Network Rail and South West Trains have today expressed disappointment at hearing the proposed redevelopment of Twickenham station will be delayed. This is a result of the request for a judicial review to challenge Richmond Council’s decision to approve plans for the station’s development back in December 2011.
Tim Shoveller, Managing Director of the South West Trains/Network Rail joint alliance explains: “The station’s current physical condition is not acceptable for our passengers. It does not provide lifts to the platforms which would be of great benefit to passengers with children in buggies or luggage and those that are mobility impaired. We also do not believe it is suitable for the crowds of more than 50,000 people which we regularly see on event days at the RFU’S stadium.
“The news that a judicial review now has to take place will come as a blow for our passengers and the local community in Twickenham, and means that we are unable to press ahead with our improvement plans.”
Over the past four years Network Rail and South West Trains have undertaken a significant programme of works to improve the facilities and appearance of many stations in the area. Typically these are complex schemes that have benefitted from a broad mix of funding sources and rail industry working closely with a range of stakeholders to gain, in good time, the consent and approval of a wide range of parties.
Mr Shoveller continued: “We have worked hard to develop and improve many of our stations in the area and have great experience of dealing with complex schemes.
“We have been fortunate to generate additional funding for the Twickenham station improvement scheme from the residential development, in partnership with Solum. This gives us a once in a life time opportunity to provide a new fully accessible station that is fit for purpose throughout the year and on event days with a much improved Public Realm.
“All of this is now at risk because of the judicial review process which will jeopardise the likelihood of major investment being made at Twickenham station in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and even beyond that.
“Inevitably we have unfortunately had to agree with Solum that they should stop work for six months whilst the judicial review process is carried out. I only hope that they do not decide to pull out of this development altogether in favour of other opportunities, such as Guildford station and Surbiton station.
“We aim for continuous improvements to the services we offer to our passengers and have a proven track record for delivering successful station improvement schemes. The Solum venture offers a method of reconstruction that is affordable with funding from the rail industry combined with the Solum investment to build a station that Twickenham could be proud of.”