The January issue of the RFU’s Rugby Post has an article that outlines the Diamond Jubilee Gardens project on the Twickenham riverside.
The article states that ‘[The TRTG] are to be congratulated for years of effort and Commitment in coming up with a scheme which is the basis for the most long awaited improvement to the area in years.’
For any readers of the Post who may not be aware of the history of the site here is a quick rundown. Please use the links given at the end of the article, or search the site, for further information.
The land between the river, King Street, Water and Wharf Lanes was purchased in 1924 by the local Council with the sanction of, and a loan by, the Ministry of Health. This was for the purpose of providing public walks and pleasure grounds.
Richmond House, which was part of the site, was demolished in 1928 and parts of the land were sold for commercial properties in 1928. In 1937 the King Street Parade shops and flats, with rear service road at the rear, were built.
The remaining area was retained as public open space until a lido swimming pool was opened on the site in 1935. This pool was closed for repairs in 1981. The pool site lay derelict until 2005 when a Playground and Cafe were opened.
During the intervening years several ambitious schemes were put forward for development on the site, but all were rejected. TRTG carried out a survey of public opinion that revealed almost 10,000 residents wished the site to be retained as public open space.
A small part of the site – the Secret Garden – was opened up to the public in January 2011.
TRTG has tirelessly campaigned for the site to be re-opened for public use, suggesting ideas and proposals for the site that supported this aim – including applying for planning permission. The current Diamond Jubilee Gardens project was drawn from TRTG proposals and uses planning permission granted in 2011.
“I would like to publically recognise [the TRTG’s] contribution in coming up with a scheme which is the basis for the most long-awaited improvement to the area in years.” Lord True.
In the future the TRTG will continue to work with other major stakeholders to ensure the site is utilised as fully as possible for the benefit of the whole community forever.
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