Classical architect Francis Terry has revealed further revised plans for a contentious redevelopment at Twickenham riverside
The proposals effectively mark Francis Terry and Associates’ third set of designs for the major residential-led mixed-use project in south-west London since he won the commission in 2015. They include two buildings, ranging in height from four to three-storeys, which will be setback from the embankment, as well as a public square.
Since the previous designs were revealed in December 2016, AJ100 practice Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher (CJCT) has also been brought in to work on the scheme which is backed by Richmond Council.
Terry’s original competition-winning proposals, which include a Regency-inspired amphitheatre, came under fire from local residents, resulting in him putting three new options forward for the scheme late last year.
According to the council, a consultation on these three options indicated that the first proposal was the most supported by local residents. That concept was then developed by Terry following a further consultation over the summer.
The revised plans include a single building running down the west side of King Street, with a second building facing the embankment and a terrace where people can sit.
Terry told the AJ that the reworked proposals presented an ‘excellent example’ of a council ‘genuinely listening to residents to develop a scheme’.
He said that ‘often developers impose a design without much consultation’, comparing this to the planned scheme at Mount Pleasant – designed by Allies and Morrison, WilkinsonEyre, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and AHMM – which has been highly criticised by local residents.
Terry added: ‘The scheme has been developed in response to residents’ feedback. Clear messages emerged from the last consultation in June and July [this year], and subsequent conversations with local community groups: reduce the scale of the Embankment building and consider its impact on Diamond Jubilee Gardens (DJG), deliver more public open space by the River, reconsider routes through to Diamond Jubilee Gardens and a variety of comments were received regarding the proposed style of architecture.’
Speaking about the arrival of CJCT, Richmond Council said it had commissioned the firm to ‘support the production of the detailed planning application submission’.
A council spokesperson said: ‘Due to the passage of time since the original competition and subsequent consultations, the project has developed in such a way that it became apparent to the council that additional assistance was required.
Responding to whether the appointment of CJCT conflicted with the original competition rules for the scheme, the spokesperson said: ‘The legitimacy of the original competition was not compromised by this decision as the successful bidder under that competition is substantively involved in the project and is carrying out the services they were contracted to do.
’Therefore it was not incumbent on the council to notify the original unsuccessful competition entrants of the appointment of CJCT as for all intents and purposes this was a separate procurement flowing from how the project has developed since 2015.’
However, at least one local resident, Deon Lombard, who is principal at Deon Lombard Architects, has already slammed the all-new designs, saying that they constituted a ‘dramatic change to the style of architecture with a distinct aura of 1980s pastiche’.
He added: ‘At least Francis Terry’s first offering had integrity; this has none. It has been greeted with howls of derision as is evident from a torrent of comments on social media.’
Lombard said that although the style of architecture was a ‘major factor in this dispute’, the central issue was ‘the fact that the residents of Twickenham were promised a town square’. The square proposed in the latest plans, on the corner of Water Lane and the embankment, is nearly the size of two tennis courts.
Local campaigning group the Twickenham Riverside Park Team has also launched a petition, which has so far amassed 1,440 signatures, urging the council to reconsider the Riverside plans. It has put forward its own set of proposals for the land, including a town square.
Residents are being invited to have their say on the latest proposals until 30 October, with a planning submission expected in November.
View the three proposals in full here
Related project in the AJBL