I went along to see the Charlie Shore Regatta and associated events on Saturday and Sunday. While I was there (I didn’t brave the rain), it seemed reasonably busy and pleasantly filled the Twickenham Embankment area. This sort of activity, if done properly, adds to the amenity value of the riverside.
My first thought as I wandered through was that I could not understand why local charities and interest groups were excluded. They would add to the numbers, atmosphere and community feeling. It also seemed illogical when Community-upon-thames, a social enterprise, had a stall and was there, giving out cakes.
The event showed that the riverside is an excellent venue, although the stalls may not have made much money this week-end. As I came away, I was chatting to an islander, who kicked off one of the many revolutions in British pop music. He was very critical, of the lack of organisation of the music component, but then professionals often are.
For me it would be even better if – maybe next year – the Riverside area was to be grassed over and given over to a big screen. It would be an ideal venue if the fair and regatta were to be combined with an event such as the Olympics – and in particular the cycle road race which comes through Twickenham.
Events of this kind give an indication of how easy it would be to “enhance” Twickenham without any compulsory purchase or linked developments. Any enhancements should concentrate on using what we’ve got more effectively, more efficiently and without massive spend, and should concentrate on how to use the riverside and how to ease residents parking and practical problems.
Broadway Malyan are to spend over £101,000 of our money by Christmas. Their so-called “Enhancement” and “Transformation” scenarios are wrongly named; confuse and will slow down Twickenham development. They completely miss the key points about the Twickenham Riverside area – it’s too small for commercial development that gives the community any gain, and to be transformed, rather than just enhanced it would need a pontoon walkway along the river from the embankment to Radnor Gardens.