The Diamond Jubilee Gardens are a very sensitive part of the riverside redevelopment and central to plans for the area along the river front between Water Lane and Wharf Lane as a whole.
You can find the Diamond Jubilee Gardens tucked away behind King Street, on the corner of Twickenham’s Embankment and Wharf Lane. This is a popular riverside spot for all ages and especially young families, with play areas including a secure children’s playground, Café Sunshine, a space for popular riverside events and views up and down the river.
The Diamond Jubilee Gardens were built on the site of Twickenham Baths, a public open-air swimming pool that was declared ‘financially unviable’ and closed in 1981.
The gardens have been on this site since 2005; they were re-landscaped and dedicated as the Diamond Jubilee Gardens in 2012. They are run by a charity, the Twickenham Riverside Trust, under a long lease granted by Richmond Council in 2014, for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.
Chair of the Twickenham Riverside Trust is Hugh Brasher, who is Event Director of the London Marathon and other mass-participation events including RideLondon.
Bringing the Gardens into the Riverside Plans
In October 2018 the Trust agreed to the Council’s proposal to incorporate the Diamond Jubilee Gardens into the wider plans for Twickenham Riverside. This is subject to the substitute arrangements by Richmond Council being acceptable and an Order being granted by the Charity Commission permitting plans for relocating this special public landscape.
You can find out more about the Trust’s obligation and the Trust’s Principles of Development here –
The Council’s design brief relating to the Gardens is part of the Invitation To Tender document (June 2019), page 11.
You can find these here –
Progress of Talks Between the Trust and Richmond Council
The Trustees of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens have been in discussion with Richmond Council and Hopkins Architects since 2019.
Then in November 2020 the Council’s plans very nearly went awry when a plan was formally proposed by the Director of Environment and Community Services, Paul Chadwick, to take Compulsory Purchase powers ready to acquire the Diamond Jubilee Gardens without needing any agreement on the part of the Trustees.
Cllr Chard (Twickenham Riverside ward) supported the Compulsory Purchase proposal in order to press ahead with the Council’s plans.
The Chair of the Trust responded by asking Councillors to refuse the proposed Compulsory Purchase, emphasising to them the need for conversation and consultation, not confrontation.
In the end common sense prevailed and a compromise was put forward to delay the inclusion of Diamond Jubilee Gardens in the CPO for two months and enable negotiations to continue.
Public Consultation by the Twickenham Riverside Trust
The Trust is employing an independent surveyor to assess whether the substitute land on the Riverside site has the same amenity value as the current Gardens, in preparation for a formal consultation required by the Charity Commission.
A public consultation will be held by the Trustees soon to gather views on the merits of the new plans and what is in the best interests of the charity. If you would like to pass your views to the Trustees, ask a question or receive information about the consultation, you should email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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