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Wednesday 20th February
Memories of Twickenham Riverside


Twickenham Riverside - Its Future (?) and Its Past

It is now December 2016 and the community work I started in Twickenham in 2008 has come full circle. Initially I was the joint chair of the Richmond United Group which brought together residents/organisations from all over the Borough who wanted help with various issues. What would happen to the two adjacent Twickenham Riverside sites is the longest running local issue - a very popular lido closed down and the area left derelict for many years. In 2009 I became very active in the campaign to save the Riverside from a housing development, writing articles published in the local and national press and eventually organising a referendum which won the day. Subsequently, Diamond Jubilee Gardens was built on the Council owned part of Twickenham Riverside.

In 2011 I formed Twickenham Alive with Berkley Driscoll with the aim to recreate what Twickenham had lost. We have been involved in setting up a number of local events: recreating a historic Regatta for Boys and Girls, founding a Stand Up Paddleboarding club, an annual Twickenham Film Festival and Richmond [festive] Ice Rink. For a number of years we organised the Music and Fun Day at Strawberry Hill House and lately we have started The Twickenham Times (now the Twickenham Tribune), a local newspaper. We have also found time to complete successful Heritage Lottery Projects: Memories of Twickenham Riverside and The Most Famous Ice Rink in the World (adding Lidos Alive in 2018).

Following the 2009 campaign to save Twickenham Riverside I continued to take an interest in the area. Once Berkley and I knew about a competition for land adjacent to Diamond Jubilee Gardens we lobbied to take part. As it was a competition for architects we brought in Atkins and liaised with their architects to prepare a plan for the remainder of the riverside site.

To some extent our work on the history of Twickenham Riverside was a factor in how we looked at the area. The idea of bringing back a lido was brought up by many local people, not only during our work for the competition but during our work on Heritage Lottery projects; the old lido was one of three losses to Twickenham: the lido, the cinema and the ice rink.

I will not go into details about what has become known as the "lido project" except to say that we believe that it could help regenerate Twickenham and would only take up a quarter of the site now available, even less if surrounding space becomes part of the site.

To return to the political side of the Twickenham Riverside saga, in 2010 and 2018 Council administrations of different hues lost the local Council elections with Twickenham Riverside [once again] as a major factor. It now seems that the process will begin again, another competition for designs for the area. One of my main concerns is the refusal by the Council to accept the views and well thought out comments of over 4,000 people on with an affinity to Twickenham Riverside. They say they want to contact the "Hard to Reach" but are ignoring these very people who are trying to make themselves heard.

Refendum 2009 2013 Twickenham Riverside 2015 Twickenham Lido

2016 Richmond Rink 2016 Twickenham Tribune - Twickenham's News

2017 Lidos Alive

What Happened to Twickenham's Festive Ice Rinks

2005 Gifford House 1989 St Catherine' School

1997 World InfoZone - My 10 years of interaction with people and organizations around the world

Gorham's Cave Complex

The Twickenham Tribune

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