High Street Update

Sammy’s Bar & Restaurant closed after 4 years and several re-launches. The lease for this building is now up for sale – for any interested parties contact vinceroyaloak@aol.com.

Work is underway at other locations for refurbishment – Red Peppers is closed for this reason and should be open in mid-May (3 weeks from 23rd April), The Loft is also undergoing a major renovation but will re-open soon. Work has also begun transforming the former tattoo shop on Stanley Road into new Italian “Cafe Toscana”. Caffee Teddington (near Sorrento) should open next week.

The Fish Bar on Kingston Road has successfully applied for permission to open for longer hours – now 7am-10pm Monday to Saturday and 8am-9pm Sunday and bank holidays. Nearby the application for change to use from office space to cafe on Kingston Road refused – possibly because this would have led to too high a concentration of cafe’s in this parade of shops.

The Cavan Bakery has launched a new range of sandwiches with eye-catching names including Poultry in Motion, Colonel Mustard and The Full Money. The Nearest Cafe are now open until 5pm every Wednesday and now offer a new text coffee-ordering service. *See comment under the article for more Nearest Cafe news.

After last year’s sold out talk by Teddington Cheese, the library will be hosting a ‘From Bean to Cup‘ talk by everyone’s favourite coffee roaster Astrora Coffee – including the origins of coffee, harvesting, processing, roasting, tasting and how to brew the best coffee at home. Tickets including refreshments are £2 for the talk on Wednesday 16 May 6-7pm.

Teddington Travelodge is now open and nearby businesses have already started to notice the effects of this – spotting customers visiting their shops with suitcases trailing behind them.

Mela Mela celebrated their four-year anniversary recently with a celebratory pink bubbly day, attendees were encouraged to wear their favourite vintage outfit and the wearer of the winning outfit was crowned Miss Mela received a sash and shop vouchers.

Nutritious Delicious chocolate truffles (74% dark chocolate) are a creation of Teddington resident Carey and are manufactured by Montezuma’s. The Healthy Chocolate range in additional to being very delicious are packed with vitamins, zinc, magnesium and high in anti-oxidant values, and currently available at Cook which itself has recently launched its home delivery service.

Recent studies have shown that UK retailers are abandoning the high street in increasing numbers in favour of moving to out-of-town locations – this effect adds empty units to towns that are already suffering from closing businesses so it’s never been a better time to support your local high street by using it first before you consider shopping elsewhere!

There has been lots of talk about a potential farmers market in Teddington again – if anyone is interested in taking part in discussions and potentially going forward with this idea then email the local go-to lady for cakes, Trudi Harrison (CakesByTrudi) at info@cakesbytrudi.co.uk.

High Street Update

A planning application has been received to revitalise the empty unit that was previously Bottoms Up on The Causeway. If approved “The Tumble Cafe” will provide a relaxing cafe and soft-play facilities for parents and children (up to the age of 6).

Sadly though, Hair Associates opposite on The Causeway will be closing after many years serving their clients in Teddington due to issues with their lease agreement. The salon will close this Wednesday, 29th February and most team members will be transferring to the Twickenham branch.

This comes as many local businesses are bracing themselves for the 5.6% increase in business rates this April.

As It Is stock is currently all on offer to clear all stock – owners will soon be changing to sell exclusively shoes under the new name “Heels for Leather“.

Canta Napoli has lost its appeal to overturn their refused planning permission for the altered shop-front and have now been told by Richmond Council to put shop front back how it was previously.

After a long absence following the fire that destroyed the shop and customer items in Pearl dry cleaners, this unit is currently being refurbishment to re-open again soon as the same dry cleaning business.

Hamptons International is now open for business (where Field Goulding was situated previously) and are offering a free bespoke marketing package for new instructions before the 31st March.

“Caffe Teddington” will be opening in 4 weeks in the empty site (previously Litho 130 printers) and not replacing Elli’s Fine Foods as previously reported.

Marks & Spencer has applied for extended licensing hours which will probably equate to longer general opening hours – until 11pm most days and 10:30pm on a Sunday.

Work still continues on the new Travelodge – latest estimates are that it will be opening in mid-April with the restaurant/apartments being ready for June. The Council decision to deny the change of use for this block from office space to apartments was overturned and billboards advertising the nine luxury apartments area ready displayed on site. There are currently three restaurants interested in taking on the restaurant space.

Johnsons Shoes are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year! This small family owned chain of nine stores started in Teddington in 1952 and has been going strong ever since.

First council meeting online for viewing

PlanningLast week Richmond Council kicked off a pilot scheme to webcast videos of council meetings live and archive these online.

A short prayer was said before the first broadcast meeting re-iterating the council’s aims, aspirations and duty to serve the borough’s residents. Despite some audio issues it’s an interesting insight into how council meetings work and particularly if you are involved in a specific issue up for discussion.

Text titles have been added to the video to name each councillor speaking and also which agenda item is being discussed or debated.

One issue discussed was a petition on behalf of concerned residents of Park Lane, Teddington who wish for the road to have a 20mph limit introduced. Since the central parking zone was introduced the road is heavily used for parking and those crossing the road (particular children visiting Park Lane Stables) find the area dangerous considering the speed that cars drive through it – several near-misses have been reported.

Planning meetings will soon also be available where applications are discussed and decisions made. Decisions such as the recent refusal of the amended Park House/Travelodge plans where flats had taken the place of office space above the new restaurant. The reason for this refusal has not yet been stated in the online documentation.

Vince Cable is leading a backlash against plans to redraw London’s parliamentary boundaries in order to standardise constituency numbers.

His constituency of Twickenham in particular is being broken up to create a new Richmond and Twickenham voting area crossing the Thames – setting up a potential showdown with Zac Goldsmith. He could instead however run for the newly created Teddington and Hanworth constituency which would include 67% of his existing voters.

Planning update

PlanningWork has now begun on the plot of land on Park Road (next to St John’s Ambulance building).

Richmond Housing Partnership will be developing this area for affordable housing with six three bedroom townhouses on this site.

Originally submitted in 2007, planning permission was originally refused after appeals from local residents and the Teddington Society – the site remained empty until now.

The Park House Travelodge plan was originally to include offices above a ground floor restaurant in the demolished & rebuilt side-building. Developers have now applied for altered plans that if agreed will see residential use instead of offices – 9 flats in a structure with terracotta cladding.
[Update] this amendment has been refused permission due to “loss of employment land” and “increased burden on transport, health and education infrastructure and services in the locality“.

Also this week the owner of Somerset House this week sold the property for £3.9m in advance of plans to turn the site into 62 new houses.

High Street Update

The first vets to be situated on the high street for many years, Vet4Life didn’t have a phone line on their opening day but now have one installed! You can get in touch by calling 0208 977 3955 or if you prefer email mail@vet4life.co.uk.

Toy shop Kidz Rule has left the high street and new barbers to the area – Simply Cut opened to the public on Saturday the 5th Feb. Prices include men’s dry cut for £9, ladies £15, shampoo for £2.50, and children under 13 years from £7.

Marks Water Garden is now closed after negotiations with their landlord and will no longer operate from the high street – instead concentrate on client visits and remote services. In its place will be a new branch of the award-winning high-quality frozen good shop CookFood – now recruiting and opening is currently planned for the end of February. In the first few days after this there will be lots of tasters and samples so pop by!

Owners of the building currently occupied by new age shop “As It Is” has applied for planning permission to change its use from A1 to A2 which for those not familiar with planning matters translates into changing a shop into a financial or professional service use – in this case a Chase Buchanan estate agents (as the space is thought to be too small for most potential shops).

This application has raised a few eyebrows by residents who don’t want to see shop units disappear from the high street. Not quite however as how many were raised after unauthorised work was carried out on the front of new restaurant Canta Napoli – planning permission for this transformation has since been applied for but this week was refused on the grounds that it adversely affected the character of this Conservation Area and the setting of this Building of Townscape Merit.

There is good news for British Bookshops – several of the stores have been purchased by WHSmiths, including the Teddington branch. Currently this saves 200 existing jobs nationally which will be transferred to the new owner and the stores look like they will be rebranded to WHSmiths – starting with the Teddington and Southwick branches at the end of February.

Park House’s previous tenants ended their contract at the end of January so there is a now a green light to start work for the conversion into the 113 bedroom hotel and restaurant. Work is planned to be complete by Spring of 2012.

Park House hotel plans approved

PlanningPlans to turn Park House into a Travelodge hotel have been approved by Richmond Council.

This development is a big investment from the hotel chain – a 25 year lease will be signed which is much longer than most office-based companies commit to and a change in use that is strongly endorsed by local businesses who will benefit from increased trade.

In answering specific potential issues mentioned by neighbouring and concerned parties, the developers have said that transport/parking issues have been answered and many specific objection points actually related generally to services found in ‘full service’ hotels rather than those found in Travelodge budget hotels.

Also the redevelopment of the attached studio into a restaurant will remove the temptation for vandalism and attraction for skateboarders that regularly litter the area.

It is understood that the ageing building wouldn’t have had this investment and modernisation if it continued as office space and almost certainly would have joined the growing list of offices in the area needing tenants after the current ones move out in December. Much of the building hasn’t changed much since it was built in the 1960’s (previously a Barclays training centre).

Similar hotel plans are appearing in and around London in the run up to the 2012 Olympics. Travelodge UK property director Tony O’Brien: “The Teddington hotel is a perfect example of our growth strategy in the capital. Despite London being one of the most popular business and leisure destinations in the world, the suburbs have a severe lack of rooms.

“Locations such as Teddington are perfect for us and I have no doubt this will quickly become of our strongest performers in London.”

Travelodge plans for the heart of Teddington

PlanningPlans to turn Park House into a 113 room hotel once current office tenants move out at the end of this year have been submitted to Richmond Council.

The recession has hit commercial landlords specialising in office space hard and Teddington has not escaped this general trend – different uses for empty offices are increasingly being explored. Budget hotel chain Travelodge are seeking to secure a long-term 25 year commitment which is much greater than the normal short-term office space leases.

As for the need for a large hotel in Teddington, the planning application states that demand regularly outstrips supply in the area – aside from some bed & breakfasts, more upmarket Park Hotel and the Lensbury are the only notable hotels in Teddington itself. General tourism, being with short distance from Heathrow and subsequent easy access to London, Hampton Court etc would mean that rooms would be regularly filled, as well as other local draws such as Teddington Studios (audiences regularly travel from far-afield) and there is also a steady stream of visitors to the NPL who already has corporate rates in-place with other nearby Travelodges.

The existing building conversion will happen almost entirely internally only so will hopefully have little impact on the look of this prominent building – a separate application will be submitted for the advertisement signage. It will be converted into a 113 bedroom hotel and the smaller ‘studio’ building next door will be demolished and rebuilt as an adjoining four-storey annex which will contain an on-site bar/cafe – usable by hotel guests only.

The building sits within the CPZ and although the number of self-contained car-parking is well within the recommended ratio vs room numbers, there is a risk that guests will simply park on surrounding roads outside of the CPZ-restricted hours and add extra pressure on already-crowded roads.

Currently 140 office workers occupy the building (using three of the five available floors) – as a hotel, about 100 employees will work here and an estimated 150 guests per night will stay, benefiting the local economy alongside local suppliers.

Travelodge’s own survey shows that private bar/cafe’s are only used by a minority of guests – almost three-quarters prefer to eat at local cafes, pubs and restaurants instead. Guests on average add £35 every day to the local economy and the total economic benefit to the neighbourhood could be between £0.6 and £1.2 million each year.

It should be noted that this planning application is independent of plans for a similar project in the centre of Twickenham also involving Travelodge, who have expressed their intentions to secure hotels at both of these locations.

Given that the site is within a mixed-use area that includes residential properties a public consultation to these proposals is to be urged. The full detailed plans can be found here.

[Update] After meeting with the building owners and Travelodge representatives, “Teddington Society will not oppose Travelodge for the town”. Most of the objections raised against the development seem to be concentrating on parking/traffic issues. If agreed, work will start on this development in March 2011 and is expected to take 12-15 months.

[Update 02/12/2011] The current estimate from Travelodge head office are that this hotel will open in May 2012.