JULIE Hill asks: "Is it really wrong to care about Twickenham Riverside and want it to remain in public ownership?"
Clearly, we all care about the old pool site and want it to become an asset rather than a liability.
It has been largely derelict for almost 30 years and is a liability, although in council ownership.
The council scheme assumes that just 26 per cent of the site would be sold to open the bulk of the rest of the site to public use, move the playground and cafe, create a river centre and upgrade the embankment, producing a public benefit of more than £4million.
There just is no money to pay for improvements to the site. We are looking at having to provide up to six new primary schools all of which cost up to £7m. Any money spent on the riverside is not available for other uses.
Just to correct three errors in Ms Hill's letter: The Environment Trust does have a business plan which is appropriate for this point in the development; Countryside has been through a major financial restructuring and its accounts show it has a net asset value of more than £100m and considerable borrowing facilities; and more affordable housing is being provided through the linked site strategy than could have been provided on the site alone.
This administration is committed to producing as much affordable housing as possible for local residents and we are achieving this objective.
SERGE LOURIE Leader of the Council and
Councillor for Kew