We have recently reassessed the cost of reinstating the remaining pool site as public open space after deducting the areas allocated to the River Centre and the Play area plus café. This is now an estimated cost of £514,719. At today’s prices.
You will be interested to learn that the present Council have now voted for the expenditure of £137,500 for the next 6 months plus £45,000 per year for the pool site. They have already spent £470,000 in 2005/06. An anticipated total sum of £697,500 for the years 2005/08.
The sums listed for 2007/09 will provide the Council with – believe it or not – more paper in the form of a development brief for the site. This will in due course in co-operation with a developer result in enabling development to pay for the River Centre and the public open space. Enabling development will inevitability take the form of luxury flats, housing, bars, shops, etc.
As you are aware there has been year on year similar expenditure since 1980 when the pool was closed. The only positive result, the temporary playground and café are reported to have cost £1.2 million.The proposals for these are given below.
The principal result has been paper in the form of consultants’ reports, documentation, feasibility proposals, etc.; many filing cabinets full.
Playground and Café
Your Council are now proposing to re-provide the (temporary) existing play facilities permanently within or close to the development site. The ‘close to’ would allow exploration of sites to the East of the main site boundary.
TRTG are of the opinion that a River Centre, Playground, café, toilets and open space will occupy the majority of the present pool site. TRTG says it is time to stop this expenditure nonsense of reports and documentation. For £520,000 the Council could landscape the remaining site and satisfy the provision and importance of public open space in accordance with the recommendations of the UDP Inspector at the inquiry in 2004. Let the River Centre have time to raise its own funds as originally envisaged and keep the existing successful playground on its present location, and enlarge the café so that it can serve hot meals. The Council holds this land in trust for the community and therefore should provide for the community. The importance of conservation and the need to treasure our community resources. This generation and future generations will wish to know how such a usable public asset could lie derelict for over 27 years. Remember the present playground, café and other landscape amenity were financed out of Council funds.
If you care about the future of Twickenham Pool Site and wish for permanent public use of the whole site, including public open space, a children’s play area, toilets and a café, we ask you to assist us in this aim by writing to the present Council. E mail a/d p.Chadwick@richmond.gov.uk
By doing this you are helping to ensure that any plans for the site are fully and openly discussed. Remember that in 1924 a community-minded Council took the decision to purchase this riverside area of Twickenham for public walks and pleasure purposes. It is our duty as residents to remind the Council of its obligations to the community. This Pool Site is historically public open space. There are good reasons to hold such events as the Farmers’ and French Markets on this site. The present facilities comprising the existing playground and café with toilets, has planning permission only until June 2009. Therefore, unless the residents of Twickenham make it clear to the Council that they wish otherwise, the present facilities will be cut and the play area removed to another site.