Twickenham Pool Site History

Twickenham Swimming Pool


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Amended planning application submitted 5 February, 2002
The revised application has the same mass of and layout of buildings, including 46 flats. It is suggested that the development should occur in two phases, with the building in the poolsite going ahead first with a delay to the proposed changes to traffic, access, and closing the Embankment to traffic and parking.

Public benefit?
The 'piazza' area facing the river has been marginally enlarged, by moving the entrance to the exclusive health club back - thus diminishing the space at the crossing of the service road. It is stated that there will be only 5-15% retail space and 85-95% restaurants on the ground floor. One cinema will be available for up to 14 weeks a year as a 'community arts centre'(with dressing rooms in the toilets?). It is intended that the small swimming pool, which will have no shallow end to make it safe for children, will be open to the public from 10am-12pm and 2pm-5pm on weekdays, and one afternoon per weekend.

Residents have 21 days to respond to these proposals. The revised plans can be seen at the Twickenham Library (closed Mondays) and the Civic Centre.

It is still intended that the application will be heard by the Council's Development Control Sub-Committee at 7.00pm on Thursday, 28th February

Dawnay Day Scheme

The Planning Officer's report is online on the Council's site in a 29-page .pdf file that may take a few minutes to download.

The Development Control Committee's page has background information on the poolsite development, including the conclusions of the Marks & Spencer Inquiry report and the T1 Planning Brief for Twickenham.

Below is an artist's montage showing the possible massing on the riverside from the Dawnay Day scheme:

Twickenham Riverside revealing the impact of the Dawnay Day scheme
Montage courtesy Twickenham Online, © Online Communications. Reproduced with kind permission.

The new development won't appear until the picture download is complete. It's a 60kB file, so please be patient. This montage is to scale, taken from the architects' drawings, and it illustrates the impact the scheme will have.

1st March, 2002: Planning permission granted to Dawnay Day Scheme
After a marathon session, beginning on 28th February and ending at a quarter to one in the morning of 1st March, the Council's Development committee approved the Dawnay Day scheme.

The silent protest outside beforehand drew a large crowd, and 220 people jammed Clarendon Hall for the meeting. A surprising number stayed to the bitter end.

Seventeen local people spoke against the development, and of the nine who spoke for it, only one has no involvement with the Council or the Developer.

The vote was six to three in favour of the development, on entirely party political lines.

Before the meeting started, it was announced that the Government Office for London (part of the DTLR) has directed the Council to submit to the proposal for examination and a decision on whether to call it in for a public inquiry. The Call-in Notice.

The Council's minutes of the meeting.

In a separate vote, consent was also given to the demolition of the existing pool buildings. This may have an impact on the charity, HANDS, which is still located on the pool site, and for the Riverside Terrace Project, which wants to use part of the pool facade for its building, and has planning permission to redevelop the site. Legal advice is being sought.

27 April, 2002: New Designs released by the Twickenham Terrace Group:


Notes from the Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group: The basic concept remains that of providing a landscaped terrace garden, that is accessible and safe for public use, but also provides serviced (water /electricity) locations for cafe, bar or shopping or other activities to operate from the site in a temporary or flexible way.

We have endeavoured to retain the essential elements of the Pool site that make it unique. New views and vistas of the Thames and Twickenham Riverside that will be revealed when the existing first floor parts of the Old Baths Building are removed and remodelled to provide the Terrace. The existing functional toilets are retained, as are the existing Bath House and Pool Restaurant buildings, so that incoming cafe or bar operators can renovate them.

The pool itself can either be filled to provide a paved and grass area, or only partially filled with the material removed from the pool buildings, or even dredged from the river, to form a sunken garden that with limited additional investment could become an open air auditorium The ideas illustrated also show how the area at the end of Water Lane could be paved to make the area more pedestrian friendly. Ease of public access is essential from all directions. New steps and ramps are provided as part of the general repair works to the retaining walls and other structures around the site.

19th June: Public Inquiry announced for the Dawnay Day scheme

Click here for the full text of the Council's letter announcing the Inquiry. Another and somewhat different letter was issued by the Government Office for London, which included the correct address for the Inquiry Inspectorate.

Those who wanted to make a statement to the Inquiry, or to write to the inspector to express your opposition (or support), had to write to:

The Planning Inspectorate
3/17 Eagle Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol BS1 6PN
quoting reference number APP/L5810/V/02/1092346

Subsequently, on 29 June, The Planning Inspectorate informed us that any submissions made earlier to the Government Office for London WOULD NOT be passed on to the Planning Inquiry. This is not mentioned in the Council's letter.

27 June : GOL orders Environmental Impact Assessment

The Government Office for London notified the Architects that an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for the poolsite because of:

a) The impact on the immediate neighbours and historical and cultural landscape including the Thames
b) The visibility of the proposal from these locations by virtue of its size and its impact on views to and from these locations
c) The associated impact of traffic generation on the neighbouring area caused by the proposed development.

It appears that they will have to do the Impact Statement before the Inquiry begins. So far there has been no formal response, though there was a three-week time limit to reply. Local environmental groups and individuals had repeatedly asked that the Council do an Environmental Impact Assessment before the scheme was put to Planning. Those requests were refused.

See the News page for links to more information on an Environmental Impact Assessment.


At a special meeting on Tuesday 30 July, Richmond upon Thames Council's Cabinet decided to terminate negotiations with Dawnay Day Structured Developments on its scheme for the redevelopment of the Twickenham Riverside.

The Cabinet has requested a detailed report for its September 2002 meeting setting out potential options for the site.

The meeting was in response to a resolution made at the May 2002 Cabinet meeting, that the implications of continuing or withdrawing from the Dawnay Day scheme for developing the site should be explored.

The report set out three options which were:

  1. Continue negotiations
  2. Withdraw from negotiations (terminate)
  3. Suspend negotiations
After full deliberation, the Cabinet decided to terminate negotiations with Dawnay Day, for the following reasons:
  • Concerns at the lack of progress after a significant period of negotiations with Dawnay Day and the likelihood that it will not be possible to reach agreement on acceptable contractual terms which fully deliver the Council's requirements within a reasonable time period.

  • A concern that the evidence points to a scheme with doubtful financial viability and that a number of future events could further impact on the viability of the scheme and/or the level of public benefits delivered.

Councillor Tony Arbour, Leader of the Council stated: "Having explored this matter in detail, I firmly believe that the Cabinet's decision is in the best interests of the people of Richmond upon Thames. I look forward to receiving the September report and to selecting an option for redevelopment which will bring the troubled history of this site to an end. My administration will work to ensure that this site will be something that future generations can be proud of."

23 Sept 2002 The discussion paper "Rethink on the Riverside" is published.


The Twickenham Society Group have put together a possible scheme for the riverside, based around a low-density development drawn up by award-winning architect Clive Chapman, with Jim Deasley. It incorporates some enabling development, public open space, and a public asset building.
Click here to view it.

11 December 2002: COUNCIL DECISION

Last night's Council Cabinet meeting decided to pursue a long-term scheme for the pool site that would be low scale, with commercial enabling development and public open space.

For the short term, they opted to demolish the pool building and replace it with an open formal terrace. That would have hard landscaping (paving) with raised planting beds and seating, and landscaping on the banks on each side of the new terrace. Details on this, including costings estimated in the area of £505,000, will be presented at the Cabinet meeting on 25 February 2003.

A further report, by Council officers, will set out the design for this short term scheme. The details of the longer-term enabling development and public asset (including mass, scale, uses, risk, costs, timetable, viability and deliverability) will be worked out and presented to the Cabinet meeting in February.

Council Documents, Cabinet meeting 10 December 2002:
The Agenda and meeting minutes
Report to the meeting (55 page .pdf, 260kb)
Leader's statement, 29 August, 2002 (.pdf, 54kb)
Appendix B-F & H-N (.pdf, 44Mb - very slow download)
Appendix G1 (River Use Working Group Report) (.pdf, 1Mb)
Appendix G2 (The Centre Working Party Interim Report) (.pdf, 1Mb)
Appendix O-Q (.pdf, 31Mb - very slow download)
Addenda (Dawnay Day submission) (.pdf, 5Mb)

No further design proposals are being sought, and the arrangement with St George is regarded as terminated with the ending of the Dawnay Day scheme.

For the public asset part of the new, long-term development, Council leader Tony Arbour issued a Twickenham Challenge - "A competitive process to identify and prioritise between the various public asset uses proposed for the site". The deadline for that is 10 December 2003. More details will follow.

Editor's note: Dawnay Day submitted yet another scheme to the Council last week. This called for 76 flats on 3 to 5 storeys with parking and an underground box for arts use. The covering letter referred to the rough plans as being sympathetic to the riverside setting. In addition, it said that they have no intention to resurrect the scheme by MacCormac Jamieson Prichard - though to date Dawnay Day have not formally withdrawn from the Planning Inquiry. (See above for more information.)

13 December 2002: Update

The Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group's website has an indicative sketches of how the Council's plans for the short-term changes to the riverside might look. They've also done annotated versions of two diagrams presented to the Cabinet on Tues 10 December. The result is not exactly a garden.


The Government Office for London has written to Dawnay Day's agents, the architects MacCormac Jamieson Prichard, stating that, because they have failed to produce the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment, the Public Inquiry will be cancelled.

The large-scale commercial development, with flats, shops, restaurants, the exclusive health club and three screen cinema complex will not now go ahead. This clears the way for the low-scale developments to go ahead, as the projected planning permission for the development no longer applies.

Full text of the letter

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page created 18/09/04, last amended 10/6/12