Alternative Twickenham Riverside proposals submitted to Richmond Council in 2015 were released to the public this week.

The designs were put forward by architects selected by the Council and paid £5,000 to develop ideas from a brief that included objectives that included introducing a town square on King Street, creating a possible area for performance and introducing the opportunity for commercial space as well as residential.

A Regency-era inspired proposal from architects Quinlan and Francis Terry, including an arcade of shops and up to 40 homes, was chosen but it was met with a mixed reception from residents and community groups.

FROM NOVEMBER 2015: Regency-style ampitheatre and town square plans revealed for Twickenham riverside - but it could include up to 40 flats

The other proposals published on the Council website this week were from John Simpson Architects, Atkins and Kemp Muir Wealleans.

Community groups Twickenham Riverside Village Group and Twickenham Alive have put their own concepts for the site forward.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Henry Harrison, part of Twickenham Riverside Village Group, has created his own design

Architect Henry Harrison, who lives on Eel Pie Island and is part of the Twickenham Riverside Village Group, has put together his own design for the riverside and dismissed the Francis Terry scheme as “inappropriate” for the area.

He said: “I would say it is the wrong scheme for the wrong site; it is completely inappropriate.”

Mr Harrison put together a list of 18 objectives he feels the design must meet that include improving pedestrian access to the river, opening vistas from the town centre to the river, preserving the historic village pattern and an appropriate mix of uses for the building.

He claimed The Francis Terry scheme meets just two of these objectives and described their design, which includes a “Covent Garden-style” amphitheatre, as a “monolithic white elephant.”

Mr Harrison, who spoke with the Richmond and Twickenham Times while he walked past the Quinlan Terry designed riverside in Richmond, said: “I am observing, enhancing and preserving the existing riverside village based on 400 years of history.

“We put together this proposal based on my architectural ideas and it is based on the objectives of people who have lived here for many years and understand the sensitivity of the issue and the importance of getting it right.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

The winning design from Quinlan Francis Terry

“It needs to feel as if it has evolved over the natural history of the riverside. Georgian right through to contemporary buildings.”

Mr Harrison highlighted Twickenham business success stories such as Eel Pie Island firm Tech21, and how many small organisations are being forced out of the borough.

He said: “If you give these people a home you can make Twickenham a very dynamic place and this site is the opportunity to do that.”

The Twickenham Alive group put forward the idea of a lido on the site, an idea Liberal Democrat councillor for West Twickenham Piers Allen said he would not be unsympathetic towards.

Cllr Allen admitted his party had made mistakes with its own plans in 2009-10, and said he wanted the Council to heed what residents had said about objectives for the site.

He said: “There needs to be the open space and the view of the river from Kings Street.

“Open space doesn’t include the ground floor of shops, it needs to be opened up in a way that connects the river to the high street without ruining aspects of the riverside.”

The Riverside Action Group (RAG) has gone so far as to issue a formal data protection complaint against the Council’s decision to adopt the Francis Terry design.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Quinlan Francis Terry plans show how Diamond Jubilee Gardens will be linked with the river

Chairman of the group, Sue Burningham, said she was disappointed in the Council’s approach to consulting over the site.

She said: “It is apparent from the Council’s brief to architects that it was following its own agenda and not that of public request.”

A statement on the Council website said the Quinlan Francis Terry design was chosen because it best met the main requirement for the community and public space, that is accessible for all and connecting to Diamond Jubilee Gardens.

It also explains that the proposals from the other architects were not consulted on because, as explained in the brief, the competition was to find one architect who could visualise the feedback it had already received.

The statement said: “However, we were also clear that these designs were only a starting point. They were concepts that needed to be developed with the community, after which there would be a further consultation on revised proposals.”