Coalition letter – Response to Council’s proposals, 5 March 2021

To the Editor, Twickenham & Richmond Tribune                                                 

Published 5 March 2021

Community responses to the Council’s Twickenham Riverside proposals

Richmond Council announced at the start of the consultation in January: “We are determined to make this site the destination it should be and deliver a scheme that we can all be proud of and enjoy.”  But what have they actually delivered?

Let us be frank.  The initial results of the consultation survey were not great, were they.

Just over half of those taking part in the survey said they were more likely to visit Twickenham’s riverside, but nearly half did not.  That does not look like a scheme that “we can all be proud of and enjoy” and it’s not great news for Twickenham’s local businesses, workers and job seekers either. 

Astonishingly the Council proclaimed the results as a ‘local thumbs up’ and reported that the Council Leader welcomed ‘the overwhelmingly positive response’.  The fact is it was more like a ‘thumbs down’.  Then the Council Leader told us: “I am incredibly pleased that the results were so positive.”  To be honest, they were not. 

The consultation itself was not what it promised to be.  In June 2019 the Council announced that it had ‘an emerging proposition’ for the re-provision of Embankment parking, but 18 months on and that proposition had not ’emerged’. 

In a report last November the Director of Environment had stated that the design will be presented in full during a public consultation.  So why did the Council choose to go ahead with the public consultation prematurely, without proper plans for traffic, access and parking, and why did they did not consult on the full scheme?  Surely we should expect some transparency?

Seriously though, let’s steer away from all the hype and also stay clear of making political capital out of the situation.  Was it really in the public interest to charge headlong into a consultation when there were still so many gaps in the draft proposals?  Why the undue haste, we ask.

The Twickenham Coalition is a growing number of residents and community groups who all want the best for Twickenham.  We call on Richmond Council to pause, prepare proposals that will deliver what you said you would deliver and put them on the table for public scrutiny and consultation – and this needs to be done now, before preparing their Planning Application. 

The Council promised to present the design in full for public consultation.

We are watching this space.

Yours sincerely

The Twickenham Coalition – ‘Love our town’