Following on from his previous comments and queries to LBRuT, TRTG’s Ron Chappell sent the following to the Council:
With regard to the Riverside area, the tone and substance of the TAAP and its accompanying questionnaire lead the public to believe that there is a progressive change envisaged in the Broadway Malyan proposals. This is reinforced by the respective emotive headings of Consolidation, Enhancement & Transformation.
However reading the descriptive text for Scenarios 1, 2 & 3 and as gathered from questioning Broadway Malyan at the meetings held on Thursday 16 June, this is not the case. Each scenario is intended to stand on its own.
It is understood that the benefits listed for Scenario 2 take away community benefits gained in Scenario 1 and all 3 Scenarios indicate that for Eel Pie Island residents and businesses, vehicle access to the island down Water Lane is apparently removed with no clear alternative shown.
Further, the alleged benefits of 3 remove some of the gains of both 1 and 2. For example the Water Lane building of 2 removes the refurbished community facilities of 1, and it is of great concern that in Scenario 3 the redevelopment of the rear of King Street properties appears to require further encroachment on to the Pool site. This will significantly reduce the open space benefit of the Pool site that is of prime importance to so many and at the same time appears to require the removal the existing mature Hornbeam trees carefully retained in proposal’s 1 & 2 as well as the removal of the proposed buildings on Water Lane in scenario 2.
In voting for 1, 2 or 3, the public is given no guidance on this and are led to believe by the text that there is some incremental improvement as a progression from one to the other. The illustrations in the document prepared by Broadway Malyan are not clear and the projected time frame of each alternative scenario is not given.
For the riverside It is now understood that the time period for those sites not in Council control brought forward for development could be 5 to 20 years. Broadway Malyan do not explain this drawback to scenarios 2 & 3.
It is of considerable concern, that bearing in mind that this area has been the subject of several abortive grandiose development proposals, all opposed by the public, resulting in a total waste of money over the last 30 years, (a fact that must surely have been communicated to Broadway Malyan) to find that a joined up proposal for this areas TAAP has not been produced.
What needs to be made clear to the public is the fact that Scenarios 2 & 3 stand on their own, and their time frame for execution is likely to exceed the limit of time for the TAAP in 2027..The public are being asked to decide on scenarios without clear information on when they can be achieved. What has been produced is a collection of strands or elements of policy that are a recipe for inaction and prevarication taking no account of earlier planning applications, meetings, consultations, public enquires and the public’s frustration with the Council.
To ask the public to vote for alternative scenario’s which due to the fact that they require landowners to bring their sites forward for development may only be implemented in 20 years after 30 years of inaction without any explanation of this fact, is failing to properly inform the public, and gives a false impression of achievability for these proposals.
This TAAP needs to be pruned so that the key components are achievable in a short time frame particularly on the Riverside, which does not require complex land acquisition or negotiation.. The provision of amenity open space and a central location for community activity both indoors and out can be readily economically achieved, and has already commenced .This is a timely opportunity to address the salient problems of lack of amenity and facilities for young and old in a town that once boasted several Cinemas a Swimming Pool and a local Ice Rink. The opportunity is there for the TAAP to include these in new developments at the Northern approach a sensible location for the necessary restoration of these amenities.
For the Riverside the Council should revise the approach in its planning policies, accepting its limitations and not be dependent on private developers. An area action plan should be sound, realisable and capable of progressive implementation.
It is time to for community action, to keep proposals simple; in 20 years we may well have a different view of car use, shopping and parking, What is certain is that open space amenity on a Thames River Bank, York House, its gardens, the Church and its environs will be a priceless asset that we need to ensure our children and grandchildren can enjoy. The policy must be above all to protect and enhance this amenity for the future..
For the Twickenham Riverside element of the TAAP please let me know what steps the Council proposes to take to rectify the situation outlined above and properly inform the public of realistic realisable proposals, with an explanation of their implementation time so that a balanced judgement of alternative proposals can be made.
After 30 years the public expects an early restoration to public open space and amenity use for the Riverside Pool Site and that proposals put forward in the TAAP for adjacent sites not owned by the Council should be realistic progressive and sustainable not requiring expensive land acquisition nor prejudice the future public use and amenity of the Riverside Pool Site.
LBRuT sent the following response:
When preparing this stage of the Action Plan consultation it became clear that with a number of options possible on several sites there could be an infinite number of permutations. To narrow this down it was decided to suggest 3 scenarios representing different amounts of change, to test public opinion. For most sites and other proposed changes (e.g. to traffic, environmental improvements etc) the 3 scenarios could be regarded as a progression, however as you point out, with the Twickenham
Riverside site scenarios 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive. At this stage the consultation is not a referendum on 3 scenarios, more a way to test which elements are liked, and which are definitely not liked and in many instances the public have told us which parts of each scenario they prefer.
Once all of the results are in the Council will decide which elements to proceed with and which to drop, and we will be carrying out more feasibility and design work before we produce a draft plan at the end of this year.
With respect to implementation, the Council and consultants are in touch with the relevant private owners during this phase. The consultants have experts on Estates and Valuation who will be assessing any possible schemes. To be formally adopted the Council will have to show that the
Plan is able to be implemented within the Plan period, so it is very unlikely that any proposals will be put forward at Draft Plan stage which do not have the support of relevant owners, nor proposals which could not be achieved for financial reasons.
I hope that the above explains the consultation. I will include your views with regard to the Riverside with the other consultation responses.
‘Feasibility, ownership, cost, estate valuation, and negotiation with owners of land not within the Councils ownership has not yet been undertaken. The Council do not know whether those owners are willing to bring their land forward for redevelopment, nor the consequential costs to the Council. .
‘When testing which elements are liked, the documentation fails to properly inform the public not only when those elements they like can be implemented. But also fails to inform the public that no feasibility, ownership, cost, estate valuation, or negotiation with owners has been undertaken. This information could affect the public in their choice in that some of the scenarios put forward by Broadway Malyan may not be realisable or in the most optimistic scenario may take up to 2027 to realise.’