A vision for the Riverside Pool Site.
After years of campaigning, street stalls, petitions, meetings, and exhibitions inviting public views, TRTG are planning, with the help of the Council, to complete the transformation of the existing Riverside Pool Site and make it accessible to all.
Our views and ideas for the site originally put forward in 2001, are backed by the support of local people. This is illustrated by a petition of over 10,000 signatures deposited with 10 Downing Street and the Council in October 2009, and by recommendations in the Planning Enquiry Inspectors Reports of 1991 and the UDP in 2003. The recommendations in the report on the UDP stated:-
1) The restoration of the requirement to provide public conveniences.
2) More explicit emphasis on the provision of public open space as the predominant feature of any redevelopment scheme ; and
3) The requirement that the planning brief for the redevelopment of the site indicate:-
a) the extent of the public open space to be provided, which should be immutable irrespective of the time scale of any proposals; and
b) the characteristics of the Conservation Area which justify its designation and to which new development should have regard.
History of public use
In 1924, a community-minded Council took the decision to purchase the area between Water Lane, Wharf Lane, The Embankment and King Street for public walks and pleasure purposes. In 1934 the open-air swimming pool was built on the site. From 1980 this site has been unused. In 2002 TRTG received Planning Permission for a scheme which would have returned the site to open space, but were not able to implement that scheme themselves. However since 2005 an area of approximately 20% of the site has been cleared and landscaped by the Council and has become a very popular children’s playground and café. During the past year after initiatives by TRTG, the current Council has created additional open space amenity on the site. We are currently in discussion with the Council on the creation of a Town Square which would create a venue for local community activity, exhibitions and events to take place in the centre of the Twickenham.
The present task
This year we have gained a further Planning Permission (09/0914/FUL) for the creation of an open space asset for the town centre, ensuring an economic positive, environmentally conscious sustainable approach to make the best public use of this strategic location. With the cooperation of the Council we plan to ensure the realisation of this long needed project that will provide a high quality attractive useful extension to the public realm providing open space amenity for all ages and protecting the mature Hornbeam and Chestnut trees.
This will be followed by the refurbishment for community use of all the existing buildings on site. This will be of benefit to all local organisations in the provision of meeting, office and activity space. The Town square will provide space for tented exhibitions, open air theatrical non amplified music events and open air exercise activity such as ice skating. The appearance of all buildings and their accommodation can be improved by the addition of pitched roofs to align with the Riverside boathouse appearance of local buildings on the riverside as recommended in the1991 Inspectors report .
The achievement of this reuse of a prime Riverside location in the heart of Twickenham and its benefit to the town in activity and encouraging visitors is dependent on Council cooperation, to allow us to implement our planning application. The current administration’s pre-election pledges regarding the pool site are in accord with our long held vision – we will continue to support and aid the Council in fulfilling those pledges