A number of properties in the heart of Twickenham have now been purchased for a possible new Town Square as part of the Council’s plans to redevelop King Street.
Over the past 18 months the Council has been working with a major Twickenham landlord to purchase 3 properties on King Street and Water Lane.
The properties are: 1, 1A, 1B King Street and 2/4 Water Lane, currently occupied by Santander, M&Co and Superdrug Stores, with office space above and the car park to the rear.
The purchase of the site is part of the Council’s long-term plan to encourage the rejuvenation and revitalization of Twickenham. The Twickenham Area Action Plan was put together following a number of public consultations, including the Twickenham Barefoot event, the Twickenham Conference and the All in One survey. The plan outlines the overall strategy for the future of the area and the redevelopment of key sites including King Street and the Riverside.
The Area Action Plan outlines plans to transform the space occupied by 1, 1A and 1B King Street, with the potential creation of a new public square and the mixed use development of the car park, with active frontages. Now that the sale has now completed, plans can move forward to launch an architectural design competition, to encourage professional architects to bring forward their ideas for ‘opening up’ the Riverside and high street, linking the two together.
Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
“The separation of Twickenham Town from the historic riverside, that was so critical to the development of the area, has long been regretted by local people, and led to wide spread under appreciation of the quality of the unique place. By acquiring the properties, the Council is fulfilling a promise to enable the creation of a new heart and square for Twickenham that will unite town and river again.
“It will form a link between the improved Town Centre and the award winning Diamond Jubilee Gardens. We hope to attract some of Britain’s best architects to submit ideas for our town, respecting its history, its intimate scale and the beauty of the river.
“This could be a lasting legacy for generations.”
Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Cabinet Member for Environment and Business, said:
“Revitalising the heart of Twickenham is a key priority for this Council. Over the past 12 months, we have invested millions to improve the pavements and highways – really opening up the area for both the community and local businesses.
“We have already opened up a large part of the Riverside through the new Diamond Jubilee Gardens. However, the area of the pool buildings themselves remain to be redeveloped. Through purchasing these additional buildings, we are now able to redesign the whole of the Riverside. We shall work with architects and look to create a new public square and widened entrance from King Street down to the River Thames. We shall open up the riverside to the people in Twickenham and improve links to Diamond Jubilee Gardens.
Architects are being asked to design a scheme that would:
- Introduce a town square on King Street and at the top of Water Lane, and one that is sufficient in size to support commercial and potentially local market activity.
- Introduce the opportunity for niche restaurants, retail, arts and crafts, commercial activity within the overall scheme and be complementary in style and formation to surrounding retail streets, specifically Church Street, Twickenham. Including the opportunity for alfresco/cafe dining activity.
- Potential for ‘front of house’ Council services to be provided.
- Connect to, and be complementary of, existing properties not within the ownership of the Council on King Street and Water Lane.
- Include a proportion of residential including shared ownership options.
- Introduce, as appropriate, further open space to provide for the relevant connection to existing open space and access to the Diamond Jubilee Gardens.
- Create a possible area for performance on the Embankment (amphitheatre).
- Consider a current/future opportunity to connect with, and develop, the access road at the rear of King Street, with the potential to establish retail activity that is complementary to the overall site.
- Introduce facilities that could be available for community use including café, toilets, room to hire.
— from a Richmond Council press release – 21 November 2014