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Twickenham Riverside Park, Not Car Park

Twickenham Riverside Park, Not Car Park

You may have seen that a campaign has been launched under the heading of Twickenham Riverside Park, Not Car Park and be wondering how this relates to Riverside Action Group (RAG). This letter aims to clarify the situation.

RAG was set up in early 2016 to oppose a Council scheme which many residents considered to be poorly conceived, completely inappropriate to its location, and resulting from a selection process which was highly questionable. A series of meetings resulted in a referendum which made it crystal clear that local residents and the wider Borough have overwhelmingly rejected the Council’s scheme and called for the process to be started again with a properly researched brief and business plan to which architects could respond through an approved competition. Over the following months considerable progress was made, an extensive database was established and the first draft of a residents’ brief drawn up.

RAG’s proposals were largely ignored as the Council pressed ahead with a scheme modified in response to ideas put forward by a small group of Eel Pie Island residents. As the new design showed some movement on the Council’s part, RAG decided to continue to lobby for changes rather than challenge the process and the ‘concepts’ that were being offered. By the end of the first year, five of the people who had set up RAG had left the steering group. Only one founding member remains. RAG has now abandoned the brief and their call for a fresh start with a new architect, and instead appears to believe that the current scheme, tweaked and massaged, could be made to work. It is now arguing for ‘compromises’ which include the retention (and potential increase) of parking on the riverside.

There are, of course, those who support RAG’s approach but the response to the Council’s latest consultation exercise demonstrates that many do not. 66% disagreed with the Council’s parking proposals, which were endorsed by RAG. This has led several former RAG members, and other concerned local residents, to launch the campaign Park Not Car Park. We have set up a website, and a petition to promote the principles that were originally supported and promised by the Council – links to a riverside park, and town square with parking removed from the riverside to an underground car park (alongside the Embankment). The original proposal was intended to reinvigorate the town centre, attract visitors, and create a lasting legacy for future generations. We feel this can still be achieved, but only if the current process is abandoned before any more public money is spent.
If this reflects your view, please register support and sign our petition using the following link: http://bit.ly/2vTZbSp
Here you will see more information about our campaign and our core principles for Twickenham Riverside regeneration, plus a concept proposal.

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