Twickenham is traditionally known for the rugby, but it could be turned into a leading retail and leisure destination in new designs for the long-awaited Twickenham Riverside Development.

Five designs are being presented as part of a competition managed by the Royal Insitutute of British Architects (RIBA) to find an architect team to work on the site.

They include plans for a floating stage which could sit up to 150 people as well as pontoons, floating workspaces and water taxis.

There are also new designs for studios and flats, where at least 50 per cent are classed as affordable, as well as a riverside walk and plans for a car-free embankment.

Many of the designs also include commitments to preserving the site’s natural habitats and historic links to the river, and propose using “natural” materials such as rammed earth, straw bale and lime render walls, and recycled materials reclaimed from the site.

The shortlisted architects are:

  • Allies and Morrison
  • Baynes and Mitchell
  • Cullinan Studio
  • Haworth Tompkins
  • Hopkins Architects

The council has been debating what to do with the site for 40 years since the lido closed in 1980. This was thrown into further confusion last year when the Lib Dems withdrew a previous planning application after taking control of the council.

The new competition will cost the council £210,000 including RIBA fees, money to unsuccessful architects, design rebrand, project management and consultant costs,  publicity, delivery and analysis of engagement, venue costs and contingency.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“Twickenham Riverside should be the flourishing centre of Twickenham and the local area, but instead it’s being used as a car park with parking prioritised over people. For nearly 40 years this beautiful stretch of the River Thames has been awaiting a design that can showcase the riverside as a destination for people to live, play, work, enjoy and thrive. We have heard from you loud and clear that you want better for Twickenham.

“We have used all your feedback from previous consultations to create an exciting brief for this important site. And we are delighted to be working with RIBA Competitions to find an architect who has the vision and skills to deliver a design which creates a heart for Twickenham.”

Residents are invited to comment on the five concept designs online or at drop-in sessions from now until October 2 but they will not be able to vote on the designs themselves.

Richmond Council said any feedback provided by the public will be made available to the Design Panel during their deliberations.

Drop-in exhibitions are being held on the below dates in the Clarendon Hall, York House, Twickenham, TW1 3AA.

Thursday 5th September from 12-8pm

Thursday 12th September from 6pm – 8.30pm

Saturday 21st September from 10-5pm

Tuesday 24th September from 6pm – 8.30pm

The chosen architect will be announced in December.