do just that.  Called, rather unsurprisingly, Twickenham Cinema Club, the aim of the new venture is to create a club run by members, for members. You can expect an eclectic mix of film with the idea that the members are the curators. There will also be a social element to screenings with an opportunity to chat before and afterwards. The opening film is 1945’s ‘Mildred Pierce‘ starring Joan Crawford. It’s something of a noir classic, a tale of ambition, struggle and mother daughter rivalry and is based on the novel by James M Cain whose other books include The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. How’s that for pedigree?

twickenham-cinema-club-logo

 

To join the club costs £10 per year with the first film free and subsequent films at £7. Otherwise it’s £10 on the door for non-members.  For local film buffs, the new club is a welcome complement to Richmond Film Society which has been running since 1963 and focuses on world cinema with screenings at St Mary’s University.

Mildred Pierce is showing at Patchworks at The Cabbage Patch pub on Wednesday February 8th.

 

LINK:

twickenham-cinema-club-debut-film

 

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Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff, What's on

It’s Thames Watergate! Dry Christmas Hits SW London

The was mild panic on Christmas morning across a swathe of South West London (and yes, that includes Twickenham) after a water pump failed at Thames Water’s Hampton works leaving thousands of homes with no water.  Here at twickerati HQ the pressure dropped to a level that there was just a trickle from the kitchen tap. For others in TW1 and TW2 there was no water whatsoever. Not ideal, especially on Christmas Day. And what does one do in a situation like that?  One takes to Twitter of course! Plenty of questions were being asked about when the service would be restored but also about whether it was possible to cook sprouts in wine and drink only alcohol for the day.  The White Swan were quick to point out that although they had no water they did have plenty of booze.

For those attempting to cook Christmas dinner there was there great debate about whether to press on or postpone.  Even at twickerati HQ the monumental step was taken to defer the arrival of 12 guests for an hour and a half as we waited for updates from Thames Water…. so there are always some positives to come out of situations of adversity.

After a few hours the problem was fixed, water was restored and thousands realised how reliant we all are on seemingly simple things like having water on tap (literally). But how was it for you?

 

Some water: in happier times

Some tap water: in happier times

 

LINK:

 

 

 

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Twickenham Christmas Lights Event – 27th November

Whilst we’re busy failing to bring you a round up of what’s going on in Twickenham, we thought we’d at least give a mention to the sizzlin’ spectacular Christmas Lights event taking place on Sunday 27th November. Put simply, it’s a Christmas event that’s taking place in Twickenham this Sunday, the 27th.

What’s on?  Plenty in and around King Street.  A Christmas market, a Santa’s grotto from 12.00pm and live entertainment from 2.30pm. Choo Choo! There are even train rides on one of those funny ‘petit train’ thingies.   There’s action in the Diamond Jubilee Gardens too. Oh, and look out for the reindeer.  The big switch on is at 5.30pm by the tree outside Santander.   Steve ‘off of the radio’ Allen will be doing the switch flicking.

 

Live nearer the Green? They’ll be turning a tree on there too.

 

LINK:

www.trytwickenham.com

(if it works for you)

 

Twickenham Christmas Tree

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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 http://www.richmond.gov.uk/

Possible Twickenham Embankment design
From LBRuT website, http://www.richmond.gov.uk

Continue reading

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Filed under Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

Brick Throwing Man Causes Heath Road Closure

A police helicopter buzzing overhead, Heath Road closed by police and a guy on a roof who has been chucking tiles and bricks into the street below. Not a typical start to a Saturday in Twickenham but that’s what we have had this morning.

Apparently the police went to a flat above a parade of shops on Heath Road at about 4.00am. A person then went up onto the roof and began throwing bricks and tiles into the street below. The road was then closed to prevent injury to passers by and it’s been that way now for several hours.

The situation is ongoing. Plenty of police are on the scene, including some equipped with riot shields, but so far they have opted to wait it out rather than risk injury or escalation, presumably with the person’s safety in mind.

With buses on diversion and rugby traffic heading to Twickenham is could make for a chaotic morning on the local roads.

UPDATE:
The situation continued into the early afternoon with the fire brigade and ambulance service in attendance. At one point he was heard calling for Coke and chocolate. Eventually the man, wearing not much by way of clothing but wrapped in the same red blanket that he had been wearing whilst on the roof, was taken down in a cherry picker and taken off in an ambulance, with medical attention perhaps being a priority in this instance.

 

Man throws object from roof.

(Pic courtesy of Olivier Fusil  / @olivierfusil on Twitter)

Man on roof

Man on roof

 

And here’s the man being taken down off the roof. (Video courtesy of Duncan Stone  / @DuncanCStone)

 

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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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Council Publishes Twickenham Riverside Feedback

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

Water Lane car park - Twickenham riverside

Water Lane car park – Twickenham riverside

 

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

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