Tag Archives: LBRUT

Richmond Council to Merge Operations with Wandsworth

The seat of El Brute power

The seat of El Brute power

The dream of an independent Twickenham took another blow this week when Richmond and Wandsworth Councils announced plans to create a ‘shared staffing arrangement’ across the two boroughs. The expectation is that the new model will deliver savings of £10m per annum in the two local authorities once it goes live in March 2017.

Fans of El Brute can take some reassurance that the each council will retain its separate status with its own elected officials. So, if you were expecting some kind of super-authority with fewer councillors you’ll be disappointed. Ah well, another time maybe. The arrangement will initially deliver savings in management costs but cost reductions in service commissioning and provision are expected to follow.

At the top of the tree the two councils will be managed by a single Chief Executive and single Deputy Chief Exec. These are expected to be Paul Martin, currently Chief Executive at Wandsworth (Richmond’s Gillian Norton will retire in 2016) with Mark Maidment as his Deputy (currently El Brute’s Director of Finance and Corporate Services). Well, at least the head honcho issue has been resolved nice and early.

And as for Kingston Council with which Richmond had been flirting for some time in search of new ways to jointly commission and provide services, El Brute Leader Lord True, aka the Blue Baron, said, “We could not agree on a single, joint management approach which could work effectively for both authorities”. Bam! So, it looks like a case of, “Sod you, you can have the bloody Gloriana and be done with it”.

With councils across the country needing to make big savings, it makes sense for them to look for new ways to cut costs. What this means for the residents and businesses of Richmond, Wandsworth and, of course, Twickenham who use their services remains to be seen. Indeed, what this means for those currently employed by the two councils remains to be seen too. The intention is that each council will retain its own identity and be able to focus on its own priorities. How this new model actually works in practice with a shared infrastructure supporting two boroughs is likely to be the biggest challenge of the new approach. What does it all mean? Will it succeed? Only you know the answers to those questions… and our dear leaders, of course.

LINK:
* Richmond Council Press Release

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Twickenham School Site Scrap?

School goes here

School goes in the middle of here?

[STOP PRESS: The change of use application has now been withdrawn. See update at the end. ]

There’s nothing quite like planning committees and schools to get people all hot under the collar in Twickenham. That whole ‘neck / collar interface’ is getting decidedly warm near Twickenham Green as one of the recently approved free schools seeks to turn an office block into its new primary school. What office block is that, we hear you cry. Well it’s Heathgate House which sits between Heath Road and Colne Road by Twickenham Green. It’s a building that has had intermittent use over recent years and now GEMS Learning Trust are proposing to convert it into their new Twickenham Primary Academy.
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Richmond Literature Festival

RICHMOND LIT FEST logo (with dates_colour)Words. They didn’t come easy to singing Frenchman F.R. David in his boring yet surprisingly successful early 80s hit of that name but there are plenty of them coming up in the Borough over the weeks ahead. Why? It’s the return of the Richmond Literature Festival, that’s why. Here at twickerati HQ we thought that a quick preview of the event would work well and would work even better if we could get someone else to write it for us. Carla Bromhead from the London Borough upon Thames Arts Service has volunteered to be just that someone. These are her words…

“The Richmond Literature Festival will once again take place throughout November, bringing a range of exciting literary events to the borough. This year’s main programme features a range of literary figures and personalities covering a variety of subjects including history, music, art, politics and war. Highlights include the esteemed actor Sheila Hancock at the Orange Tree Theatre and British Museum curator, Irving Finkel discussing his discovery of an ancient Babylonian tablet which was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary recently.

As part of the festival, the Richmond Shakespeare Society (usually based at the Mary Wallace Theatre in Twickenham) will be celebrating the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth with a special performance titled Love’s Fool in the Octagon Room at Orleans House Gallery. Twickenham will also welcome Charles Beauclerk whom will be discussing his biography of the pianist John Ogdon.

Strawberry Hill House will be the atmospheric location for an evening delving into the English obsession with vampires in a talk with acclaimed writers Essie Fox and Lynn Shepherd. It will also be the venue for BBC Antiques Roadshow’s Marc Allum to tell the tales of his discoveries in the intriguing market of antiques. And at the end of the festival, when you’re starting to feel slightly Christmassy, Kneller Hall will host an evening with Andrew Gant, composer and former choirmaster at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, to dissect the stories behind our well known carols and kick start the Christmas season (mince pies included!)

The Literature Festival is also very proud to be working in partnership with St Mary’s University on a series of events held examining the art of writing.

Tell us which festival events you’re looking forward to or add your reviews in the comments below.”

LINKS:
* For more information on all the events in this year’s festival programme and to book tickets: visit www.richmondliterature.com or call 020 8831 6494

* Keep up to date with festival news and share your thoughts on Twitter @richmondlitfest

* ‘Words’ by FR David (Warning: contains tedious repetition)

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And in Other News… Schools (Again)

Another month, another bit of school news. Or in this case, not one, not two but three pieces of schools related information that fall under the banner of FYI.

Richmond College

Richmond College

You’re already familiar with the plan to develop a Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus on the current Richmond College site at Egerton Road in Twickenham aren’t you? It’s the joint partnership between the College, El Brute, Harlequins and Haymarket Media. As part of the plans a new secondary school will be established, opening in 2017. In fact, you’re probably already thinking, “Didn’t I already comment on that proposal a while back?” And you’d be bloody right too. There was indeed an opportunity to feedback on the initial plans but now you’ve got another one. Yes really. This time it’s a chance to find out more about the detailed proposals. Deja vu all over again? Maybe, but in more depth. The consultation will be on the REEC website and there will also be drop-in sessions at Richmond College on 21st October and 4th November.  The canvassing of views about a revamped site comes at time when the college has garnered more column inches in the Richmond & Twickenham Times. On this occasion it’s about drug taking and dealing in the playground on Craneford Way allegedly by college students. Continue reading

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More TWAP for Twickenham

Some TWAP going on

Some TWAP going on

We’ve all been enjoying the road works in Twickenham over the last few months, haven’t we? After all, who doesn’t like a good old queue? We’re British, we were born to it. The good news is that more roadworks are on the way and, as with the last lot, it’s all in a good cause, the TWAP. Newer readers may not be familiar with El Brute’s Twickenham Area Action Plan (aka The TWAP) but it’s all about improving Twickenham. Unfortunately the Council seem to be making increasing use of the phrase ‘Twickenham Rediscovered’ for this work which makes it sound like we should be lacing up stout footwear and filling our Thermos flasks for a stroll through our historic town rather than watching pavements get widened and roads get dug up.

The latest stage in ‘Project Twickenham’ will see a re-vamp of the junction of King Street, York Street and London Road. It will take place between 11th and 25th August. In the first stage London Road will be closed with traffic being diverted via York Street and Arragon Road while in the second phase York Street will be closed with traffic going via London Road and Arragon Road. In other words, avoid it if you can. And as a warm up there will also be some night time resurfacing of the Arragon Road / London Road junction between 28th and 30th July.

The work will also involve the introduction of a cycle contraflow running from west to east/north on Holly Road. And if you thought Holly Road wasn’t actually wide enough to accommodate a cycle contraflow then you might find one or two others to agree with you.

After months of work most locals will be looking forward to the finished article and here at twickerati HQ we fall into that category. The work so far seems to have speeded up the flow of traffic through King Street at the expense of bigger jams in surrounding roads. But, as Grace sang way back in 1995, “It’s not over yet”. We’ll take those wise words on board, nod respectfully and wait on.

To sum it all up: It’s jam today but will it also be jam tomorrow?

Twickenham (bathed in evening light)

Twickenham (bathed in evening light)

LINK:
* LBRuT Press Release

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Pic of the Week: A Lego Boathouse

Here at twickerati HQ we like a challenge and we also like to be helpful. Like many people we’ve been struggling to get our brains around the true size of the Gloriana boathouse plan. Will it be big? Will it be small? How will it look in Orleans Gardens? What will be its true size? With that in mind we set out to do what neither Foster & Partners nor Richmond Council have managed to do so far, and that’s to translate the proposed boathouse size into something that everyone can understand. So through the medium of Lego we did just that. A Lego person is 4cm high, assume that to be 1.77m tall and scale that up to El Brute’s possible external dimensions (cited at the consultation) of a 36m long, 12m wide and 7m high building. Voila! We’ve got ourselves the basics of a little boathouse, God bless us. But then we ran out of Lego.

Boathouse (Lego scale)

Boathouse (Lego scale)

Lego Gloriana boathouse

Lego Gloriana boathouse

You can’t comment on this item, but our current Gloriana thread is open for business and can be accessed here.

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Filed under Council, Gloriana boathouse, Local Issues & News, Pix of the Week, Random Stuff

The Twickenham Gloriana Experience (now with added poll, pictures & updates)

So busy has this item become that we’ve added an updates section. Click Here to go directly to it. And it’s also worth noting that the comments stretch back over two pages so look out for the ‘older comments’ button when you get to the end.
[Edit: this article has been superseded by a more up to date article here and another here.]

Previously, on twickerati…
Welcome to ‘Gloriana World’ at Twickenham! Don’t knock it, it could be coming soon to a river near you. The royal barge Gloriana ‘off of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee’ needs a home. The proposal coming from Lord True, sorry, we mean Richmond Council, is that a new, purpose-built boat house at Orleans Gardens could be just the ticket. And what’s more, we’re not just talking solely about a boat house, we’re talking about a visitors centre, new cafe and new play area too.

Gloriana at Twickenham in 2012

Gloriana at Twickenham in 2012

Here at twickerati HQ, we like to mix a bit of nimbyism with support for progress and change. It’s an odd mix. It sometimes works but it does also mean we get nervous when presented with grand solutions to problems that we didn’t know existed.

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Pics of the Week: King Street In Flux

When it comes to pomp and ceremony we’re better than the Queen or at least equal to her. The changing of the guard. The trooping of the colour. What do they say to you? Tradition? Days when Great Britain really was great? Tourists getting in the bloody way? All of the above, maybe? But we don’t actually care about SW1, we care about TW1 and Twickenham now has its own version of these esteemed traditions. We are, of course, talking about ‘the moving of the bus stops’ and ‘the widening of the pavements’. These two great ceremonies have become central to Twickenham life over recent months and, judging by some of the feedback on here and on Twitter, might still be for some time to come.

It’s a TWAP thing of course (that’s the Twickenham Action Plan, btw). Under the TWAP King Street is to become a more pleasant environment with no bus stops, wider pavements, more bike parking and with vehicle traffic flowing safely and sedately through it. That’s the theory. During the work the traffic in adjacent streets like Heath Road and Cross Deep seems to have got worse. Some think it will stay like that. We must not rush to judgement. Now, we all know that to be one of the most irritating and pompous phrases around but it also carries truth. It would be unfair to rule on the success or otherwise of the plan until all the work is complete but we cannot stop people from speculating in the meantime. In fact, we actively encourage it.

Wider pavements

Some width in Twickenham

Some width in Twickenham

Central reservation changes

DIg for TWAP victory!

Dig for a TWAP victory!

But don’t just listen to us, have your say too.

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Richmond Election Result Special – Conservatives Increase LBRuT Majority

polling station sign in lbrutThe polls are closed, the counting is complete and the seismic shift in the political landscape of the borough has… drum roll… not happened. With all wards now declared, the Conservatives have held Richmond – no surprise there – but with an increased majority. In 2010 the Council comprised 30 Tory councillors and 24 Lib Dems. After yesterday’s vote, that now becomes 39 Conservatives and 15 Liberal Democrats.

East Sheen has returned three Tory Councillors, including the Blue Baron himself, making another episode of The True-man Show a certainty.

“And what of Twickenham?” you cry. Well, in Twickenham Riverside there were rumblings of a possible upset especially with the UKIP charge being led by Tory defector and station-opposer Scott Naylor. The result? The Conservatives returned three councillors, just like in 2010. Susan Chappell the incumbent topped the list followed by newbies Benedict Dias and Helen Hill. The Lib Dems led the ‘also rans’, then the Green Party candidate, then Labour and bringing up the rear, Scott Naylor and his fellow Ukippers. UKIP’s strong campaigning yielded fewer than 300 votes for each candidate. Ouch! We wonder if ‘Nails’ might have actually fared better standing as an independent.

In St Margarets and North Twickenham, previously a split ward, the Liberal Democrats picked up all three seats, a gain of one councillor at the expense of Conservative Chris Harrison. If you live in that ward, Geoff Acton, Ben Khosa and newbie Alexander Ehmann are your class reps.

South Twickenham stayed blue as Clare Head, David Marlow and David Porter all held their seats with very comfortable majorities. There was no UKIP presence here seat although the Green candidate did beat the Labour trio.

In West Twickenham, what was previously a ward of three Lib Dems has ended up with a yellow and blue split with Liberal Democrats Piers Allen and Helen Lee-Parsons being joined by Tory Jane Boulton. Heathfield returned two conservative and one Lib Dem, a gain of one blue seat over 2010. And that forms a bit of a theme in other wards across the Borough with the Conservatives gaining individual seats from the Lib Dems here and there, such as in Fulwell and Hampton Hill, Hampton, and Hampton North, to give them their increased majority.

Interestingly, the Conservatives’ share of the vote was unchanged from 2010, 44.9% compared to 44.3%, while the Lib Dem share dropped from 42.2% to 31.8%. The Lib Dem votes appear to have gone to Labour and the Greens who both increased their share compared to 4 years ago (12.5% v 9.5% and 6% v 2.5% respectively). With 3.9%, UKIP made a small impression. It’s hard to think of disaffected Lib Dems going purple so perhaps these ‘newKips’ came from the blue corner which, given the stability of the Tory share, could suggest some Lib Dems defecting to the Conservatives to make up that shortfall. Either way, this feels a lot like an election lost by the Liberal Democrats rather than won by the Conservatives. Turnout was 46%.

The Conservatives will be delighted with the result and the Liberal Democrats will be left pondering what went wrong for them. And perhaps Vince Cable will be getting a little nervous as he looks ahead to next year’s general election.

So there you have it, check back soon for more news and views.

Happy now?

LINKS:
* El Brute Results Page
* BBC Politics
* Richmond & Twickenham Times

[post updated to reflect final results]

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