Twickenham station plans recommended for approval

Controversial proposals to redevelop Twickenham station in south-west London have been recommended for approval by planning officers.

Twickenham: plans include 115 homes
Twickenham: plans include 115 homes
The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames’ planning committee will meet next week to decide whether to approve plans to demolish the existing station building and replace it with a new ticket office, a new station concourse, a public square and 115 homes along with shops and restaurants.

An officer’s report to the committee recommends that the project proposed should be approved, subject to the completion of a section 106 (S106) planning gain agreement and no adverse direction from London mayor Boris Johnson.

The plans, put forward by Solum Regeneration – a joint venture between station owner Network Rail and developer Kier Property - have proved controversial, with the Twickenham Residents’ Action Group (TRAG) opposing the height of the proposed development.

TRAG says it has collected 4,000 names on a petition opposing the plans and says that its own low-rise proposals would not "scar" Twickenham. The action group is calling for a mass demonstration before the special meeting on Monday 19 December.

But Solum Regeneration said that the scheme had the backing of the Rugby Football Union, the Greater London Authority and that more than 500 local residents had registered their support for the scheme on the council’s website.
The joint venture submitted a revised planning application in May, which reduced the tallest part of the scheme to seven storeys.

The number of homes proposed in the scheme has also been reduced, from 165 to 115. But the revised proposals do not include any affordable homes.

John Robinson, Solum Regeneration development manager, said: "Over the last 18 months, we have distributed newsletters, established a project website, held exhibitions and met with local groups.

"We understand that there has been some opposition attached to the proposed scheme, however we have also found that many Twickenham residents support the proposal. We are grateful to the 700 residents that have pledged their support for the scheme and we hope the council will listen to these voices."

The officer’s report acknowledged that the proposed building heights in the revised application exceed those set out in a council development management plan document on tall buildings and a relevant supplementary planning document and added that "no affordable housing is provided".

But it added: "The securing of substantial rail investment and improvements … are considered by officers to be of greater planning benefit to the revitalisation of Twickenham, in accordance [with the core strategy]."
The officer’s report said: "It is considered that the redevelopment of the station and its immediate environment would provide a catalyst for the regeneration of the northern approach into the town centre benefitting Twickenham as a whole particularly as a gateway to the town and to Twickenham Stadium."

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