We are delighted to report that the Court of Appeal has given TRAG permission to appeal against the judgment of the High Court in favour of the Council’s decision to approve Solum Regeneration’s high rise scheme for the redevelopment of Twickenham Station. Lord Justice Sullivan declared that he believes one of the grounds within our overall appeal argument “has a real prospect of success”.
Recent soundings amongst earlier donors have clearly shown that the Twickenham community continues to be supportive of our campaign and are prepared to put in more funding. It is worth restating how broad this support is: amongst the circa 400 residents who backed TRAG’s recent fund raising drive, 73% live well beyond the vicinity of the station. This wider Twickenham community clearly wants to see a Council which adheres to its declared manifesto and its recent policy statements, much trumpeted in the rhetoric of the Council leadership, that there will be no more top-down politics. It really is about time that the Council, and also the RFU, got the message that the Twickenham community is in no way supportive of the Solum scheme and remains very angry about the decision to grant approval made on 19 December 2011.
TRAG’s objective remains to encourage a low rise station redevelopment that is consistent with the Council’s own planning policy and is fit for purpose. There is probably still time to build such a station before the Rugby World Cup 2015, but there is certainly not enough time to build one that is financially dependent on erecting and marketing a huge residential tower block first.
We shall require additional funding to meet the costs of a full scale appeal and are in the process of engaging with our supporters to ensure we meet the necessary target in time. However, the encouragement of the Court of Appeal’s decision and the fact that any costs of “the other side” are limited to £5,000 augur well for our capacity to raise the necessary funding and overturn this disastrous planning decision.
John Watson TRAG spokesperson
11 March 2013