Letter: Thames threatened

Sir: Five years ago, a long-overdue initiative was launched amid widespread acclaim - the Thames Landscape Strategy, to conserve, protect and enhance the river Thames. A number of local authorities and organisations are "responsible" for the Thames, but the national interest too often slips through the gaps between them, and a series of planning decisions have been taken at a local level which have damaged the character and environment of this great natural and cultural asset.

The latest case is the former swimming pool site on Twickenham riverside which is rare in retaining its 18th-century buildings and village atmosphere. The proposals now before the Richmond upon Thames council comprise a development, seven stories high, with 37 apartments, an auditorium, cinemas and restaurants. This would be another out-of-scale development like the ice-rink site further down the river opposite Richmond Hill. There would be next to no open space left on this sensitive site.

We had hoped that such commercial over-development on the Thames was a thing of the past, and that such schemes would be judged by their effect on the Thames environment. The present scheme has aroused vehement local opposition and should be dropped.

Doing nothing is not an alternative. The borough needs the help and encouragement of all those interested in the future of the Thames, to produce a modest scheme which enhances the quality of this precious stretch of the river, and conserves the intimate scale and working character of the Twickenham and Eel Pie waterfronts.

Lord ATTENBOROUGH

Sir DAVID ATTENBOROUGH

Patron, the Thames Landscape Strategy

MARTIN BRUNT

DAVID CHURCH

Richmond Society

BAMBER GASCOIGNE

LADY PANUFNIK

BRIAN PARKER

Twickenham Society

PETE TOWNSHEND

Sir PETER WAKEFIELD

Twickenham, Middlesex

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