Outraged Twickenham residents fight high-rise development plans


TRAG, formed just over a year ago, has the strong political backing of Vince Cable and Zac Goldsmtih.


By Marc Sobbohi

Outraged Twickenham residents are fighting plans to turn the station into a high-rise development.

TRAG, Twickenham Residents Action Group, formed just over a year ago to fight the multi-storey planning proposals of developers Solum Regeneration. It currently has over 4,000 members.

TRAG has strong political backing with both Twickenham MP Vince Cable and Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith supporting their objections.

TRAG member John Parsons said that Mr Cable has urged Solum to create an alternative development plan that contributes more to the station and does not scar the predominantly low-rise area.

The residents group met at York House in Twickenham on Tuesday evening to reveal two alternative plans and take matters into their own hands.

Councillor Scott Naylor, of Twickenham Riverside, is a strong supporter of the TRAG opposition and alternative plans.

He said: “In this borough we have the highest number of conservation areas in London which means we preserve what we love best which is actually architecture.

“Architecture is very important to people’s well-being. It is preserved for a good reason because it works.

“Solum’s plans are no other word than just a pure monstrosity.

“I believe the developers have just tried to tick the boxes without really thinking about the town itself or really engaging with the people of the town beforehand.”

Plan B1, designed by John Milner and Alex Truvaluski, proposes to deliver the low-rise station development that TRAG members have demanded.

It aims to create easy access to the station and give it a modern look.

Plan B2, designed by Richard Mellor, proposes improvements to the station along with match day crowd and traffic management.

Councillor Naylor said Solum are paying ‘lip service’ to security and that their plans are ‘driven by profit’.

Solum are in partnership with Network Rail and Kia Property and have received support from the RFU(Rugby Football Union), especially as their plans aim to regenerate the station in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Solum say they have already lowered the height of their development designs in light of the concerns raised by TRAG and Mr Cable.

They also note that the council have hundreds of letters supporting their plans.

Tuesday’s meeting was full of shocked residents who are strongly opposed to Solum’s controversial plans.

TRAG member Adrian Fowler said: “The area is dominated by low-rise buildings, we don’t want this cynical high-rise.

“Solum are conning us by saying this is the only option for the station.

“No one minds them making a profit but not at the expense of this town.”

Twickenham resident Ray Thomas said: “I’m going to lose even more sunlight from my building.

“I’m pretty sure the wind has increased from the travel lodge, so if you put another large building on the other side of the road you’ll create a wind tunnel effect.”

Councillor Naylor said Twickenham residents need to put immense pressure on the planning committee to oppose the plans.

They can object online through TRAG, at He added residents can also write letters, lobby their MP’s and try to get hold of the new Transport Minister Justine Greening.

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