Release Date: 25/05/2012
Significant improvements are to be made to Twickenham Station platforms, thanks to £1.6m funding from the Greater London Authority. Amongst other things, the funding will replace the dilapidated footbridge connecting the platforms with a new modern structure.
It is funding that adds to the bridge level station improvements. And includes a new ticket office area that will be provided as a basic part of the overall development proposal and adds to platform level improvements that have been demanded by the Council from the developer as part of the planning agreement (S106).
This regeneration grant from the Mayor will pay for further significant improvements at platform level and to the footbridges, adding to the prospect of a total transformation of Twickenham’s run-down station in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, ensuring the station is capable of standing up to the 400,000 people expected to arrive to Twickenham by train. This is in addition to the thousands who travel into and out of town on match days and every day for work or college.
At platform level, more substantial improvements will be made and the canopies over the platforms will be lengthened to allow more passengers to stay under cover. It is also anticipated the regeneration funding will allow the other footbridge which links Mary’s Terrace to Cole Park Road to be revamped.
Further funding contributions associated with the project include a £293,000 developer contribution, primarily for investment in schools, together with £32,000 to improve the ecology of the recently damaged River Crane.
Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
“There is no-one in Twickenham who does not think the current station is an utter disgrace to our town and hugely inadequate – struggling to cope at maximum capacity. This morning when I walked through the crumbling facilities, that don’t comply with Disability Discrimination Act requirements, down to the platform, I found the primitive public conveniences closed and awash with water. We cannot go on like this.
I’m very conscious of the strong opposition in Twickenham to the development. And I know that TRAG are contemplating Judicial Review – which is disappointing. I understand in particular the strong feelings there will be from those living near any development, especially one of this size. We will seek to protect their interests during development. But the scheme approved is not the scheme first presented. Had it not been for the actions of this Council we could have had an 11-storey monstrosity forced through against local wishes, just as happened with the Travelodge. Instead, by cutting the number of properties by one-third with the support of the Mayor we were able to reduce the height, size and scale of the building and improve the appearance of aspects of the development.
Campaigners now wanting to add even more housing to the project could only achieve this by adding height or reducing the community benefits. We will not go that way.
Despite what is claimed by some, no alternative scheme was ever presented for planning permission to us, or the Mayor. Nor were any detailed discussions held by those against the development with Network Rail. Without the support of the landowner, in this case Network Rail, any would-be alternative is still-born.
This Council is investing more in Twickenham than for generations. Soon we will see improvements in London Road. In June we intend to reopen the People’s Riverside after 30 years. Let us not forget the importance of a new station to this revival. Twickenham is not just any suburban station – it is the gateway to two renowned rugby stadiums and a host of other world class attractions. For years visitors have been greeted with degradation and 1950s averageness. The station will bring new life and facilities to this area and we should now look to the future of our town.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson added:
"This will vastly improve the daily journeys of hard working locals and is part of improving the quality of service across the whole network for Londoners and visitors to the capital. This vital investment will not only improve the experience for all commuters and visitors, it will crucially support and create valuable jobs during it's construction and that of the wider station, works as well as boosting the local economy for years to come. Also, lets not forget that Twickenham plays host to some of the most exciting sporting encounters in the world and in just three years time, guests from all over the globe will descend on the home of rugby as England stages the 2015 World Cup again, confirming London’s status as a global destination for sport."