Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Future of Twickenham and it's Riverside

Richmond Borough Council has been changing political control each election over many years now, still the riverside fiasco gos on. Are our current masters really serious in their immediate actions, or just jumping on to popularity with the public?

Let us not forget, the last time the Conservatives were in control they stopped an earlier Libdem plan and promised a ‘Jubilee’ garden. This, simple and quick to construct, never happend. It is possible they will say they do not have the funds to carry out their election promise? Then starting again some form of commercialism to fund a small part of the site for public use?

Like many things in our Borough great opportunities are lost through bad timing and indecisions. The first planning in the 20th century was one such occasion when Twickenham could have been better planned.

At the time of the 70’s attempt, the late award winning architect Kenneth Hathaway, was commissioned by ‘The local Labour Party Twickenham Study Group’ to produce a new Town Plan, Named as ‘A Fresh Start’ he updated with revisions in 1994 and 2000, after much discussion and consultation with community groups and local people. The future of Twickenham Town Centre and its Riverside has long been the concern of the Twickenham Labour Party.

This document set the Riverside in the broader context of the need for reappraisal of the whole of the town centre, its shopping, pedestrian and motor traffic and its connections with its surroundings. In its scope and attention to detail it is as relevant to day as when it was written.

It needs to be read with the realisation that decline uncertainty and lack of action by Council administrations over the years have taken their toll on the pool site, and therefore aspirations such as the renewal of the swimming pool have become more costly. However today there is a new awareness of the importance of the environment, and its relevance in terms of space and amenity to the community, which is now accepted by all.

To this end the Twickenham Labour Party considers it imperative to restart and revive this consultation.

At the same time to take this opportunity to bring back into public use this Riverside heritage area, under the control and for the benefit of the community as a park where community activity and leisure can be realised to the benefit of the town its residents visitors and traders.

The broader environment of the town centre must be considered, where the unique Riverside setting is the principal asset of Twickenham. The continued public open space use of the pool site and its overall integration with the town should not be jeopardised by the ruse of non statutory education provision justifying speculative Riverside housing.

Although some small things have been done the full ‘Hathaway’ report is still relevant today and can be seen at