What’s not to like about the new riverside development for Twickenham? Large grassy areas and trees, a new café and restaurant/pub overlooking the river, children’s play area, a space for open air events, improved cycling routes and no parking free-for-all on The Embankment.
Look a bit deeper and is this really what you thought you were getting? There is so much that is unresolved, unclear and missing. Too much perhaps?
The first aspect that’s missing is the key objective of this scheme, established seven years ago in Twickenham’s Area Action Plan – regeneration and strengthening the local economy of Twickenham. This should drive the Council’s requirements and the architects’ designs for the site, but it is largely missing from the architects’ brief and these proposals.
The second aspect that’s missing is to create the public square / open space as Twickenham’s focal point, to attract people to shop in the town, enjoy a drink and a meal or just visit, a focal point in Twickenham for meeting people, for outdoor events and other community activities.
The town square is actually a ‘must’ – a mandatory requirement stated in the brief in 2019. But the Council now give it a ‘suggested’ status – not yet resolved either. ‘A suggestion’ is not good enough.
What they have proposed is inadequate as a focal point for the town, clearly not fit for purpose and it does not satisfy the stated requirement.
Over 2,900 people signed the petition for a town square and riverside park, but the Council ignored the first part – the town square which is a primary requirement, not an optional add-on in a remote corner of the site.
If we are paying for multi-million pounds scheme to regenerate Twickenham’s economy and make improvements on the riverside, we should see a really good scheme on the table. Sadly this is not it. We need to get it right, before the Council pour more effort and more of our money pushing on with a flawed scheme.
It has taken more than six years to get the scheme to where we are now, so surely it is worth taking a short while longer in order to get it right and get what we will be proud of for generations to come.
The Twickenham Coalition – ‘Love our town’