If you thought you’d had your fill of chances to ‘have your say’ on the expansion of Heathrow then you’d be wrong. If you thought that as a local resident your views would count for very little when stacked up against those of politicians and business, then you’d be right. Hey ho, that’s the way it goes but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have your say yet again in a brand new exercise. There are even things you can turn up to in Twickenham and other local towns.
This time it’s a Government consultation on their ‘approved’ option for a new third runway to the north west of the current two. It was launched recently and runs until 25th May and so there’s plenty of time for your views to be discounted. In launching the consultation, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling referenced leaving the EU as a reason why building airport capacity at Heathrow is ‘crucial’ for UK growth and thus the endless years of debate about Heathrow have become Brexitified. With Gatwick beaten into second place, expansion at Heathrow looks certain to happen, unless of course it takes so long to reach a final, final, final agreement that Star Trek style teleporting technology supersedes cramming people into giant metal tubes with engines tacked on the sides. The current thinking seems to be that a new north west runway could be delivered by 2026, so let’s call that 2032 to be on the safe side. It might even be finished before the new Twickenham station!
Plane landing at Heathrow
Here’s a scene that raises one simple question. Why? These new flats on Heath Road, called Twickenham House, have given rise to some comedy paving or perhaps it’s actually modern art, we’re not entirely sure. What seems to have happened is that once upon a time there was a pavement with a line of edging stones next to a building, then some hoardings were put up to allow construction work to take place and then the builders decided to make the line of the hoardings the precise line for the intersection of the old pavement and their attempt at new paving. The result? Something that looks like this…
But is it art?
If that’s the quality of finishing for the outside space we can only hope that they’ve done a better job on the inside. Is it actually finished? We don’t know but we hope Richmond Council’s planning bods are taking a long hard look at it, assuming their eyes can stay focused on it. Paving stones? Paving stoned more like.
new flats with ‘comedy paving’ on Heath Road
You may recall that these are the very same flats where the developers’ boards promised views across Mediterranean rooftops rather than of a suburban railway bridge and a Tesco Express. I suppose we now have to call these things ‘alternative facts’. It’s a funny old world.
Twickenham House on Heath Road
Room with a view… of the Med.
Views across the Med
Some sky (for planes)
And in other news this week, Boris Johnson’s vision of a brand spanking new hub airport in the Thames Estuary got put out to pasture by the Airports Commission. Top commission bod, Sir Howard Davies seemed to think it was all a bit of an Eton Mess and decreed it “not the right answer” to the connectivity needs of London and the rest of the UK. In fact he expressed “serious doubts about the delivery and operation” of the plan. This means that we’re now down to a straight fight between Heathrow and Gatwick for handling extra capacity. Or are we, especially as Boris has said he doesn’t regard the estuary hub plan as finished yet. Err, yes we are. In other words, get ready for the approval of a third runway at Heathrow in the near future.
The Airports Commission is not going to issue its final report until after the 2015 election but you can expect the lobbying, arguments and counter-arguments to continue right up until then. And beyond.
And on that very subject, Heathrow Airport are running their own consultation at the moment. The purpose? To help shape Heathrow’s “proposals for property and noise compensation” if/when their third runway gets approved. They are even holding sessions in Richmond (Oct 8th) and Twickenham (Oct 9th). It’s your chance to tick a box on a form. Enjoy.
* BBC News
* Previously on twickerati – Heathrow Consultation… Again
Boathouse goes here.
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Not wanting to be accused of spreading mis-information about El Brute’s plans to build a ‘permanent home’ for Gloriana at Orleans Gardens we thought we’d freeze the previous article. Why? Well, it’s mainly because the mahoosive number of comments (over 260!) was making it into a sprawling mess. You can still read it and all the comments but we thought we’d begin afresh, fully revitalised so to speak, with a re-cap on some of the facts, a reminder that the ‘consultation’ has begun and rapid return to some idle speculation. We’ve even got all the links you could want below. Sorted!
And we’re even regularly adding NEW UPDATES at the end so keeping checking back for those.
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
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.
The recent Foodies Festival at Marble Hill House drew in punters from around the area keen to experience a wide range of stalls, watch cookery demonstrations, listen to some live music and generally stuff their faces full of food and drink. Not a bad idea if you ask us. It was a good event. But of course it was an English Bank Holiday weekend and that usually means one thing: rain. OK, so it didn’t rain for the duration but there was plenty of it. The result? Getting all those vehicles off the park left the grass in front of the house looking more like farm tracks than a suburban park – and we should know, we went to the countryside once.
Basically, a large area is a massive mess. We’re talking mud, ruts and the odd splattering of engine oil. We’re sure it will be sorted out between English Heritage and the festival organisers but it’s likely to involve some quite significant costs. The planning statement for the event indicated that it would return for a second year but we can’t see either English Heritage or park users being particularly keen on that unless something changes, and not just the weather. English Heritage’s ‘Design and Access’ statement in their El Brute submission said, “The principal physical impacts on the site are the wear and tear of vehicles during installation and dismantling, mitigated by the use of a track-way. Reinstatement of any damage to the grounds will take place immediately after the event”. Well, there was a trackway but it was clearly inadequate for the heavy rain / heavy vehicle combination over the weekend. Continue reading
With the regeneration of Twickenham continuing, Richmond Council (aka LBRuT) are now looking further ahead to ensure that, in their words, “the town builds on its recent successes and continues to develop in a way that’s fit for the future”. El Brute’s planning gurus have been thinking big thoughts about what the town should look like by the final years of the next decade. A project, called “Twickenham 2026” is being led by external consultants but has the full support of El Brute. The main challenge they’re looking to solve is how to capitalise on current roads and pavements work whilst accommodating the ever-increasing demand for property and the knock-on effect on school places, traffic and local services. It’s basically phase 2 of the Twickenham Action Plan (aka TWAP2).
See End of Item for Updates. Previously, on twickerati…
Some sky (where planes go)
If Howard Davies’ commission looking at options for expanding airport capacity gives the nod to a third runway at Heathrow there could be ‘open warfare’.
According to the Evening Standard that’s what Boris Johnson says is going to happen if the Davies Commission makes the ‘catastrophic mistake’ of recommending the third runway solution. The Davies Commission’s final report was promised for after the next election but an interim report is due out next week.
The Standard is reporting that Davies’ initial work has identified three options for expansion… all of which involve one or two additional runways at Heathrow. Funny dat. The first is the ‘traditional’ third runway option, the second is two additional runways at Heathrow, and the third involves one more at Heathrow and one at Gatwick. There’s no sign of Boris Island although the paper does also report that ‘Heathrow expansion fan’ George Osborne favours the inclusion of the Boris plan or Stansted expansion as a fourth option – just to make up the numbers in the report, as it were.
So much for the idea that the airport discussion amnesty would last until 2015, it’s lasted just a few months. We can tell that you’re not entirely surprised by the news either.
* Standard Online
17 Dec 2013: The interim Davies report has shortlisted the following options which will now be subject to further investigation:
1) A new, 3,500 metre runway at Heathrow to the north-west of the airport;
2) Extending Heathrow’s existing northern runway. This would then become a 6,000 metre (!) runway which could be used for take-offs and landings;
3) A second runway at Gatwick.
And we assume that combinations of the above will be considered too. There’s no south-west runway option at Heathrow on the shortlist. Expansion at Birmingham and Stansted are effectively ruled out for the time being. Meanwhile the Boris Island option in the Thames Estuary is not on the list but will be looked at in 2014 to assess whether it’s remotely viable. So, some form of expansion at Heathrow looks a likely recommendation although the airport lovers’ ‘stick’ of two additional runways doesn’t explicitly feature at the moment. We assume the ‘carrot’ is the chance for more planes landing from Chinese mega-cities. With intense lobbying now going on from both sides, the battle over Heathrow expansion seems to have well and truly resumed.
El Brute are opposed to it and have issued a press release condemning expansion plans and warning about “caving in to the big foreign interests who dominate the ownership of Heathrow”. Zac Goldsmith’s opposed to it and is drumming up support for a petition. Twickenham MP Vince Cable is against it, tweeting, “I’m strongly opposed to the proposals for Heathrow expansion & shall be making that view known in the strongest terms”.
* BBC News
* Richmond Council’s view
* Vince Cable’s view
* Zac’s petition page
The public consultation on the Crossrail 2 project comes to an end on Friday 2nd August. The results will be taken into consideration as part of developing the idea further. Well, that’s what they say anyway. You’ve heard of Crossrail, right? It’s the new rail line running east / west across London. Well, Crossrail 2 would become its north /south counterpart. The current ‘early days’ proposals offer two alternatives, a ‘metro option’ (underground from Alexandra Palace to Wimbledon) and a ‘regional option’. This second, longer route builds on the metro option and could include a branch from Cheshunt in the north down through central London to Wimbledon, then round to towns such as Epsom, Surbiton or, you’ve guessed it, Twickenham. It’s suggested that a route such as one from Twickenham via Wimbledon would run on South West Trains suburban lines but would still get you into central London (Victoria, Tottenham Court Road or Euston) more quickly than the conventional ‘train to Waterloo then tube’ approach. It obviously depends where you’re heading, of course, but the idea of a fast and efficient route into London with good connections to more mainline stations is appealing. Is Solum Regeneration’s plan for Twickenham station up to the Crossrail challenge? We simply don’t know but we’d like to think they’ve planned ahead for this kind of thing (?).
The cost of the regional option is estimated at between £12 and £20bn (so let’s call that £30bn then) and trains could be speeding along it by the early 2030s. So dig deep but don’t start changing your season ticket arrangements just yet.
* TFL Crossrail 2
Deadline for comments is 2nd August