Residents are being given the chance to shape Twickenham’s future. Joanna Kilvington reports on some of your ideas
In five years time millions of pairs of eyes will be on Twickenham as the town hosts the opening ceremony of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
More than 650,000 visitors are expected to visit as Twickenham Stadium plays host to a number of high- profile matches.
With the town thrown into the global spotlight, the race is now on to make sure the legacy of Twickenham shines as brightly as the winners' cup.
Keeping with its election promise of being a "listening administration", Richmond Council held a three-day consultation inviting residents to share their views on the town’s future.
Dubbed a Barefoot Consultation, the event saw 16 community organisations use Clarendon Hall and the civic centre to share ideas on how the town could be developed.
Areas under discussion included Twickenham Riverside, the station and the Post Office site, along with ambitious plans for a bridge to join Twickenham and Ham.
With the event attracting more than 800 people, campaign group Save Our Skyline (SOS) used the opportunity to gather as much support as possible in its fight to stop Twickenham being turned into a town of high-rise buildings.
The group ramped up its opposition to the Twickenham station redevelopment plans, which include a proposal to build 170 flats in three high-rise blocks above the station.
SOS member Jamie Edwards said: “There are ways you can commercialise an area without going high-rise.
“What about a health centre, a pre-school, what about mixed use?”
As part of the consultation visitors were invited to pin their ideas for the town on to a noticeboard, film themselves sharing their thoughts or take to a soap box and tell the crowds their dreams for the town.
The noticeboard was such a hit with members of Richmond United Group, it has asked the council to make it a permanent fixture at council offices.
There were plenty of ideas for the riverside site at the consultation, ranging from those who wanted the derelict area to be grassed over, to those backing plans for housing to be built - an idea put forward by the previous Liberal Democrat council.
The Riverside Vision group put forward its plans to build a square on the site with leisure facilities, community buildings and housing.
Architect and Hampton Hill resident John Thurston suggested creating an entrance to the river from King Street, and building new shops and flats on the site with a feature at the river’s edge, such as a solar-powered water clock, which would play music on the hour.
Twickenham resident Juliet Sheppard, of Sherland Road, said: ”I back the idea of a town square and increasing accessibility of the riverside from the high street.
“You need to have life and you need affordable housing. We need to be realistic - we need people to come and visit.”
Meanwhile, Amyand Park Road resident Mark Rimmel suggested people should look to the past for ideas on how to return Twickenham to its former glory.
He said: “A hundred years ago Twickenham used to be a holiday town. Now every new development seems to have been done that little bit worse.
“Every time a new proposal is submitted I would like them to look at what was there before and put that in as a serious proposal.”
Twickenham resident Plum Cox, of Mary’s Terrace, said she thought the exhibition focused too much on permanent structures and had ignored the importance of building up the community.
She said: “There’s a lot about permanent structures but nothing about the community - what can be done for the elderly or adult education?
“Twickenham is more than just its buildings.”
The council now has the job of analysing more than 320 different suggestions and 260 questionnaires before holding a conference in late autumn when a blueprint will be shaped for how the town can be developed.
Councillor Pamela Fleming, the council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the turnout over the three days and in particular with the enthusiasm and passion for Twickenham from so many of the people I spoke to during the event.
“We have promised to listen to people and consider what they want before we make major decisions.
“This consultation was hugely important for shaping the future of Twickenham.”
Town square for riverside
A new riverside square for Twickenham was one of the ideas put forward to reinvigorate the former pool site.
The plan proposes getting rid of current car park spaces and road to provide space for a riverside square, with leisure facilities, including a swimming pool, if there was demand for it, a cafe, playground and gardens around it.
About 5 per cent of the site would be used for housing with an underground car park to hide cars and open up the site.
The man behind the plan, Max Balfour, said he would take inspiration from popular town squares around the world to make the site an attractive area.
He said: “The whole idea is to make the most of the site.”
Money for the development could be funded from multiple sources, such as contribution from linked Post Office and station sites, onsite housing, the council and donations. To find out more visit riversidevision.org.
Bridging the gap
A pair of borough residents tired of being separated by the river have come up with a plan to link Twickenham and Ham.
Twickenham resident of 40 years, Mark Wing, and Richard Woolf, who has lived in Ham since 1980, hope to gather support for a bridge linking Radnor Gardens with Ham Lands.
Their plan is for a cycle and pedestrian crossing to connect the two areas, which are only 100m apart but separated by water.
Mr Woolf, architect and director of McDaniel Woolf, said: “We had some very favourable reactions at the Barefoot Consultation, particularly as ours seemed to be the only 'new' idea on show. Even the objectors tended to leave our table as converts.”
A two-lane bike route, lower than the pedestrian platform, would stop overcrowding on the bridge at Teddington Lock, the pair say. The pair are keen to hear feedback and are asking people to email their thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Double park's size
A parkland link between Hounslow Heath and Twickenham station was another proposal suggested at the consultation.
Put forward by the Friends of the River Crane Environment (Force), it is hoped the plan would join together existing fragmented green spaces to create a larger park.
The green space currently extends about 2.5km between Hanworth Road in the west and Meadway in the east. The new extension would almost double its size.
Talking about the consultation Force chairman Rob Gray said: “All our leaflets went which was a good sign. People were very supportive.”
Mr Gray will be talking about plans for the River Crane on August 7 at Twickenham library as part of the month-long My River Crane exhibition.