The Twickenham Riverside Trust will be lodging a strong objection against the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) made on 21 October by the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames Council, which is targeted primarily at the Diamond Jubilee Gardens.

The Trust holds a 125-year lease on the Gardens, created in 2014 with the objective of preserving them long into the future as public open space on the Twickenham Riverside.

Following professional and legal advice, the Trust will now be calling on the Secretary of State to reject the CPO on the Gardens.

Chair of the Trust, Luke Montgomery Smith said:

“We commissioned an independent assessment by the surveyors, Carter Jonas, of the quantity and quality of the public open space in the Council’s development design compared to the existing space on Twickenham Riverside.

“We have been advised that the public open space provided in the CPO is not of equal advantage compared to what exists today. That means it would not benefit the public in terms of open space and the use of that land and would therefore be considered, under the relevant legislation, to be disadvantageous to the public compared to what exists today in the Gardens and on the Embankment. This is a fundamental point given the Trust's objectives.

“The basis of the Council’s case is complex, and we will give more detail in the next ten days, when our objection has been submitted.

“The Trust must be guided throughout by the objects in its articles, which are ‘to preserve, protect and improve, for the benefit of the public, the riverside and its environs at Twickenham’, and also by the purpose for which the Gardens were created and the lease granted to the Trust just seven years ago.”

As part of the CPO process, the Council has sent the order and accompanying Statement of Reasons to the responsible Secretary of State, Michael Gove, and objections have been invited. The deadline for representations and objections to his office is Tuesday 22 November.

Additional Info:

1. The Trust has held the lease on the Diamond Jubilee Gardens for 7 years out of the 125-year term. Under a parallel management agreement, for the first 10 years, the responsibility for maintaining the Gardens lies with the Council.

2. The Trust was required under Charity Commission rules to seek advice from an independent surveyor on the implications of the CPO and the process; the Council is obliged to meet the cost of that out of tax-payers’ funds.

3 The Council submitted a planning application in August 2021 for the redevelopment of the Twickenham Riverside site including three properties on King Street. Consultation on that was launched at the end of August and ran through September. To date, it has received 308 comments objecting and 221 supporting.

4. In support of the intention to begin work on the site by mid-2022, the Council made its CPO on 21 October. Because some of the land targeted is ‘public open space’, the issue falls to be considered by a ‘special parliamentary procedure’. An exemption from that can be obtained by applying to the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities – currently the Rt Hon Michael Gove. The Minister must invite representations and objections, may order a public inquiry in the light of objections received, and then decides whether to confirm or reject the CPO.

5. The Council’s legal case – changed as recently as in September – is ‘hybrid’, combining two approaches. Part of the relevant land would be acquired on the basis that it is equal – both in size and in ‘advantage’ (ie public amenity) – to the existing public open space on the site. Part would be acquired in order ‘to secure its preservation and improve its management’.

6. Objections by interested parties are invited in writing to Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities Planning Casework Unit, 5 St Philip’s Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2PW

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In recent weeks the Twickenham Riverside Trust confirmed its intention to lodge a strong objection against the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) made on 21 October by the London Borough of Richmond Upon