Regeneration of Twickenham Riverside – More than a Glimmer of Hope
I can remember the old Swimming Baths. They were built to commemorate the Jubilee of George V in 1935 (which I cannot remember). They closed in 1980, and it remained a sad scene of deriliction until the Diamond Jubilee Gardens opened in part of the site in 2012. Certainly, it represented an improvement on the deriliction, but it does provide rather more hard surfaces than gardens. The Jubilee Gardens was a very limited response to the questions that had to be answered.
A significant investment in the comprehensive development of the Riverside has always been key to the regeneration of Twickenham Town Centre. The Embankment and Diamond Jubilee Gardens had to be included. Better linkage between the Riverside and the Town Centre is also essential. More public open space is also a requirement. Council ownership of the site would also enable more affordable housing to be part of the solution.
However, achieving ownership and control of the whole site is elusive. Some properties have been acquired, but obstacles remain. The Diamond Jubilee Trust was granted a 125 year lease. King Street properties occupied by Santander and Superdrug have leases to resolve. Parts of the Embankment are the responsibility of the Port of London Authority. The relevant wording in this context is “all parties must be prepared to compromise and act in good faith”.
The approval of the choice of Architects is imminent. There will be more public consultation ahead, but I am encouraged that the Design & Build procurement process looks like an effective one, and will expedite progress without incurring risk. The aim is Planning Consent in Quarter 1-2 2021, with construction commencing in the following Quarter. Project Completion is scheduled for Quarter 2-3 2023. I am almost getting excited after an 43 year wait!
Richard Bennett, Leader,
Green Party Group Cllr.R.Bennett@richmond.gov.uk