RIVERSIDE DEVELOPMENT SCHEME
Over the past 40 years, there have been several proposals for the redevelopment of the Twickenham Riverside, none of which have yet come to fruition. The Trust currently holds a lease of 125 years on the Diamond Jubilee Gardens, a much loved area of public open space, located in a prime position on the Embankment and therefore are a key stakeholder for Richmond Council in their ongoing work to bring forward proposals in consultation with the local community.
The Trust is working hard to improve the provision of public open space within the Council’s proposed scheme. Our statutory obligation, as defined by the Charity Commission, is to ensure that any exchange or reprovision of land is ‘equally advantageous’ to the people of Twickenham. We are optimistic that a fair agreement with Richmond Council will be reached and we will do our best to keep you updated through the news section of our website.
Timeline Summary of the RIBA Competition Twickenham Riverside Development
October 2018: The Trust agrees with the Council’s proposal that the Diamond Jubilee Gardens, subject to both the Charity Commission Guidance (see section below), and the Trust's 'Principles for Development', are included in a proposed RIBA Competition for the development of Twickenham Riverside
March 2019: Launch of RIBA Competition for Twickenham Riverside
June 2019: RIBA Competition shortlisted candidates prepare their proposals
September 2019: Public consultation on the proposed schemes from the five shortlisted candidates
November 2019 onwards: The Trust enters into legal discussions with the Council regarding the terms of a new lease, subject to the reprovision of the Gardens in accordance with Charity Commission Guidance and the Trust's 'Principles for Development'.
February 2020: The Council's Finance Committee approves the appointment of Hopkins Architects
July-October 2020: Following input from the Environment Agency, the competition-winning design undergoes changes
October 2020: Eight new Trustees are appointed to the Trust, with five ‘founding’ trustees standing down, having served the Charity Commission recommended maximum term of office of nine years
December 2020: The Trust’s newly formed Design Team (consisting of four trustees, two of whom are qualified architects) embarks on a series of meetings with Hopkins Architects
December 2020: The Council suspends plans for a potential Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on the Diamond Jubilee Gardens to allow negotiations to continue with the Trust. These continue.
January 2021: The Council begins public consultation on the plans. Info here.
Charity Commission Guidance regarding “charity land”
The Twickenham Riverside Trust is a charity and is therefore subject to Charity Commission guidance and regulations.
The Charity Commission has produced a 32-page Guidance document: “What trustees need to know about disposing of charity land.” The full Guidance can be read here.
The Guidance outlines what trustees ‘should’ do and what trustees ‘must’ do. When it is indicated that trustees ‘must’ do something, this means that there is a specific legal or regulatory requirement that must be complied with.
One of these regulatory requirements relates to when the “original donor” of the land (in this case, the Council) is involved in any transaction. In these circumstances, a charity must obtain an Order, or permission, from the Charity Commission before it can complete any transaction.
To obtain an Order, the Trust will need to present a case to the Charity Commission that the disposal of its land is in the best interests of the Trust, that it will further the purposes of the Trust and that it will be beneficial to the Trust. The proposed terms of any transaction must be the best that can be reasonably obtained and any replacement land must be of “equivalent amenity value.”
The Trust’s legal representatives at BDB Pitmans are specialists in both charity and property law, and have been advising the Trust in its negotiations with the Council since November 2019.
Frequently asked questions
What is the Trust's role in the proposed Twickenham Riverside development?
The Trust is liaising closely with the Council and its architects.
How will the Trust decide if a new Diamond Jubilee Gardens have been appropriately reprovided?
The Trust has a statutory obligation to refer to Charity Commission guidance regarding disposing of charity land.
What criteria are the Trust using to guide its decision to seek an Order for disposal of charity land from the Charity Commission?
Charity law dictates that the Trust must always consider what is in the best interests of the charity, with reference to its Objects. This is one of the trustees’ main responsibilities and the Charity Commission emphasises that this must be borne in mind throughout the decision-making process.
What is the timeframe of the proposed development?
The Council’s Twickenham Riverside Development website pages provide the most up-to-date information.
How is the development progressing?
The Council and Trust are working together to ensure that the scheme opens up the Riverside and the re-provisioned land for the Diamond Jubilee Gardens meets the Charity Commission Guidance.
The Council has recently begun new public consultations which you can read more about here.
How much will the proposed development cost?
This is a matter for the Council.
Where can I find out more?
Project news is also available via the Council’s website, where there are several pages dedicated to the Riverside Development. There you will find information about, amongst other things Frequently asked questions.
Have a question?
If there is something specific you would like to ask, or have a comment about anything you have read on this website or about the development of Twickenham Riverside, we would be very happy to hear from you at: email@example.com