The political war of words over Twickenham riverside plans continues to be waged after the Liberal Democrats branded the council "hypocrites".

Leader of the opposition Councillor Gareth Roberts highlighted historic comments made by Richmond Council's deputy leader Councillor Geoffrey Samuel.

The comments, made in reference to previous Lib Dem plans for the riverside in 2008, were:

  • January 2008: "We will not hand over public land to private developers for tower blocks of luxury flats. Local people do not want developers on this site."
  • July 2008: "This is a huge multi-floored 1000 sq m building with displays, several offices, a shop, a large restaurant and other facilities. Next comes the housing, 'a mix of housing types including small units'. Let me spell that out. It means blocks of high-rise flats."
  • October 2008: "The current exhibition promotes only the council's plans - this will not do."

Coun Roberts said: "From 2008 to 2010 Geoffrey Samuel and Nick True launched attack after attack on our plans for Twickenham riverside.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Coun Samuel has been accused of being a "hypocrite" by Richmond's Lib Dems

"They were relentless in criticising what they portrayed as a lack of consultation and they were scathing about plans to build 'blocks of luxury flats'.

"They made promises that they wouldn't hand over this public land to the developers and they deliberately sought to mislead residents and voters that their vision, when it emerged, would be one of open space and relaxation."

But Coun Samuel said the big difference between the different plans relates to the ground-level development.

He said: "The objection there was taking 32 high-rise gated luxury houses, which took large part of riverside away from the public.

"The public have access to every square inch at ground-floor level of this plan."

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Coun Roberts said the Tories have lost all credibility over the Twickenham Riverside

Coun Roberts also accused the Conservative administration of hypocrisy over not putting more than one proposal out to public consultation.

He said: "They waged a deeply cynical campaign based on fear-mongering and deliberate deceit.

"The release of these deeply damaging articles has shone a harsh spotlight on their complete and utter hypocrisy.

"Any credibility they once had on Twickenham riverside now lies in tatters."

Coun Samuel responded: "The ideas are a distillation of what people have said in previous consultations - we have consulted everybody.

"We have taken those ideas and said how do we take the positives from that?"

The council, which purchased the site for £6m last year, have commissioned architects Quinlan and Francis Terry, who designed Richmond riverside, to design the development.

Coun Samuel added there is an "enormous" amount of room for modification but confirmed he "would not contemplate" suggestions of a lido on the site.