COUNCIL bosses are going head-to-head with rail chiefs over controversial plans for a £40 million revamp of Twickenham station.

Proposals to limit new buildings at the site to five storeys were unveiled by Richmond Council on Monday (July 5), as part of a wider public consultation into the area's future.

That's the same day Network Rail and its partner Kier Property, working together as Solum Regeneration, chose to announce an exhibition about plans to build 170 flats above the station, rising to double that height.

Under Solum's proposals, a new station would be built on a podium above the railway lines and a public plaza lined with shops and restaurants would be created.

A total of 170 flats above the new station, about the same height as the neighbouring Regal House office block, would also be created to help fund the much-needed improvements to the station.

Solum wants to complete the work in time for the 2015 rugby World Cup. Its plans will go on display at a public exhibition at The Hyde Room, York House, Twickenham, next Friday (July 16), from 2.30-8pm. and Saturday, from 10am-4pm.

Nigel Carr, of Solum Regeneration, said: “More than 6,000 people pass through Twickenham station every day, a figure that swells to over 30,000 on international match days. The current station facility is badly positioned and has awkward access to the platforms.

"It provides a very poor arrival point for Twickenham as a town and a major international sporting venue and makes no contribution to the town centre or its identity. The redevelopment will provide the opportunity to create a sense of arrival for Twickenham, to provide modern station facilities with increased capacity and to open up the area next to the neglected River Crane."

Solum plans to submit a planning application for the main development later this year. It has already submitted an application to build a podium above the railway lines, which it hopes to build during planned closures in September and October next year.

Permission has already been granted to transform Regal House into a 110-room 10-storey hotel, after the govenment's planning inspectorate over-ruled the council's decision.

Announcing the six-week consultation on planning guidance, which would limit the height and scale of potential developments in the area, cabinet member for environment and planning Virginia Morris said it was important for the council to set out its 'vision' for Twickenham.

"There are a number of important development sites like Twickenham Station and the Royal Mail sorting office, which could be controversial and might not be developed in a way we wish to see. The aim of the guidance is to provide greater clarity for everyone.

“We are not against new developments or indeed tall buildings, they have their place but this is Richmond upon Thames, not Croydon upon Thames or the City upon Thames. We want to arrive at a policy in consultation with local people and stakeholders in line with the new national and local views on planning that is right for our area and not a one-size-fits-all pan-London solution."

The proposals will be available to view at Twickenham Library from next week and people can have their say by emailing or writing to Philip Wealthy, head of planning policy, Richmond Council, Civic Centre, York Street, Twickenham TW1 3BZ.