Thames Eyot Residents' Association
Thames Eyot
Cross Deep
Twickenham, TW1 4QL

1 March, 2006

Twickenham Challenge Appraisal
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Room 1.11
Civic Centre
Twickenham, TW1 3BZ

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the appraisal of the Twickenham Challenge.

The Thames Eyot Residents' Association represents one of the nearest neighbours to the poolsite, the development of 90 flats just upstream of the site. We strongly believe in the need to preserve, enhance and encourage the enjoyment of Twickenham riverside. We support the Environment Trust's plans for a River Centre on the poolsite for the following reasons:

Planning and the Regeneration of Twickenham

  1. The plans meet most of the requirements of the UDP by encouraging the use of the river and its banks, and promoting knowledge of the river and its history
  2. The Centre is a fitting finale to the Thames Path walk from Richmond
  3. It will draw visitors to the town centre and help rejuvenate central Twickenham
  4. The Centre can easily support local activities such as Twickenham Week, dragon boat racing, and increasing use of the river in the run-up to the Olympics
  5. The display of the barge 'Jubliant' and boat rental will draw visitors to Twickenham
  6. The Centre will enhance Twickenham's prestige, as the River and Rowing Museum has done in Henley, and raise Twickenham's profile as a tourist destination

Enhancement of the riverside

  1. All of the proposed Centre is devoted to this purpose, and river-related activities
  2. The Centre will be a focus that appeals to all ages and all groups in the community: children, adults, the disabled, the disadvantaged, and minorities
  3. The Centre supports the aims of the Thames Landscape Strategy and of Arcadia in the City

Benefits to Twickenham

  1. The Centre supports important local charities: the high profile RNLI, and HANDS, which delivers invaluable local services
  2. It supports the educational responsibilities of the Borough by providing a location for curriculum-related projects by the Thames Explorer Trust, and the conservation work of the Environment Trust itself
  3. The display and museum part of the centre will be the perfect location for exhibits on the river's history, geography, geology, flora and fauna, and the social history of the people who lived and worked on it, and its heroes and villains
  4. It will attract local people to the riverside and to the town centre, and become a valuable community asset
  5. Surveys of the community carried out by the Council, and the ground work already laid by the River Use Working Party and the River Centre Working party - both set up under the auspices of the Council - indicate strong support for a River Centre of this nature and in this location

Credibility of the Environment Trust's proposal

  1. Financial projections appear to be sound
  2. The project has a broad range of income streams so it is not vulnerable in any one area
  3. The Trust is experienced with successfully managing projects that have encompassed raising substantial amounts of finance, attracting volunteers, managing building work and reconstruction, attracting users, and publicising their work, as an ongoing commitment to community involvement
Alternative schemes:

Busen Martial Arts and Fitness Centre
  1. This is a worthy cause. However, it does not contribute to the riverside or the conservation area, or any of the river-related stipulations of the UDP
  2. It could be situated anywhere. The building is inward-facing, of necessity
  3. It addresses only the health and fitness needs of the community
  4. The small café and part-time crèche proposed are not adequate for community purposes
  5. From the submission, the group appears to have no experience with similar projects to the Twickenham Challenge, or large scale fundraising, publicity, and project management

Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

  1. This could be on any location: it does not need to be on the riverside
  2. The group has no demonstrable record on building projects of any size, particularly with fundraising
  3. Financial assumptions are based on rental of office and conference space, both of which are volatile and subject to market forces.
  4. These are not fitting uses for a community asset building
  5. Dormitory accommodation is a poor use of this valuable riverside site
  6. Projected uses of space show serious shortfalls in the number of staff required for health and safety and adequate supervision of the users, mainly young people
  7. The core function relates to a very limited segment of the community
  8. The scheme does not contribute to the riverside or the conservation area, or any of the river-related stipulations of the UDP.

The Twickenham Challenge is a rare chance to make a lasting contribution to the riverside and the river that gives the Borough its distinctive identity. The Challenge building will be the only element of the poolsite development that can be dedicated to the Thames and its past, present and future.

This is an opportunity not to be missed: if it is not taken, a valuable landmark site on the Thames will be lost forever.

We therefore support the Environment Trust's plans for a River Centre, and we look forward to a river-related development that will benefit all of Twickenham.

Yours sincerely,
Thames Eyot Residents' Association


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