SQUABBLES over planning issues dominate civic centre meetings - but have you ever wondered what happened to plans that, for one reason or another, never saw the light of day?
Thanks to a £46,200 Heritage Lottery Fund grant, details of some of the borough's most ambitious plans that remain unbuilt are set to go on show.
Some of the most interesting include an oriental-style cafe, complete with onion domes, submitted in the 1890s, which would have been a prominent landmark in Hill Street.
And Twickenham might have had its own theatre in the early 1900s if plans had come to fruition.
Thanks to the grant, Richmond Local Studies Collection will be able to catalogue 22,400 sets of plans from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The records, from the former boroughs of Barnes, Richmond and Twickenham, are mostly hand-drawn and colourwashed, and provide a vivid insight into how the areas have developed in terms of their physical and social growth.
The documents offer a fascinating glimpse of an alternative Richmond that can be imagined for the first time.
The thousands of plans were discovered four years ago by Richmond Local Studies Collection during an office move.
Because of the sheer number of documents, they have been held in remote storage, locked away from public view.
In a joint venture between Richmond Museum and Orleans House Gallery, a series of public exhibitions will be held, as well as learning sessions for local schools and colleges.
Some of the collection will be digitised so it can be viewed online.
A CD will also be produced for use in school projects.
First to be looked at will be plans relating to buildings of historical or architectural interest, schools and domestic buildings.
The task of sifting through the mass of plans and deciding which should be digitised first and which are most in need of conservation will go to a team of volunteers.
Ian Dodds, head of culture at Richmond Council, said he was thrilled to be able to launch the project.
The Heritage Lottery Fund's London head, Sue Bowers, said: "This is an unusually comprehensive collection of original plans, which charts the growth of this part of south west London, supplying a rich vein of research material for historians in the fields of architecture and design, economics, social history, planning and urbanisation."