A loud and heated Area Consultation for St Margarets and Twickenham Riverside Wards was held on the 31st of October at York House. Approximately 60 residents met with local councillors to get an update and discuss local matters. While many issues were discussed, clearly the key issue for the residents and local traders was the unwanted transformation of the high street — specifically the issues around Tesco and Superdrug. Other items discussed in some detail was the matter of commuters parking in St Peter’s Road creating havoc for local residents, the parking issues in general, licensing questions and other planning and planning process concerns.

What follows are from my notes of the evening — if you have additions or corrections, please contact me at: editor@stmgrts.org.uk.

Police Update

The evening started with an overview of policing from Police Sargent Gary Jupp, head of the Twickenham Riverside Safer Neighbourhood Team. PS Jupp also manages the single PC for St Margarets, who happens to be transferring to Wimbledon. Key points mentioned by PS Jupp were:

  • within 12-14 months St Margarets will be made a ‘Safer Neighbourhood’ and should get our own Police Sargent, 2 Police Constables and 2-3 PCSO’s; however, the timing of this is based on next year’s budget and overall priorities of the MET
  • the priorities for the police are: burglaries, street crime, motor vehicle crime followed by anti-social behaviour
  • the change in licensing laws has required the police to rearrange their schedules slightly, which will add pressure on their resources to focus on other community issues, but they don’t know how much until the laws takes affect on 24th November
  • the contact details for the community team, for non-urgent matters only remain: phone 020 8721 2749 and email: twickenhamriverside.smt@met.police.uk

Crime Statistics

12 Months to Sept 2004 12 Months to Sept 2005
|_(Per 1000 Population)
St Margarets Richmond St Margarets Richmond % Change
Burglary 15 10.9 14 12.9 -7%
Criminal Damage 17.2 17.2 12.6 18.2 -27%
Drugs Offences 2.6 1.6 2.6 1.6 0%
Fraud or Forgery 0.7 3.7 0.7 2.6 0%
Other Notifiable Offences 0.6 0.7 0.4 0.5 -33%
Robbery 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.9 0%
Sexual Offences 0.1 0.6 0.5 0.7 400%
Theft and Handling 28.7 32.5 33.6 28.6 17%
Violence Against the Person 10.9 13.1 12 13.4 10%

More details can be found at: www.met.police.uk/crimefigures

Local Development Framework

Following Sargent Jupp was a discussion of the new Local Development Framework which will replace the current Unitary Development Plan_. It will determine the borough’s planning policies from 2008 onwards. Currently the planning team are looking for feedback from local residents to help shape all aspects of this new framework. They encouraged all residents to go to www.richmond.gov.uk/local_development_frameworkframework to learn more and, importantly, fill out a questionnaire about key issues regarding planning.

At this point the meeting really broke down for about an hour with discussion of many of the current planning issues. The most significant were:

  • Tesco’s New Loading Bay
    In general residents and traders were quite upset with the council for allowing the extension of the Tesco loading bay and felt that:
    • the decision should have had a public consultation
    • that the new loading bay will only penalise residents from parking
    • that the loading bay is far more dangerous than before for pedestrians
    • that far more strict policing of the loading bay was required (PS Jupp said it was a fairly low priority for them, but would look into doing something)
    • Tesco has proven that it isn’t a ‘good neighbour’ already and that allowing the loading bay only legitimises their bad behaviour
    • that Tesco simply ‘does what it wants and asks for permission later’ — this was in reference to both the loading bay and the cash machine, which they are now seeking permission for
  • Superdrug’s Signage
    Most residents wanted to know if the current signage of Superdrug was legal and if it could be removed, that it was not in keeping with the area
  • High Street in General
    There was a strong feeling that Tesco, Superdrug and the landlord of the building (Mr Phelps) are generally “destroying St Margarets” and that neither was appropriate for the village and the council and the new Local Development Framework should be able to enforce residents concerns like this directly
  • St Margaret’s Market
    Apparently there is a group seeking planning permission for a market in a garage off Crown Road (16A Crown Road) and that should be assessed carefully.

St Peter’s Road

This was followed by a disccussion of the parking issues in St Peter’s Road. Apparently many commuters are using St Peter’s Road as a free parking lot for walking into Richmond and the station there. The residents are asking for a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) that would allow only residents to park, but hopefully not in the current CPZ format, something far simpler to use, like a 10-11 no parking period. The councillors mentioned that CPZ are very costly and that street by street zones really “only push the problem around, that you really need to change the whole area at once”. The council plans on completely changing all parking in St Margarets in the 2006-2007 budget year. Also, the council will look at the St Peter’s Road issue next year ahead of the larger plans.

Licensing

Then there was a brief discussion of Licensing, what the police were planning on doing and how the Rising Sun Pub recieved such long hours. Generally the recommendation was that residents need to immediately complain to the pub’s landlords if they experience noise or see rude behaviour. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then there is a Council and Police Hotline to contact. Only with a history of complaints can the police or council really do anything.

Brunel Site Wall on Kilmorey Road

There was a brief discussion on a changing wall on Kilmorey Road. It appears planning permission was given in 2002, just no one was aware of it. Residents thought it was really unnecessary and would lead to more local traffic.

Wrap Up

The meeting was running well past 10pm, so a few general questions were allowed. The most interesting was that the councillors were questioned if they supported the decision for the expanded Tesco loading bay. Annie Hambidge said, “no, absolutely not.” Simon Lamb was pressed to give an answer and eventually said that he supported the extension and made the note that “at least Tesco is paying for it.”