12 October 2017

Carry on Car Parking

The Council has published its “Final Plans” for the Twickenham Riverside this week. Stand by to be disappointed!
The plans still don’t take into account the fundamental responses to the previous three proposals and provide what has been so clearly asked for all along and promised back in 2015; relocation of cars from the riverside, a pedestrianised park and joined up town square with the opportunity for multiple uses, all providing a New Heart for Twickenham. 
Instead there will be some adjustments in architectural style to a still massive building containing offices, retail space and 40 or more flats which get 'under podium' parking spaces. There will be a reduced scale second building at the corner of Water Lane and the Embankment, the purpose of which remains unclear. Otherwise there’ll be some minor changes in landscaping while The Diamond Jubilee Gardens, initially a temporary arrangement, remain as now. Incredibly, that’s it; after all this effort, all of the ideas you’ve come up with and the energy that you have put into this.
The site will effectively remain a traffic island with an increased volume of vehicles moving around it with parked cars dominating the landscape. Cynically, in our view, the Embankment is now not to be part of the expected planning application, removing the inconvenient issue of parking from the application at a stroke. 

Is this really the best that can be done for Twickenham and its people? The answer must be a resounding “NO”! A deeply flawed concept and inappropriate two year process, now costing upwards of £1m of our money, inevitably produces a compromised outcome. This folly must stop.
Over 1300 people have signed our petition in just a few weeks and the numbers continue to rise. 
In replying to our letter to her, Pamela Fleming, the Councillor leading on this, said, “The feedback we have had from residents and community groups is in fact very positive about proceeding with a scheme”. Yes Pamela. But not for this scheme or anything that fails to offer the fundamental requirements. Presumably Pamela didn’t hear the 66 per cent responding to the Council’s own consultation who either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the parking proposals for the last scheme. These are not changed but are magically removed from consideration this time round. This hardly feels like the “Listening Council” elected in 2014.
You may be suffering from “consultation fatigue”, but we implore you to view the Council’s proposals. Go along to the Exhibition at Clarendon Hall, York House. The sessions are on 12th, 16th and 26th October (6.00-8.30) or Saturday 14th October (11.00-4.00).

Make sure your voice is heard and express your opposition to this travesty in the loudest terms. Let’s put a stop to this and, by following a proper and transparent process, make sure we get the solution the whole of this precious and important site deserves. Please pass this on to your friends and also ask them to sign our #ParkNotCarPark petition