Tag Archives: Richmond Council

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’.
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Public Meeting Planned Over El Brute’s Romano-Regency Riverside Plan

To paraphrase former plucky-Brit-cum-war-boss Winston Churchill, we cannot forecast the actions of Richmond Council when it comes to Twickenham Riverside. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. Wise words Winston! But what is that key? Is the key to understanding it the Council’s desire to just get something built and move on so that they can say, “At least we did something?”. Is it about building a fancy-dan lasting legacy to something or other? Or is it to provide ‘new heart for Twickenham’ as their most recent consultation push suggested? Dunno.

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of design from LBRuT website

But what we do know is that the original regency themed design concept complete with colonnade and amphitheatre proved unpopular with a significant majority. Yes, there will always be naysayers, nimbys, blockers and haters but the lack of public support for a redevelopment that is desperately needed was quite telling. Telling too was the Council’s second big consultation on the subject which took place over the summer and which barely mentioned the original scheme despite a clear intention to stick with the same principles and the same architects.

Public meeting about Twickenham Riverside

Public meeting about Twickenham Riverside

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Twickenham Riverside Development: Will LBRuT Listen?

REVISED: This item is an updated and re-vamped version of the one published on 12th July.

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Folks, for months we had been expecting the big reveal, the grand unveiling, or, if you will, the presentation to end all presentations! We are of course talking about the revised plans for the Twickenham Riverside development. Remember that old thing? How could you not? It’s big. Well, after trailing the pop-up shop to review the revised designs, we’re now told we’ll have a wait a while yet as more consultation is required. Apparently.

As you full well know, and do not pretend that you don’t, when El Brute presented their regency inspired ‘design concept’ for the site last year it was met with views that ranged from mild disappointment all the way to downright anger. OK, so there was indifference too and even a small smattering of delight but for the most part the ideas presented fell quite a way short of what most residents were hoping for. Be honest, have you actually met anyone who really liked the design? The much discussed town square seemed to be missing, the opening up of the King Street shops to the river via Water Lane hadn’t happened and the prospect of a regency inspired amphitheatre with up to 40 flats on top didn’t really compute with the brief of making best use of this prime riverside location. The colonnade of shops didn’t go down well either, although the creation of garden space in front of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens was generally popular… except with people who currently park their cars there.  So far, so meh! For others, the fact that the plans were not a new lido also presented a major obstacle.

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of design from LBRuT website

El Brute sought feedback and the result was a resounding ‘no thanks’ from the hundreds who took the time to reply. Of the 754 consultation responses received just 93 said the plans met the needs of the local community. Ouch! A local Riverside Action Group was formed to try to persuade Richmond Council to re-think the whole process but the Council pressed on, telling you lot that it would listen to your views and make amendments to the designs that had been created by its chosen architects, Q&F Terry (esteemed “designers of new classical buildings”) who had won El Brute’s ‘competition’. Continue reading

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Residents’ Riverside Draft Revealed

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death seems like an apposite time for an update on the Twickenham Riverside development. Why? Well, we’ve got comedy, tragedy, a cast of memorable characters, history repeating itself and bitter power struggles. Add to that the option for referencing this saga to the titles of Shakespeare’s plays (e.g. The Comedy of Errors or As True Likes It,  etc, etc, add your own versions at the end) and then top it off with the possibility that we might get an amphitheatre on which we’ll be able to see it all acted out one day. Bostin’ as they say in the Midlands although whether they say it as far south as Stratford-upon-Avon is a mystery (to us).

You’ll recall that after having listened to local residents across several consultations over several years, the Council went away, did some mulling and cogitating, worked with big name architects Q&F Terry and then unveiled designs for the riverside which nobody particularly seemed to like. Oh dear. LBRuT (pron: El Brute) then announced that it would work on revisions which would take account of residents’ feedback and, possibly, just possibly, make the scheme do the things that it was originally supposed to do, namely create a useful town square and open up central Twickenham to the river.

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

Twickenham riverside site from Embankment

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LBRuT to Spend £2m on Royalty Festival and Street Parties

Richmond Council has stepped up its campaign to secure royal status for the borough. It’s no secret that leading Councillors are keen to add the ‘royal’ moniker to the borough’s name and to secure all the prestige and pageantry that goes with it. It would be a major coup for LBRuT if they can pull it off.

The seat of El Brute power

York House: Home to El Brute

As part of its £2m ‘Project Royal’ campaign the Council is planning to splash the cash on a ‘Royalty Festival’ and street parties to celebrate the Borough’s connections with the monarchy. The festival will take place in Marble Hill Park in June at a time when many people will be holding street parties to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday. The Marble Hill event will feature a giant, free street party for anyone who wants to attend. Planning is already well underway and Council Leader Lord True, aka The Blue Baron, has gone on the record to say: “The 90th birthday of our monarch should be a glorious occasion for us all to get together and celebrate her reign and the service she has given to our nation. I am thrilled to be able to host an event in one of the Borough’s most beautiful open spaces and have been working closely with the Parks Department on the plans. The Parks team have already adopted some of my exciting ‘lawn art’ ideas for making the grounds look suitably regal. Furthermore, I and several other Councillors will be leading a royal parade by way of entertainment”. Continue reading

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Heathrow Third Runway Take Off Delayed

Plane landing at Heathrow

Plane landing at Heathrow

The lobby groups have lobbied, the Davies Commission has deliberated, a recommendation has been made and a decision to proceed taken by the Government. All of those things are true except the last one. It had been expected that a ruling on whether to go ahead with the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport would be taken this month. That is no longer going to happen after the Government announced that the decision would be put back to next summer to allow for further work on the environmental impact. Air quality and pollution remain real concerns.

Business types reacted with disappointment to the news whilst environmentalists and residents were broadly positive. For many, whichever side of the Heathrow debate they sit on, it just means more months of uncertainty and a chance for yet more lobbying.

The news also means the decision will take place after May’s elections for London Mayor in which the staunch anti-expansionist Mr Zac Goldsmith MP is the Conservative candidate. A funny co-incidence if there ever was one. David “no ifs, no buts” Cameron is caught in a tricky spot when it comes to biting the bullet on the third runway decision. The business lobby is campaigning hard for it but many influential London MPs and their constituents are vehemently opposed. The deferral could be regarded as giving a glimmer of light for the opposition groups although on the face of it, it feels much more like a convenient political fudge. And we haven’t even got near the judicial reviews yet. This one could run and run.

LINK:
* BBC News
* Teddington Action Group – local opposition group
* Richmond Council – opposed to Heathrow expansion
* Back Heathrow – pro 3rd runway

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Talk Richmond. Well Will You?

The seat of El Brute power

York House – the seat of El Brute power

LBRuT has been sending out emails to borough residents inviting them to join its new “innovative online community”, Talk Richmond.  The closed community is open to anyone who lives, works, studies or volunteers in the borough.

The proposed deal is that members can use the live online platform to have “open discussions” with the council and contribute to the development of LBRuT’s services, campaigns and communications.

If you get on board (and El Brute accepts you as a member – aye, there’s the rub, of which more below) you will be able to get involved by taking part in polls, posting photos and creating videos as well as sharing your views about council matters. Members will be expected to sign in to the website for 5-15 minutes a week on average and take part in up to two weekly activities.

“The community is a platform for members to influence council campaigns, such as isolation and loneliness among older people, improvement to roads and pavements, the development of schools, community safety and Village Planning,” LBRuT says.

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Twickenham Riverside – Are The Natives Revolting?

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Extract of design from LBRuT website

Arguments over the plans for Twickenham riverside rumble on as LBRuT’s 11th December deadline for feedback fast approaches. The idea for the newly purchased site running down Water Lane from King Street to the river hasn’t met with universal approval. OK, forget universal approval, it doesn’t even seem to have met with widespread Twickenham approval. We recently ran a simple 24 hour poll on Twitter. It read: “What’s your view on LBRuT’s new design concept for the Twickenham Riverside development?” and it offered a choice of two options:
(a) Broadly right
(b) Simply wrong

121 voted, not a large sample we’ll admit and not a very scientific poll but the results were:
(a) Broadly right 37%
(b) Simply wrong 63%

Interesting. Comments on other social media platforms tell a similar story. The Richmond & Twickenham Times ran their own poll and managed to find a few more people in favour, but not too many more.
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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!

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

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