• Twickenham residents respond negatively to all aspects of riverside plans in controversial consultation
  • Only 59 out of 778 respondents think the proposals are a good idea
  • Lack of view of River Thames criticised as residents call for a "proper consultation"
  • Councillor Pamela Fleming defends plans and promises to work with architects to make modifications
  • Lib Dems brand Coun Fleming a "town hall Arthur Daley" and say consultation is a "car crash" for Conservative council

Twickenham residents have returned an overwhelmingly negative verdict on Richmond Council’s riverside development proposals.

FRIDAY: Council to consider revealing alternative Twickenham riverside proposals

Just seven per cent of those who took part in the council’s consultation said they were in favour of architects Quinlan and Francis Terry’s Regency era inspired design.

LAST MONTH: Twickenham riverside consultation will NOT reopen after Lib Dem motion defeated

The survey revealed strong opposition to the plans, with concerns raised about the lack of view of the river from King Street, the inclusion of shops and flats and a lack of town square.

Of the 778 people who responded, only 93 said the plans meet Twickenham’s needs, while 227 people said it would not provide a good view of the Thames.

Just 59 people said the plans were a "good idea".

POLL: Overwhelmingly negative reaction to Twickenham riverside plans on social media

One person commented: "There are no views of the river from the town centre, the proposal does not open up vistas.

"There is no space, everything is enclosed until you get to the riverside.”

REVEALED: Regency-style ampitheatre and town square plans revealed for Twickenham riverside - but it could include up to 40 flats

Another respondent said: "A view through a ‘tunnel’ is not what was expected, an open vista of the river was what residents would have expected."

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Grand: The Regency style design was branded "out of character"

The survey found 352 people against design, 230 said it was "out of character", 214 respondents were concerned about the size and 134 people said "we are not Richmond".

The architects also designed Richmond riverside in the 1980s.

Of the negative responses, the amphitheatre proposed for the Embankment attracted 154 criticisms, with one respondent calling it "redundant folly".

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Square: Residents were critical of the town square proposed for King Street

Just 35 people were in favour of the performance space, while 49 people said they liked the idea of a public garden area within the plans.

One person said: "It will really open the riverside up to the high street and the amphitheatre will be a focus for Twickenham."

The lack of view of the river from King Street prompted 275 complaints and just 15 in favour.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Not Richmond: Architects Quinlan and Francis Terry were criticised for the design

A respondent wrote: "The town has not really been linked to the river.

"The town has been linked to a big chunk of shops and expensive flats."

Another feature of the plans with received the wrath of Twickenham’s consulted residents was the shop-lined arcade, which received 210 negative responses, and up to 40 residential homes, which 191 people opposed.

One comment read: "We don't need more shops or restaurants or cafes in Twickenham – there are too many already."

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Open space: The plans feature some open spaces, which people said was important

However, one respondent recognised the need for enabling development to allow the scheme to progress.

They said: "The residential aspect is obviously necessary to help to pay for all of this, let's be realistic.

"However, I think that it is a good thing to have people living in the town centre."

There were also overwhelmingly negative reactions from residents regarding parking and access along the Embankment and the link to Diamond Jubilee Gardens.

Not all comments were negative, as one person described the development as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

They said: "I think this is a development that residents can be proud of."

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Linked: The plans intend to connect the award-winning Diamond Jubilee Gardens with the site

But others said they wanted a "proper consultation" and criticised the council for "not listening properly" to residents.

One person said: "I have a weary sense of deja vu."

Another respondent called for all alternative designs, which the council paid £20,000 of taxpayers’ money to commission, to be released.

Council cabinet member for environment Councillor Pamela Fleming has said the council will consider releasing the plans for the rejected proposals.

She also said that she understands the council needs to "reconsider" its plans "in a number of areas" but stressed it needs to be "financially viable".

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Arcade: More people opposed the "tunnel" of shops than potentially 40 homes on the site

She said: "I want us to all work together to make this work – to create a building and development that local people can be proud of.

"Something that will stand the test of time and will still be magnificent in 20 years’ time."

Coun Fleming added that Quinlan and Francis Terry would be working with the council to make modifications to the "early stage" plans.

The leader of Richmond’s Liberal Democrats, whose group faced backlash in 2008 over controversial plans for luxury homes on the riverside, said the consultation results were a "car crash".

Councillor Gareth Roberts said: "This is an absolute car crash of a result for Coun Fleming.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Opposed: Coun Roberts hit out at Coun Fleming for defending the consultation results

"The people who responded to the consultation have overwhelmingly rejected every single aspect of her preferred Francis Terry proposals including the design, the architecture, the amphitheatre, the shops and the colonnade.

"However, rather than accepting the results, Coun Fleming is now behaving like a town hall Arthur Daley, trying to convince people that the twisted, mangled, smoking wreck of her vision is still a good little runner which simply needs a little work done on it."

Deputy council leader Councillor Geoffrey Samuel added that there was a lot of negative comments about Richmond riverside in the 1980s.

To view the full consultation results, richmond.gov.uk/twickenham_rediscovered_consultation_report.pdf.


Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Coun Fleming with architect Francis Terry at the pop-up consultation shop in Church Street

November 2014: Richmond Council spends £6m on three buildings in King Street and Water Lane for development

July 2015: Quinlan and Francis Terry awarded the contract to create new 'link' from high street to the riverside

November 2015: Proposals unveiled in month-long public consultation

January 2016: Outline design and feasibility study incorporating consultation feedback

October 2016: Planning application to be submitted

January 2017: Building on former bath buildings and car park space to begin

January 2018: Development of King Street buildings to begin

Spring 2019: Construction completed