TWICKENHAM RIVERSIDE UNDER THREAT AGAIN BY OUR COUNCIL, the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames (LBRUT) December 2022
THE TWICKENHAM RESIDENTS’ REFERENDUM RESULT – 93.5% VOTED AGAINST HOUSING ON TWICKENHAM RIVERSIDE
In June 2009 Electoral Reform Services organized a postal vote for 4,000 people in Twickenham to find out whether they supported housing on public land on Twickenham Riverside, i.e, the main site of the current Hopkins’ Architects plan. The result of this independent vote, £4,000 paid for by residents, was 93.5% of voters who said NO.
CONTINUED OPPOSITION TO BUILDING ON THIS PROTECTED AREA - WITH ONE OF THE BEST VIEWS OF THE THAMES
Despite this overwhelming vote, and continued opposition from local people, the Council has now given themselves planning permission and aims to build “luxury flats”, assisted with input from a West End estate agent, on land with one of the best views of the Thames, currently Diamond Jubilee Gardens, protected by a charitable trust with a 125 lease.
LAND BOUGHT FOR RESIDENTS, AND, CURRENTLY PROTECTED BY A TRUST FIGHTING A COMPULSORY PURCHASE ORDER BY LBRUT
The land was bought in 1924 by the Council for “walks and pleasure grounds” with the title of the land in the name of the residents of the borough; it is currently protected by a Charitable Trust which the Council hopes to defeat with a Compulsory Purchase Order.
“AFFORDABLE HOUSING” IS NOT PROPOSED ON THE MOST DESIRABLE PART OF THE AREA TO BE DEVELOPED
“Affordable Housing” is to be built to the far side of the site, next to Water Lane on a derelict Council-owned car park, and the Council has certainly cut corners on the living space area. (During Consultation for the planning application photographs of the car park were emailed to residents implying it was the area to be developed – the area in Trust was not shown).
PUBLIC CONSULTATION: The Council Has Even Refused A Popular Request for a Water Feature
In various consultations residents were asked what they wanted on the site but it seems that the results did not make it to the architects’ drawing board. Even a verbal request for the popular water feature has met with a rebuttal.
PREVIOUS USE OF THE AREA
It should be remembered that a popular lido was on the site and, previously from the seventeenth century Richmond House, the home of many famous names that will be recognised today.
THE COUNCIL’S LINKED SITES STRATEGY
Following the defeat of the Council administration after the 2009 Referendum – organized by the Richmond United Group - the Council quickly signed off their “Linked Sites Strategy” for their Twickenham Riverside plan.
LINKED SITES: TEDDINGTON also suffered from the Council’s 2009 Plan
“Linked Sites” were areas in the Borough where “affordable housing” could be built in lieu of building on Twickenham Riverside. This housing was built, despite the loss of office of the Council administration, destroying garages and gardens, causing problems for residents in areas in Twickenham (including loss of garages and an award-winning garden), Strawberry Hill (loss of a garden) and Teddington (loss of garages in Shacklegate Lane and Railway Road). Residents were left to pick up the pieces of the Linked Sites Strategy although the 2009 plan for Twickenham Riverside did not go ahead.
LOSS OF TREES, A FEATURE OF THE 2009 PLAN AND TODAY’S PLAN
It has been reported that a number of trees have already been lost in the Council’s Linked Sites Strategy and if the Council’s present attempt to develop the Riverside area goes ahead around seventy trees, as well as much vegetation and wildlife habitats, will also be destroyed.
HOW GREEN IS THE LONDON BOROUGH OR RICHMOND UPON THAMES?
Trees are important in our fight against Climate Change. The loss of more trees in pursuit of this plan will release - as it has already released - stored carbon into our atmosphere. Replacing trees will do little to store carbon until they have grown, taking some years when time is running out. Trees to be cut down include three rare trees, one a gift from Queen Elizabeth II.
TREES ON THE EMBANKMENT
The trees on the Embankment (chosen for floodable areas) were replaced some years ago and are now storing carbon, felling these attractive specimens and replacing with new trees would be a mistake and a waste of money. The Embankment has already been refurbished; the bulldozers are not necessary and we do not want to release more carbon into the atmosphere.
SAVING TWICKENHAM RIVERSIDE
: Eel Pie Island