Richmond Council reveal designs for controversial Twickenham Riverside redevelopment

Twickenham Riverside redevelopment finally entered the consultation phase this week, following years of controversy.

New images of the proposal, designed by Hopkins Architects, unveiled a pedestrianised riverside with a variety of public spaces, new businesses and residential buildings.

Leader of the Richmond Council, Gareth Roberts said: “The response we had on the consultation zoom call on Wednesday was by far the best we have had.

“People are now seeing a vision for Twickenham Riverside that they want to see delivered.”

Mick Sinclair of Richmond Cycling Campaign, which promotes economic and health benefits of walking and cycling, welcomed the progress.

He said: “The whole area will be more people friendly.”

Sinclair cited TfL research on how walking and cycling improvements could increase retail spend by up to 30% and have wider economic benefits by reducing pollution.

A NEW LOOK? Views from King Street were published by the council this week.
Credit: Richmond Council

As a member of the Stakeholder’s Reference Group (SRG), a consultation group consisting of Twickenham organisations to ensure residents would have a say on the development of the riverside, Sinclair was invited to meet with the council about redevelopment plans.

He added: “We’ve been able to engage with them in a more meaningful manner than we were able to before.”

However, several other SRG members did not share his enthusiasm and he acknowledged how the issue of removing of the current car park has been a big struggle.

Sue Hamilton-Miller, secretary of The Twickenham Society and member of the SRG, expressed concern for businesses operating out of Eel Pie Island’s historic boatyards.

GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE: Hopkins Architects designs show off a new embankment. Credit: Richmond Council

They are some of the last remaining on the Thames and rely on the current parking for deliveries and servicing.

Hamilton-Miller said: “The boatyards are crucial and must be protected.

“The council is being very reluctant to give full acknowledgement to the needs of the boatyards.”

Teresa Read, Twickenham resident and co-founder of a standup paddle-boarding club on Eel Pie Island, shared this sharp criticism.

Read said: “This council has not put the boathouses in their plan, what they’ve got is a small storage area, which is absolutely useless.

“The boathouse has sort of gone left by the wayside, completely ignored.”

Cllr Roberts said: “We have made sure that as part of redevelopment we include a loading bay directly adjacent to the bridge to enable servicemen tradespersons to be able to come and service businesses and residents on the island.”

The council is looking into creating a secondary parking zone near the riverside for Eel Pie Island residents and businesses.

The inclusion of a pub in the new designs has also been a point of contention. 

GARDENS GALORE: The designs give a preview of the new Diamond Jubilee Gardens, well-beloved by Twickenham residents

Read said: “We don’t need another pub and it’s going to be near a children’s playground.”

Cllr Roberts responded: “The idea that pubs shouldn’t be attracting family audiences is a narrow and retrograde view to take.”

Due to lockdown, a question has also been raised on accessible online consultations will be for residents without computers.

Hamilton-Miller argued: “The consultation is only for people who have got computers, a lot of our members don’t have computers so I write to them and pop letters through their doors if they’re not too far away.

“The council is not bothering with them.”

Cllr Roberts disputed the claim.

He said: “If people want to call the civic centre main switchboard and give their details, we will post out copies of consultation documents and the questionnaire to look at them in the comfort of their own homes.

“If anybody knows somebody who’s in that situation, please do encourage them to get in touch.”

Featured Image Credit: Richmond Council

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A Storer
A Storer
18 January 2021 5:43 pm

Impractical and unimaginative. Our council are building a bland development and throwing away a once in a lifetime opportunity.
1They are building a pub when there are already pubs in Twickenham struggling to survive.
2 They are building more apartments for a privileged few to live in, making less space for community use.
3 Obsessed with cycling, are they building cycle lanes to ensure pedestrian safety ?
For instance when walking I’ve been hit by cyclists and scooter users on Twickenham’s pavements, but never by a car.
A great disappointment. If this is the best they can come up with better leave it alone until someone with imagination comes along.

Mark szutenberg
Mark szutenberg
13 January 2021 1:03 pm

It is so typical of development along the Thames, bland, visionless, with small open spaces that don’t do much and buildings that look like a poor pastiche of something else, in this case industrial boat houses. 49 apartments = money for the council but it’s public land. That’s the LibDems for you (yes I did vote for them)

13 January 2021 8:18 am

I think the plans look great. I’m sure that helpful suggestions will be made in the consultation, but in general I think it is just was Twickenham wants and needs. I hope they break ground on this exciting project soon.

Loraine bickford-sawkings
Loraine bickford-sawkings
13 January 2021 8:03 am

I think this is a disappointing attempt to get a development through that for years has been by the general public objected to

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
12 January 2021 6:52 pm

Everything that is unique about Twickenham Riverside from historic Eel Pie island to its intimate atmosphere appears to be sacrificed for an oversized retail centre more suited to Kingston. Wouldn’t money be best spent during the worst economic slump for decades saving struggling businesses in Twickenham and encouraging new ones to open where so many have been lost? We have huge empty shops where the likes of Cycle Republic once operated and a high street with shops still empty after 3 years. One store next to the now vacant Patisserie Valerie has been empty for 4 years. We have more charity shops than Richmond and Teddington combined. And yet a proposed huge retail development has no guarantee of tenants.

Nicola Cooper
Nicola Cooper
12 January 2021 11:03 am

It is a council vanity project, not wanted or needed, trying to turn Twickenham into a mini version of Richmond. Already unoccupied retail space so making more and removing all parking not helpful. USP of Twickenham is Eel Pie Island and the businesses and residents there are being totally shafted. Parking is required by the disabled, elderly, parents with young children, businesses etc and the scheme doesn’t address this at all. Will. be disastrous for Twickenham and only supported by those living on the outskirts who won’t be adversely affected.

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