Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Council moves closer to rejuvenating poolside


A blueprint for the future of Twickenham will be published for public scrutiny next month, Richmond Council Cabinet agreed last night.

At the meeting, members reviewed the Twickenham Area Action plan, a draft document that has been compiled using the results of a number of public consultations regarding the future of the area.

In addition, members also agreed to appoint specialist contractors to carry out work on the final phase of the opening of the old swimming pool site on Twickenham Riverside after 30 years of closure.

The future of the riverside site has been spilt into two phases. The first will look at opening up the rest of the old pool the site by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June 2012, creating a public space for the local community.  The second phase will consider the potential and future of the existing buildings.

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said “We are grateful to the thousands of local people who have, over the last year, participated in our rolling programme of consultations and meetings regarding the future of Twickenham.

“Over this period, more people have participated directly in shaping ideas for Twickenham’s future than ever before. Neighbourhood planning of this kind, being pioneered here in our borough, is the way to a future shaped by local communities. The days of top-down planning are done. Twickenham people have led the way in generating ideas to improve the wonderful town where they live or work. Now it is time to start making decisions to put community preferences into practice.

“In the latest stage our consultants stimulated debate by setting out three sample scenarios for the area. None of these was a blueprint in itself, but through them we were able to stimulate further discussion on the revival of the town. Residents can now take a final look at the draft plan and see how their views have been inputted into a future vision for the Twickenham.

Cllr Virginia Morris, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning said: “We have always known one of the key sites for improvement in Twickenham was the swimming pool site on the riverside. Over the past 30 years there have been a number of proposals for the area and we are determined to find a finally resolve the future of this derelict eyesore.
“We will now work with contractors to clear and open the back of the site so it becomes an open and inviting area - a lasting legacy for the community in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.”
Over the summer, three scenarios were put forward as part of the development of a Twickenham Area Action Plan, each looking at various options for improvement.

The results of the consultation showed at least 75 per cent of respondents supported most of the suggested objectives.  Different aspects from each of the scenarios had varying levels of support but there was considerable support for enhancing the retail environment, public realm improvements and proposals to reconfigure the road space to reduce the impact of through traffic to make crossing the roads easier.

The draft plan uses this information and outlines the Council’s strategy for improving Twickenham over the next 15 years. Further information regarding the consultation on the Plan, will be published in the next few weeks.