Tag Archives: Richmond Council

Will They Ever Learn?

Won’t somebody think of the ‘ickle children? Oh, it looks like they already have but in the hard-to-follow world of free schools, academies and the like it’s not always clear to normal Twickenham folk what’s going on. Here’s a quick update on some school shenanigans going on Twick-side…

The grand vision of creating a Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus (aka REEC. Reek! Really??) is now with El Brute’s planning department and awaiting your insightful comments. “And what is this grand vision?” we hear you cry. Well, if you’ve blatantly chosen to ignore all previous and coverage of this scheme then what you need to know is that the ‘campus’ will be created on the current site of Richmond College (aka RuTC) in Egerton Road, Twickenham. It will feature new college buildings, a new inclusive secondary school, the re-located Clarendon School and a new Haymarket Media ‘tech hub’. Given the pressure on school places and on suitable sites it makes sense to make better use of this land and the business and community links it proposes sound interesting. However having a college, a secondary school, a school for pupils with special needs and an ‘enterprise hub’ all on the one site does sound, well, a bit cosy. And this cosiness might extend to traffic and parking issues too and not just to the pupils, students or ‘uniquely individual learning-receptors’ or whatever it is their human rights entitle them to be called these days. You can of course have your say on the LBRuT planning pages. Alternatively feel free to mutter them to yourself or simply post them on here.

Richmond College, Twickenham

Richmond College, Twickenham

Turing House – the school with no home – is no longer homeless. It’s up and running at its temporary location in Queens Road Teddington. As you will recall, the school had real problems finding a suitable site. The original plan was to find a place in the Twickenham area but the focus then moved Tedd-wards with NPL being a strong possibility. After that didn’t happen, two main options emerged, one being at Udney Park Road in Teddington and the other at a site owned by Hounslow Council off Hospital Bridge Road in Whitton. It’s this Whitton location that is set to become the school’s permanent home. Cue much debate about the site itself versus the ‘centre of gravity’ when judging distance from the school for admissions purposes. The current ‘admissions point’ is in the DMZ between Teddington and Fulwell meaning the effective catchment area covers parts of Teddington, Fulwell, west Twickenham but not much of Whitton. When the new site is developed it is expected that school places will be offered on two different criteria, the majority linked to the admissions point (wherever that ends up) and one based on the school building itself.

Another school now operating out of a temporary base is the new Deer Park School run by Bellevue Place Education Trust. Early expectations were that a new Bellevue ‘Richmond Bridge’ primary school would be based in the East Twickenham area, possibly on the site that may eventually become a Lidl, but with TW1 options not working out the school found alternative premises in the form of the London House office block on the Lower Mortlake Road. A major refurbishment is planned to ‘schoolify’ the building and in the meantime Deer Park School is based at Richmond Adult College in Richmond. Does that mean the end of the aspirations for a Bellevue run school in East Twickenham? Not necessarily. Their website says, “Bellevue Place Education Trust remains committed to opening a school in the St Margarets/East Twickenham area and will work hard to deliver on the promises they have made to the community”. To be continued.

And finally, Twickenham Primary Academy, run by GEMS Learning Trust, has opened to new pupils in what was previously the Heathgate House office building by Twickenham Green. The choice of building – empty office plus car park in an area of narrow side streets – didn’t exactly meet with rave reviews from you lot when we mentioned it on here late last year but, as they probably say somewhere or other, “If not here, then where?”

Heathgate House car park / Twickenham Primary Academy playground

Heathgate House car park / Twickenham Primary Academy playground

So, what does it all mean? You went to school once, you bloody decide!

* Richmond upon Thames College Site Development planning application
* REEC – Richmond Education & Enterprise Campus
* Turing House School
* Deer Park School
* Twickenham Primary Academy


Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

Heathrow Third Runway Gets The Nod

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

Insert planes here ^ ^ ^

So there you have it. SO. THERE. YOU… oh hang on a minute, let’s just wait for that plane to pass…

… There, that’s better.

So there you have it, we’re gonna take one for the team! The Davies Report into UK airport expansion has been published and recommends a third runway at Heathrow. We can exclusively reveal that no one at all expresses much surprise at that but that plenty of people will express anger and some will express joy, not least the airport’s Spanish owner Ferrovial and its shareholders. Get ready for tens of thousands of extra flights a year… although not for a while yet.

The Commission focused on the business case for the UK, looking at growth, jobs and trade whilst trying to give due consideration to issues such as noise, pollution and pressure on infrastructure. On the business case, it does feel like a bigger Heathrow was always going to be the winner. The Commission says a third runway will add “£147bn in economic growth and 70,000 jobs by 2050”. But of course life isn’t just about pure economics, if it were, Londoners might as well start campaigning for devolution from the rest of the UK.

The report recommends that strict conditions be applied around a commitment to no night flights and no fourth runway as well as other protections around noise, etc. You know, the kind of stuff that will get chipped away at quite quickly. The Sir Howard Davies ruled out the ‘extended’ second runway plan at Heathrow but expansion at Gatwick is billed as ‘credible option’ giving politicians a get-out clause if opposition to Heathrow all gets a bit too much for them.

So what next? We can expect a lot of rubbishing of the recommendations from the various opposition groups, or “report slamming” to use the correct phrase. And we can also expect a few smug and self-satisfied tweets from the Back Heathrow boys. You might be thinking there’s no difference between smug and self-satisfied but we’re playing safe here and reckoning they’ll be ticking both boxes ‘for the community’.

Boris and Zac will be rolled out to voice their objections and we can expect “our Tania” to do the same. Probably. Richmond Council leader Lord ‘The Blue Baron’ True has already come out, all guns blazing with his own brand of slamming. In an LBRuT press release he says: “In a democracy people look to their Government to listen to the voice of Londoners, who already contribute massively more than any other community in Europe in accepting airport pollution, noise and danger. Ministers should bin this flawed report; they should not put the self-interest of the big overseas interests who own Heathrow and their paid lobbyists before the reasoned case of Londoners”.

It’s gonna get nasty. It’s gonna get noisy. And, after all of that, there are plenty of folk saying it still might not ever happen. Or will it?

* The Commission Report
* BBC News
* El Brute Press Release
* Teddington (& Twickenham) Action Group
* Back Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow


Filed under Heathrow, Local Issues & News

Pic of the Week: Fooled?

When we ran our April fool item about Richmond Council selling naming rights to the proposed Twickenham Town Square we didn’t really expect many people to take it seriously. In fact, we didn’t expect anybody to take it seriously. Imagine our delight when we discovered that someone had written to the Richmond and Twickenham Times to complain that the idea ‘lacks class’. Quite right too! Whether they really fell for it or just wanted to build on the joke we’re not entirely sure, but either way we appreciate that they took the time to write to their local paper about it. Respect, and indeed thanks, are due to Mr or Mrs “Name and address supplied”. Sir / Madam, we salute you!

Who's fooling who?

Who’s fooling who?

* The original item
(complete with a couple of very minor edits made after midday on 1st April)


Filed under Pix of the Week, Random Stuff

El Brute in Sandys Flowers Flap – UPDATED

UPDATE 17/04/15: The Council and Sandys have now reached a solution to this issue. The flowers will stay! According to an El Brute press release: “In response to the Council’s request for action Sandys reduced their A-boards to one and pulled back their plants from along the pavements’ edge. There was some continuing uncertainty over the size of the planters that the Council had suggested could be retained, but losing Sandys’ flower display was not the aim. The Council and Sandys have now agreed that the existing tiered planters will stay”.  We hear that part of the original ‘misunderstanding’ revolved around differing interpretations between Councillors and Council officials of  how strict the enforcement of the regulations should be. Either way, we’re pleased the floral displays will stay. Or as they might say in Sandys, “brill”.
Continue reading


Filed under Council, Food & Drink, Local Issues & News

Town Square Name For Sale

Town square site, Water Lane

Town square site, Water Lane

The saga of the Twickenham Action Plan aka the TWAP has taken yet another twist. Regular readers will be aware of the Council’s purchase of the Santander site in Water Lane with the intention of opening up the space down to the river and creating a new town square. So far, so good, you might think. But now it seems that financial pressures caused by the lengthy road and pavement work have led LBRuT to seek new solutions for completing the project and managing the costs. In a press release from York House, Richmond Council have announced that corporate sponsorship may be used to shore up the scheme and generate a stream of much needed revenue. The document quotes El Brute’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Geoffrey Samuel (from Central Casting) as saying, “We have been looking at options to keep costs down for hard pressed Council Tax payers and have agreed to sell naming rights to the new Twickenham Square in much the same way that football stadia and concert venues do. We believe this innovative approach will be welcomed by the residents of Twickenham. Furthermore, we have already agreed a naming deal with the FM Conway the contractors who have been working tirelessly to improve Twickenham’s roads and pavements for many, many months. We believe that when complete, Twickenham’s newly named “FM Conway Square” will be a real asset to the town”.

Conway: Proud sponsors?

Conway: Proud sponsor?

The Council have also indicated that the naming rights would be re-tendered every five years and that there has already been significant interest in the proposal from a range of parties including various telecoms companies, Heathrow Airport and even the retailer Poundland. Naming rights to Water Lane may also be included as part of the arrangement which will almost certainly upset some vocal locals. It’s rumoured that Thames Water Plc may be considering this as an option.

So, are you looking forward to picnicking and partying in FM Conway Square? Or is it time to break out the banners and rock up to York House to campaign to get the name “Twickenham Square” placed firmly on the map? 

If you want to complain to LBRuT you have until midday on 1st April in which to do so.

* Full LBRuT Press Release
* April Fools Day – Wikipedia


Filed under Local Issues & News, Random Stuff

Anyone for Scrabble?

It’s an important Council meeting. Topics of relevance to the people of the Borough are up for discussion. You’re part of the opposition group. You want to scrutinise the plans of those in power and hold them to account. And so how do you decide to do this? Why, through the medium of Scrabble of course. What’s not to love about this picture from last Tuesday’s Council meeting at El Brute as snapped by Twickenham Riverside Tory Councillor Helen Hill.

It shows ‘Elengorn’ (he’s a Liberal Democrat Councillor for Teddington as opposed to a character in Lord of the Rings) having a dabble at Scrabble on his tablet. As Councillor Hill told us, “I was surprised to see him playing board games during an important budget meeting”. Quite.

Anyone for Scrabble? (Picture credit: Helen Hill)

Anyone for Scrabble?
(Picture credit: Helen Hill)

Speaking up in his own defence, Cllr Elengorn is quoted on the Richmond and Twickenham Times website as saying, “The only way of making it through Councillor Samuel’s bombastic boasts is to try and distract the mind. Unfortunately, I am capable of doing two things at once and every word registered. I don’t think I was the only one playing games, but I won’t name names”. Oh go on, please do!

Meanwhile the outcome of the meeting was that El Brute confirmed its budget for 2015/16 including Council tax remaining frozen for another year. However some fees and charges will increase to cover reductions in grants from central government.

* Richmond & Twickenham Times – Council Tax Freeze


Filed under Council, Pix of the Week, Random Stuff

Roadworks Roll On

Surely everyone likes a nice bit of pavement don’t they? In Twickenham they’re all the rage, although it’s now becoming hard to remember a time when there weren’t any road or pavement works going on somewhere in the town centre. When Ian Curtis sang, “Where will it end?” in Day of the Lords it’s unlikely he was commenting on roadworks in his own hometown of Macclesfield but he might well have been. London Road, King Street and Church Street are all in a ‘state of transition’ at the moment but as we wait for them to finish, if you do have any memories of a time before roadworks, please feel free to share them on our Nostalgia page.

Roadworks roll on

Roadworks roll on


Filed under Local Issues & News, Pix of the Week, Random Stuff, Twickenham Action Plan

Rugby World Cup Residents Briefings Scheduled

Twickenham stadium

Twickenham stadium

You will be looking forward to this year’s Rugby World Cup with either excitement or dread. Or indifference. Indifference might not be the best option given that the event is going to have a much greater impact on the town than the usual Six Nations and Autumn International matches.

The tournament begins with England v Fiji on 18th September, the first of ten games at Twickenham Stadium over a six week period. In addition to the usual match day stuff that you’ll be well used to by now, there will be international teams based locally ‘for training purposes’, visitors staying in the town (no doubt you’re registering with airbnb as you read this) and a ‘Festival of Rugby’ across El Brute’s domain with arts and music events as well as oval ball related antics. Oh, and there’s an agreement ‘in principle’ to close sections of the A316 on match days. Yikes. In other words, Twickenham will be busy.

If you want to find out more about these arrangements to help you prepare (or perhaps to help you plan your escape) then El Brute are running a series of community briefings in the coming weeks. There are business briefings on 27th February and 3rd and 12th March. These are now fully booked although the resulting FAQs will be made available online afterwards.

Briefings for residents (that’s people like you, btw) will take place between 5th and 23rd March. Details are:
*  Thursday 5th March, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Chase Bridge School, Whitton
*  Monday 9th March, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Turks Head pub, St Margarets (Full, apparently)
*  Tuesday 17th March, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Clarendon Hall, York House, Twickenham
*  Monday 23rd March, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Richmond Adult Community College, Parkshot, Richmond


* LBRuT – briefings page
* El Brute RWC main page
* Rugby World Cup 2015


Filed under Local Issues & News, What's on

East Twickenham School Goes East

Ryde House, Richmond Road, East Twickenham

Ryde House, Richmond Road, East Twickenham

The school report about delivering more much needed primary school places in Twickenham would say something like, ‘needs improvement’. This time it’s East Twickenham that’s in a state of agitation and not without foundation. The plan for a new free school, Richmond Bridge Primary, took a knock recently when the peeps who are setting it up, Bellevue Place Education Trust, announced that they’d found a suitable site… in Richmond. So, the school that’s going to open in September 2015 is no longer Richmond Bridge Primary, it’s now Old Deer School and it’s going to be on Lower Mortlake Road, TW9. Good news for Richmond but bad news for East Twickenham and St Margarets. The trust says it will still welcome applications from TW1 types to the new school and that it still intends to open a school in the East Twickenham area in the future. (Do you remember the future? It was going to be a place full of wonderful things)

Once again it all boils down to the thorny issue of finding a suitable site. Ryde House on Richmond Road had been the intended location but with Lidl now planning to convert it into a supermarket, the school had to find a home elsewhere. Locals are now ramping up the campaign to get a primary school sorted for East Twickenham and have set up a website and petition to focus attention on the issue.

Elsewhere we wait to see what happens next in the saga of Twickenham Green Primary School whose proposed site, Heathgate House, squeezed between Colne Road and Heath Road didn’t impress Green-siders last December. And there’s a final call on another chance to comment (yes, really!) on the plans to turn the RUTC Egerton Road site into the Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus aka REEC. How. Many. Times? An outline planning application for that is expected in February.

We have to assume that all this location-related malarkey is well within the parameters of what Michael Gove would have expected when championing the free schools approach. We called the Department for Education to ask him to comment on the matter only to find that he’d been shunted sideways to the Chief Whip post. Some might observe that while Richmond Bridge Primary has gone east, Gove’s career might be heading south.

* East Twickenham Village site
* SET – Schools for East Twickenham
* Richmond Bridge Primary School – now to be called Deer Park School, TW9
* Lidl – Richmond Road
* REEC (comment deadline 30th Jan)


Filed under Council, Schools