Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

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Outcry as Jolly Boatman goes from landscape - to landfill!


28 May 2014
Outcry as Jolly Boatman goes from landscape - to landfill!

Jolly Boatman site landscaped and fly-tipped

According to Gladedale’s approved construction programme, March 2014 should have marked the start of Phase 1 of its Hampton Court Station/‘Boatman’ site development, yet there is still no sign that the Planning Application has been progressed. This would bear out HCRC’s previous bulletin - that in an effort to recoup some of Lloyds’ £500m outstanding loans to Gladedale, “Lloyds Bank is supportive of the decision to launch a sale of the Companyhttp://news.sky.com/story/1170181/bidders-eye-lloyds-owned-housebuilder-avant

The consequences of the proposed sell-off of Gladedale (renamed Avant Homes) must deepen the controversy over the future of the ‘Boatman’ site, which can now sadly be expected to remain in stasis until 2015, at the earliest.

All the while, behind its hoardings, the troubled ‘Boatman’ has been the target of illegal dumping on an industrial scale.

Fly-tippers have accessed the site by machining off the gate locks, replacing them with their own keys and combination. From early May, vehicles full of waste have driven onto the site and dumped rubbish unchallenged. Fortunately, HCRC has caught one visit on camera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV3zceJS_tM

Surrey Police have been alerted, and our film-clip has been analysed alongside local street CCTV - a Crime Number has been issued: P 14124372. Elmbridge Council, Gladedale and Surrey Police have now agreed measures to deter further entry and trespass into the site. In addition, Gladedale has made arrangements to have the site cleared starting after the Bank Holiday, so authorised activity on the ‘Boatman’ is expected from Tuesday 27th May. We can expect then that the site will be properly secured and that the health and safety of the thousands of daily visitors passing the site this summer will be guaranteed.

If you have any further information about the Fly-tipping that may be useful, please contact Surrey Police or HCRC, quoting the reference above - or - if you see activity on the ‘Boatman’ that you think might be suspect, please Tweet pictures to us at

Gladedale sell-off? No longer a City rumour!


23 November 2013
Gladedale sell-off? No longer a City rumour!

Annoyingly, the meeting of the 'Elmbridge Local Committee' in the Council Chamber last Monday, was a non-event.

We made a big effort to show our support for a petition asking EBC for the immediate provision of a safe-crossing at Cigarette Island Lane. Public safety cannot be guaranteed even now, but the Lane will become a death-trap when Gladedale Homes begins construction of its Hampton Court Station development in March 2014.

See why:

The meeting offered no opportunity for discussion, as Members had failed to register (in advance) their interest to speak and debate. Thus, the Chair moved on, reminding us that consultation with SCC Highways would follow and the Committee’s decision announced on 24th February, 2014, just two weeks before construction begins.

That is, if work even starts! There is news of a game-changer for the hated ‘Jolly Boatman’ development in 2014!

It seems that Gladedale’s sell-off is no longer just a City rumour. This was announced by SKYNEWS, and followed up by the Industry's Press on Monday. Please click on the link.

http://news.sky.com/story/1170181/bidders-eye-lloyds-owned-housebuilder-avant

Avant Homes (Gladedale’s new branding), has instructed Rothschild to prepare the Company for auction in 2014. By launching the sale, publicly-funded Lloyds Bank aims to recover £100M+ of its loans to the House-builder, after an earlier debt-for-equity swap of approx £500M.

From the outset we have questioned the financial viability of Gladedale's development. With a double-storey underground car park dug into a floodplain; the loss of the project's Royal Star and Garter Charity’s cross-funding, and no end-user for the riverside Hotel - its future must be commercially doubtful. It is extremely unlikely that the site’s next purchaser/developer will consider implementing the present scheme with its litany of complications and open public opposition.

Elmbridge Council’s unshakable approval of Gladedale's proposals is mystifying. Should a new scheme emerge, HCRC hopes that EBC will collaborative next time, consulting fully with all the interested parties. Hampton Court Palace, Network Rail (the owners of the Station site), SWT the train operator and the residents of Molesey have shared objectives. We would all support a plan that could safeguard the 'Jolly Boatman' as an open embankment, so that the unique views of the famous Palace and the setting of its historic Railway Station can be enjoyed, unimpeded by development.

Things could look very different in 2014, so please stay with us; HCRC still has a lot to do.

With sincere thanks for your continued support.

Approved plans for Molesey riverside - a death-trap!


15 November 2013
Approved plans for Molesey riverside - a death-trap!

The 'Elmbridge Local Committee' meets at Elmbridge Civic Centre this Monday, 18th November at 4pm. HCRC will use this opportunity to confront Surrey and Elmbridge Councillors about the threat to public safety resulting from their approval of Gladedale's Hampton Court Station development. Starting now, the mindless design of its new Highway Interchange will expose the public to increased risk at the entrance to Cigarette Island Lane.

Hampton Court Palace, the world-famous tourist attraction - draws one million visitors per year. Visitors from all over the world, arrive continuously at Hampton Court Station. En route to the Palace, the crowds cross the mouth of Cigarette Island Lane at the foot of Hampton Court Bridge. Presently the Lane is a small service-road, used only for routine Park maintenance. From March 2014, it will become the single access road into Gladedale's huge construction site.

From the start of the 3 year construction programme, HGV's and heavy Plant will dominate the use of the Lane. Gladedale predicts 100 journeys per day for the excavation/build of the development's basement Car Park - due to take 13 months.

It doesn't end there. When construction is completed, the Lane will become the development's only in/out Service Road. The new Complex will include a Care Home, a Hotel, a large restaurant, retail, offices, apartments and Mews houses. We expect the Service Road to be well used by Commercial vehicles, delivery vans, private Ambulances, refuse-disposal, daily laundry services and catering suppliers. The number of vehicles is expected to far exceed the figures proposed in Gladedale's original 2008 planning Application.

It is blindingly-obvious that there will be pedestrian/vehicular conflict on the Lane, and action by Surrey County Council (the Highway Authority) is demanded immediately. A safe pedestrian crossing at this black-spot must be installed without delay.

By approving Gladedale's proposals, SCC Highways has demonstrated its complete incompetence. There is also no evidence SCCH consulted at any stage with outside parties ie. Network Rail or South West Trains, who have a vested interest in their passengers' safety and welfare.

HCRC's recent Freedom of Information request revealed the results of an unpublished Stage 1 Safety Audit for the interchange. Design safety at the Cigarette Island Lane 'pinch-point' was not tested. The Auditors reported to HCRC "the submitted drawing did not give enough detail to make any comment regarding to a worsening road safety record."

There could clearly be liability implications. Officers have failed to meet the responsibilities of their Agency and might therefore be held accountable. SCC Highways Dept., dubbed "Not fit for purpose" by an EBC Councillor recently, must take positive action. HCRC suggests a new Audit be commissioned immediately, using current drawings and more recent traffic flow/Paramics data. The results should inform the installation of a safe pedestrian crossing-point as soon as possible.

SCCH promised benefits from improved traffic-circulation and safety at Hampton Court Station. What the new Interchange could deliver - is a death-trap!

There will not be another forum with Surrey County Council before Phase 1 of construction begins, so please join us at the meeting in the Council Chamber, to show your support and solidarity.

For info: a full list of your Councillors and details of the meeting, are shown in the link below.

Surrey County Council Elmbridge Local Committee

Thank you for your continued support.

Elmbridge's Resistance to Hampton Court Development - Too Little, Too Late!


4 July 2013
Elmbridge's resistance to Hampton Court development - too little, too late!

Elmbridge's resistance to Hampton Court development - too little, too late!
The future now rests with Network Rail.

Elmbridge Council's final 'sign-off' of Gladedale's plans for Hampton Court is deeply regrettable. Throughout its tortured 6 year history, the Planning Application has survived demands for a Public Inquiry (refused by Sec of State, Hazel Blears); two separate Judicial Reviews and Appeal in the High Court. The most recent Appeal Hearing, judged by the Government's Planning Inspector, delivered a decision that went with Gladedale, the developers.

Objectors are appalled that the Council majority has blindly gone along with Officers' recommendations for approval, when it is obvious to everyone that the scheme will irrevocably scar Hampton Court Palace's historic riverside landscape and its Victorian Railway Station.

With the exception of local Resident Assoc. Ward Councillors, Elmbridge Council's resistance to the plans has been at best, flaccid. Cllr John O'Reilly (Hersham South), Leader of the Tory led Council, called the scheme "Just about OK", while Tory Cllr Alan Kopitko, (Walton Ambleside Ward) offered his planning wisdom in 2008 "I first look for reasons for refusal and I so far have found none that would in my opinion stand up at appeal.....unfortunately it is not our job to tell developers how to design a development,we have to make our decisions on what is put in front of us. (sic)"

It is incomprehensible that Elmbridge has ignored sustained majority opposition to Gladedale's plans at Hampton Court. With breathtaking inconsistency, a recent Hotel scheme of only minor importance, planned for Walton Town Centre was rejected by those same Councillors, "by reason of its bulk, mass, siting and design that would result in a visually dominant form of development".

Hampton Court's treasured history and heritage has been sold-out by this Council, and its double-standards deserve the public's suspicion. Because of this HCRC will be looking elsewhere to find a way forward.

Network Rail owns the lion's share of the development land. Up to now, the Government-grant-funded company has kept a very low public profile through the decision process. However, there are now serious reasons why Network Rail should review its future management of our railway assets over the long-term, and look again at its responsibilities to the public, its network and its operator at Hampton Court Station, South West Trains.

NR, the Dept. of Transport and the Office of Rail Regulation should all be taking seriously the much-publicised proposition that Hampton Court Station will become a Railway-hub for Cross Rail 2. As a destination Station, connecting with the M3, A3 and M25, passengers will be drawn from a very wide area. With increased passenger numbers, NR (and SWT) should be concerned that extra car parking will be at a premium at the rail-head Station. Clearly, spaces will not be available for CR2 users if the Gladedale development goes ahead. Gladedale's development subsumes all the Railway land for housing, and will reduce car parking facilities currently freely available to Rail travellers.

Network Rail must also be aware of Media reports that even after a £455 million debt-for-equity restructuring with Lloyds Banking Group in 2009 , Gladedale appears to be heading for market auction in 2014 http://news.sky.com/story/1079487/housebuilder-gladedale-heading-for-auction - co-incidental to the programmed start of construction on the site.

"Lloyds owns roughly 30% of the ordinary shares in the company following a debt-for-equity swap struck in September 2009. Under that deal, Lloyds, which had recently taken control of HBOS, the stricken mortgage lender, is understood to be supportive of the decision to launch a sale of the company, which is likely to generate a return for it of roughly £100m. Last year, the bank refinanced £455m of Gladedale's borrowing facilities, giving the company until next year to repay its loans."

The viability of Gladedale's development looked shaky even before this news broke. Its cross-funding collapsed when the Star and Garter Home took the decision to relocate to Surbiton. Network Rail must be encouraged to question the wisdom of becoming further embroiled with this project with the expectation of generating outside funding for its Station improvements. The public price-tag is too high. Ratepayers will be saddled with a development that uses public land, is financed with public money, but offers no public benefit whatsoever. Elmbridge recently received over 900 letters rejecting plans to partially-demolish the Station and change the Conservation area. Collaboration with Network Rail will hold the key to finding a solution for the site that safeguards both the Thames riverside and the historic Station.

On hearing that Gladedale's recent appeal was upheld, John Barnes, Director of Conservation and Learning at Historic Royal Palaces kindly wrote to HCRC, "Your continued efforts remind me of the importance of local scrutiny of development, without which even more damage would be done to our towns and cities."

Now that Gladedale's Planning Application has full compliance, detailed designs for the project will be in preparation, and programmed activity will not be expected in the hoarded site until 2014. Ahead of that however, and of major importance will be the submission of the final designs for the new road layout to the Highway Authority, Surrey CC. Public-consultation on this is non-negotiable, as the layout brings with it significant, serious, safety concerns. Open THE NEW ROAD SCHEME to see the Car Park exit as an example.

The new arrangement will have instant impact around Hampton Court and Molesey; with gluts of parked cars, 'rat-runs' and the like. But, taking the wider view, the area feeding Hampton Court Bridge will be clogged up for miles around by the added obstruction of the new interchanges. HCRC hopes that the Dept for Transport, Network Rail, SWT and neighbouring Boroughs will be consulted once the layouts are finalised.

Uppermost, is the public's involvement in this process and HCRC will ensure that supporters have their say.

So please stay with us, there will be much to do and we value your continued support.

Gladedale wins its Appeal to the Planning Inspector


11 May 2013
Gladedale wins its Appeal to the Planning Inspector

We are profoundly disappointed to report that Gladedale has won its Planning Appeal against Elmbridge Council. Frances Mahoney, the Government's Planning Inspector upheld Gladedale's challenge to EBC's rejection of its Travel Plan. Her Appeal Decision dated 10th June, has now been published (see attached in full).

HCRC would like to thank everybody who contributed to the Hearing, either by spoken or written representation. Your comments eloquently expressed the wide-ranging concerns over the deficiencies of Gladedale's Travel Plan. We felt sure that the voices of residents and interest groups would be considered seriously and acknowledged. Some important arguments were proposed but, as you will read, all were set aside. (For your information, all of your letters of representation are published now on the Elmbridge Planning portal, http://www2.elmbridge.gov.uk/Planet/ispforms.asp?serviceKey=SysDoc-PlanetApplicationEnquiry under Planning reference number: 2012/3262).

The upholding of the Appeal delivers the last piece for full compliance of Gladedale's 2008 Planning Permission, due to expire next week on June 16th. Over the last few weeks (unchallenged by Elmbridge Officers) Gladedale has confidently begun pre-commencement works on its Jolly Boatman site anyway, so the PI's decision has seemed academic.

Compliance means that the first phase of construction, the new Highway-layout for the Development can get underway. We want supporters to know that all our efforts will be concentrated on this critical phase of the project. We will be pressing Surrey County Council and Elmbridge for fulsome public consultation on the impact and practicability of the new scheme on Molesey.

Therefore, please don't give up - your continued interest as we go forward will be very important, because travel and traffic around Hampton Court will directly affect all of us. If you would like to learn more about the new layout and how you might be affected by it, open the diagrams in the 'The New Road Scheme'.

HCRC thanks you for your warm support.

Still Time to Email your Objections


21 May 2013
Still time to email your objections

There is still time to email your comments to the Planning Inspector. The deadline is this Friday, 24th May 2013.

Background

The Appeal of Gladedale's rejected Travel Plan has been heard and we are grateful that the Planning Inspector extended the consultation period for late submissions to Friday 24th May.

We have heard from many supporters that the Appeal of Gladedale's Travel Plan has generated fresh public concern regarding the new development's proposed road layout, first aired back in 2008. Then and now, the new plans are seen to be poorly thought-out. Molesey's residents, commuters and local businesses are very worried that the plans will worsen the problems of capacity traffic and grid-lock around Hampton Court Bridge. The proposed reversal of the traffic-flow on Bridge Road, and the confused exit from the new underground car-park are particularly alarming.

Innumerable objections have been made to Elmbridge Planners, but these have had little impact on the Council's wider decision to approve Gladedale's development plans.

Since no real consultation has been entered into with Molesey's residents, you may wish to make use of the extended period of consultation to express your own opinion. The Planning Inspector must receive your comments by Friday. Matters that are unrelated to the specifics of Gladedale's Travel Plan will be rejected by the Planning Inspector, so please note these pointers that may help you to proceed.

  • It is important to understand that the layout of the 'new road scheme' is a separate issue from Gladedale's Travel Plan.
  • The Appeal is not concerned with our new road scheme, as it is considered to be 'off-site'. By that we mean it is outside the development site's foot-print. Everything that is 'outside the line' is the responsibility of Surrey CC Highways Planning Authority. So, while Molesey is understandably livid over the new layout, the new proposals do not form part of the remit of Gladedale's Travel Plan, or of the Appeal.

But all is not lost. The Planning Inspector has left open the smallest window of opportunity to introduce our 'off-site' issue. At the Appeal, she disqualified a number of grounds for the Council's rejection of the Framework Travel Plan. However, she allowed the very important Planning Policy: MOV4 to stand, this states:

  • "MOV4: ALL DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS SHOULD MINIMISE THE IMPACT OF VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC NUISANCE, PARTICULARLY IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS AND, AS FAR AS PRACTICABLE, COMPLY WITH CURRENT HIGHWAY DESIGN STANDARDS."

Action Required:

Email teamp1@pins.gsi.gov.uk referring to Planning Appeal reference: APP/K3605/A/13/2190487 and Elmbridge Planning Reference: 2012/3262 and explain the significant nuisance you believe the plans will cause in your street. Gladedale's Travel Plan has no provision for the extra parking demand it will generate. The removal of station car-parking during construction will exacerbate the nuisance in the already hard-hit residential roads and the development's new community will include car-owners who, rather than incur car-parking charges, will also park in Molesey's streets. This directly contravene the objectives of MOV4.

Inspector Extends Public Consultation


11 May 2013
Inspector extends public consultation by two weeks

On May the 8th and 9th, the Government's Planning Inspector heard Gladedale's Appeal against the Elmbridge Planning Committee's rejection of Condition 18, Travel Plan.

Gladedale, the developer of the Jolly Boatman, made an early plea that the Inspector might review her decision promptly, as its principal Planning consent is due to expire on June 16th. Instead of this consideration, the Inspector noted that Elmbridge Council had failed to post amendments to Gladedale's Travel Plan on its public-access portal until 4pm on Friday of the recent May Bank Holiday. She was rightly concerned that parties might not have seen the new statements, or had time to adequately prepare for the Appeal because of the long weekend. As a result she lengthened the consultation period to

Friday 24th May 2013.

Not only did she throw the poor Jolly Boatman a life-line, but she also heard nine, separate, third party presentations from HCRC, Councillors and residents. We are extremely grateful to the Inspector for allowing us so much time and input, over and above the legal discussion. For example, she permitted the screening of this video that challenges the highway safety of the new Cycle Lane. Please play this short film:

We appreciate the strong feelings held by residents and road-users about the problems of traffic and parking at Hampton Court and Molesey and that supporters might wish to comment further on the new amendments.

If you would like to review the revised Travel Plan documents, go to EBC's Planning website www.elmbridge.gov.uk/planning/online.htm using application reference 2012/3262. The amended Framework Travel Plan is revision A07.

For context, the development's proposed road layout and the new cycle route, featured in the video, are shown here:

Hampton Court Cycle PlanIf you have to comments we will shortly post precise contact details and instructions for correspondence to the Planning Inspectorate.

We are invited to submit further representations, dealing with the specific changes to Gladedale’s revised Framework Travel Plan (Revision A07), highlighted in YELLOW ONLY. The extended closing date is now Friday 24th May 2013.
If you wish to make comments on the Travel Plan please do so by emailing teamp1@pins.gsi.gov.uk or, send THREE COPIES of your representations to: Jonathan Alden, The Planning Inspectorate, 3/09 Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN.
Correspondence will be rejected if the correct Planning Appeal reference: APP/K3605/A/13/2190487 and Elmbridge Planning Reference: 2012/3262 are not included. The revised Framework Travel Plan can be viewed using this link: REVISED FRAMEWORK TRAVEL PLAN A07

It's a Black Day


24 April 2013
It's a Black Day for the 'Jolly Boatman' - Palace Views Gone!
Lost views of Hampton Court

Since 2006 HCRC has campaigned against building on the 'Jolly Boatman' site because any development would simply obliterate Hampton Court's heritage views and spoil the historic landscape. The recent construction of 2.5 meter high, blacked-out hoardings around the site provides the proof (see attached). This is just the start, much worse is to come.

With flagrant disregard of its incomplete planning permission, Gladedale Homes, the developer of the 'Jolly Boatman' site has moved in at Hampton Court. Hoardings now encircle the land, behind which excavators are operating.

Elmbridge Council's Enforcement Officer says Gladedale's operation is a pre-commencement Archaeological investigation. This might suggest that Gladedale has reached full compliance of its 2008 Planning permission with its attached 56 Planning Conditions. This is not the case. Please play this video to see that Gladedale has started construction:

The start of works is premature. The Planning Inspector is still to hear an appeal by Gladedale, lodged against Elmbridge Council's decision to refuse Condition 18, the Travel Plan. This Hearing will take place at Elmbridge Civic Centre in Esher, on Wednesday 8th May 2013. HCRC has made representations to the Planning Inspector, and will be speaking at the Appeal hearing.

Besides this, Gladedale has remained suspiciously silent on its response to the Councillors' rejection of plans for the partial-demolition of Hampton Court Station, which generated an unprecedented 900 letters of objection to Planning Officers. With so much public-interest, HCRC will be watching closely for both Network Rail's and Gladedale's response, as the Conservation Area and a locally-listed building are directly involved.

We can assure supporters that there will be no 'let-up' with HCRC's campaigning. Gladedale's planning application expires in a few weeks, on June 16th. It's obvious watching the Planning meetings that Elmbridge is being leaned-on to get all the Conditions passed by that date. The Molesey Resident Councillors put up a good fight each time, but shamefully the Tory Councillors who continue to approve this development do not live in Wards close to Hampton Court, and are therefore unaccountable.

At least the Appeal on the 8th May will be the first opportunity for the Jolly Boatman application to be reviewed by a higher Planning Authority than Elmbridge's Officers... so please cross your fingers.

Our most recent video:

Elmbridge Stop Part-Demolition


25 February 2013
Elmbridge Councillors give a
RED-STOP-SIGNAL
to Hampton Court Station's part-demolition

HCRC is celebrating! We can report that the inexorable progress
of the hotly-disputed Thames-side redevelopment on the 'Jolly Boatman' site opposite Hampton Court Palace, is halted.

Despite strong, sustained opposition over the years, Councillors have approved everything related to the Gladedale Homes' development project.... until now.

 

HCRC demonstration at HC station

On 18th February, Elmbridge Councillors of the Planning Committee were asked to review an Application to partially-demolish Hampton Court Station. The proposals required Conservation Area consent to allow for the destruction of parts of the 'locally-listed' building designed by the renowned Victorian Railway architect, Sir William Tite. The prized design and valued heritage of the Victorian Station was to be sacrificed to enable the construction of a contemporary house-building and Hotel development, to be built all around it. For your assistance, see HCRC's short film http://youtu.be/cODyyD0mr_4

However, Elmbridge Council received an unprecedented number of 900 letters of objection against the proposals, some from around the world. This time, bolstered by the huge volume of opposition, Councillors on the Planning Committee rejected the Planning Officer's recommendation to permit the Application. In a very close result and greeted by loud applause from the public gallery, the demolition Application was refused by a single vote, 5 to 4. The Councillors' decision was very significant, because without the Station's partial demolition, the advancement of Gladedale's wider development, approved by Elmbridge in 2008, would prove impossible. Please roll the linked HCRC/BBCRadio interview http://youtu.be/hQiA3qzt4qw transmitted on Wednesday 20th Feb.

The jeering and cheering continued in the Council chamber as Councillors additionally judged the Application for the development's accompanying Travel Plan. Hampton Court Bridge, already a well known traffic bottle-neck was the subject of heated discussions that exposed serious shortcomings in the proposed new highways layout. Councillors complained that the Plan's designers, Surrey CC's Transport Planning Dept. had been able to have a series of radical changes ratified by EBC Officers, without any consideration by the travelling public or consultation with residents.

Furious Molesey Resident Ward Councillor, Ian Donaldson remarked that since 2009, when Officers signed-off the traffic plan in its binding S106 agreement, "Four and a half years have gone by and still no consultation", adding that "Residents, road-rail-users, local businesses and even us Ward Councillors have been ignored".

The Chair of the Planning Committee also declared that "excluding the A3, this is the busiest stretch of road in the Borough.... that imposes a high standard. Any reasonable person would question whether the Travel Plan was 'fit for purpose'"

Councillors agreed that the imposition of the new layout at Hampton Court Station would have far-reaching affects, in Elmbridge Borough and beyond. The Developer's suggestion that during the construction phase Hampton Court's Rail-users could find alternative parking at Esher and Surbiton Stations, was simply laughed at.

The public gallery erupted with applause as the Travel Plan was convincingly rejected, this time by all but one Councillor, from Hersham South.

The impact of these two important refusals will challenge whether realistically, Gladedale's wider scheme is deliverable. The approval given in 2008 for the comprehensive redevelopment of the 'Jolly Boatman' and Station sites expires in June, 2013. Whether Gladedale can return to EBC with renewed plans for the Station and, Surrey County Council can agree a new Travel Plan within the three months that remain - is debatable.

HCRC's Co-chair Bryan Woodriff said "Given the sensitivity of the historic Station and our diminishing Railway heritage, this last minute decision is brave and very welcomed"

Meanwhile, the unanimously popular plan for a Public Park on the 'Jolly Boatman' site has already been approved, but awaits Gladedale Homes' decision to relinquish its freehold. HCRC hopes that your readers will be pleased to know that 'people-power' has saved a piece of the country's Railway Heritage from the wrecking-ball.

The importance of this issue is signified by a recent article in Private Eye.

Planning Committee Meets on 18 February

17 February 2013

Reminder of the Planning Committee meeting on Monday,18th February at 7.45pm

This Monday, Elmbridge Councillors on the Northern Area Planning Sub-Committee (NAPSC) will decide whether to go along with the Planning Officer's recommendation to approve 11 more of Gladedale's planning applications.

One of the applications, the partial-demolition of Hampton Court Station affecting a locally-listed building in the Conservation Area, has generated a fever of objection. So far, Elmbridge has received 800 letters of OBJECTION, some from around the world. Correspondence has been received from far-flung South Africa, Texas, New York, France, Malta, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin and Scotland, all echo the same message - that our Railway Heritage be preserved and restored, and the views that informed Tite's original 1849 Station layout with its Palace views, must be maintained. To trust that the five Tory Councillors that sit on Elmbridge's NAPS-Committee will heed this level of opposition and reject the application, is a long shot. It has been their well-used mantra that their hands are tied by the Planning Officer's recommendation, Planning Law and the impact of the Appeal process on the public-purse.

For Construction Methodology, aka a 'dog's breakfast' also being tabled on Monday, their 'buck-passing' simply will not work.

HCRC is on record saying that the Construction Management plans for the Station raise grave concerns. Rail-users, tourists and cyclists will be expected to use the same shared space as site traffic; HGV's, Plant, buses and car-park traffic. The threat posed to public safety by this pedestrian/vehicular conflict has not been taken seriously enough by Council Officers. Neither a risk assessment/safety audit, or computer modelling has been requested and yet astonishingly, the Planning Officer has given her recommendation to permit. People who know and use the Station will acknowledge that this is an accident waiting to happen! Elmbridge cannot defend the indefensible and must surely reject these proposals until an independent Risk Assessment is provided to reassure the voting Councillors. We feel sure you'll have an opinion about these proposals. Please see the attached drawing and email your comments to the Planning Dept: tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk before Monday, quoting your name and address and the Application Number: 2012/3428. Might we advise you copy your email to the Leader of the Council, John O'Reilly joreilly@elmbridge.gov.uk who sits on the Planning Committee and our Dominic Raab MP dominic.raab.mp@parliament.uk

If you would like to sit in on the NAPSC meeting to watch and listen, it starts at 7.45pm sharp at the Civic Centre High Street, Esher. Please be aware that NAPSC meetings are held in a Conference Room and not in the grand Council Chamber, so seating is limited. However, HCRC would very much welcome and be grateful for your attendance.

Cycling and Pedestrian Safety Issues

10 February 2013

Traffic/Cyclist/Pedestrian conflict

Should Elmbridge Councillors choose to disregard the overwhelming opposition to the Application for partial-demolition of Hampton Court Station and approve the development - the safety of rail-users, cyclists and the million annual visitors to Hampton Court Palace will be compromised. As this Construction Methodology Drawing shows, there will be three dangerous conflict areas between site traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, cars and buses as they battle to share the same space. HCRC declares the increased risk to the public unacceptable

Private Eye has supported our campaign again with the following article - Private Eye article (click on the link on the right to see the original article).

On 8 February the Surrey Advertiser ran the following news story about our demonstration to halt the partial-demolition of Hampton Court Station.

The following three images show the development phases in sequence - Phase 1 (shown above), Phase 2, Phase 3.

At 8:50 on Sunday 10 February BBC Radio 4 broadcast a 10 minute 'A Point of View' concerning saving New York's Grand Central Station which has interesting parallels to our campaign.

Every Objection Will Count

3 February 2013

It's not too late! Every objection will count.

Elmbridge's Planning Dept has acknowledged the considerable level of public interest raised by the current application for the partial demolition of Hampton Court Station and has agreed to extend its period of public consultation. Your letters of comment will be accepted right up to the date of the Application's determination by the Council's Planning Committee, now

Monday 18th February 2013

Planners have assured us that your views will be counted and published for public record. Now that the date has changed, we would strongly urge you to comment on the Application in the time that remains.

In our last bulletin we circulated a short Video that explained the proposals and how to OBJECT using EBC's direct 'submit comments' link. EBC has unhelpfully 'locked-out' that option, and we know that some supporters have been deterred using this method. So HCRC has made a new film (with updated instructions) which can be clicked open here and recirculated as before.

It is not too late to voice your opinion. Email your comments without delay to tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk addressed to Laura Davies (Planning Case Officer) or send by letter to:

Elmbridge Borough Council Civic Centre,
High Street, Esher, Surrey KT10 9SD

We must stress that EBC will reject your correspondence if it does not carry the correct Planning Application Number 2012/4275 and your address.

Today, EBC's postbag contains close to 600 individual letters of OBJECTION, some as far flung as Texas, Malta, Brussels, New York, Scotland, Amsterdam and France. Also, collective representations from interest groups such as these, have sent their OBJECTIONS;

  • Campaign for the Protection of Rural England
  • London Parks and Gardens
  • The Transport Trust
  • GLIAS Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society
  • Friends of Bushy & Home Parks
  • Historic Royal Palaces
  • Hampton and Molesey Riverside Trust
  • East Molesey, Conservation Area Advisory Committee
  • SCC Archaeology Dept
  • Molesey Boat Club

HCRC urges its supporters to take advantage of this brief reprieve and swell the numbers. The partial demolition of our Railway heritage and the damage to a prized Conservation Area must be opposed - and your last-minute participation would be warmly appreciated.

HCRC thanks you for your continued interest and support and remember to

Urgent Reminder from the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

13 January 2013

Time is running out to submit comments on the proposed part-demolition of Hampton Court Railway Station.

Residents living close by Hampton Court Station have already been formally invited to comment on proposals for its part-demolition, by Elmbridge Council. Commuters may also have seen the Planning notices pasted there and have responded in time. If these plans are news to you, please read on.

Gladedale Homes' new application, is a renewal of its 2007 planning application for the part-demolition of the Railway Station, that has now expired. Then as now, HCRC maintains its specific objection to these demolition plans, because this planning application is not a 'stand-alone' undertaking. The new application is a crucial part of the over-arching plans (approved by Elmbridge Council in 2008) for the comprehensive redevelopment of the 'Jolly Boatman' and Station sites.

The long-overdue restoration and refurbishment that the Station badly needs, is bound up and wholly dependent on the construction of the loudly opposed riverside 'Jolly Boatman' redevelopment.

"Conservation Area consent was granted with the condition that the demolition was to be undertaken in tandem with the works permitted by the granting of the planning permission for the comprehensive development of the site, to avoid leaving the locally listed Hampton court Station building in a transition state." 3.7 Page 9 Gladedale's Heritage Statement.

All of us would wholeheartedly support a plan (if one existed) to refurbish and restore the Station to preserve our Railway history. To Gladedale Homes however, the Station is just a piece of the development jigsaw.

Hampton Court Station was designed and built in 1849 by the important Victorian architect, Sir William Tite, who was responsible for building Stations across Britain and France. He designed; the Grand Terminal at Eton and Windsor Riverside for Queen Victoria, Fenchurch Street Station in London and Stations from Carlisle to Southampton. Tite recognised the importance of the setting of the Station approach and its relationship to the prominence of Hampton Court Palace. He saw that the open views from the approaching trains were an important part of the rail passenger's experience.

This planning application for part-demolition of the Station is a first step towards losing that setting forever. The finished comprehensive redevelopment will envelop three sides of the Station and will obliterate those fantastic views.

Michael Portillo's BBC documentary series 'Great Railway Journeys' and Dan Snow's new BBC series 'Locomotion' have rekindled the importance of Britain's Railway Heritage. The destruction of the fabric and design integrity of Hampton Court's own dedicated Railway Station, flies-in-the-face of the renewed interest and regard for Railway conservation.

This handsome, but neglected example of Tite’s work at Hampton Court Station is currently only locally listed - part of East Molesey’s Kent Town Conservation Area. By comparison, the architectural importance of Tite's sister Station, at Kew Bridge is acknowledged, by a Grade 2 listing.

HCRC opposes this Planning Application for all the reasons below and our formal submission to Elmbridge Council has been sent furthering each point.

  • The destruction of the decorative, Victorian, wrought-iron and glass, platform canopies.
  • Rejection of what should be a 'show-case' Station complex, its materials, detailing and highly-visible Victorian design, at a high cost to the Conservation Area.
  • The loss of the fantastic vistas for arriving rail-passengers that informed Sir William Tite's designs.
  • The overbearing and out-of-scale setting of the proposed neighbouring buildings, which contravenes the Elmbridge Planning Brief 1999 "...to ensure that development does not dominate the existing station building..."
  • The construction methodology of the development, warning of a period in which the Station may need to be closed, with the obvoius impact on the travelling public. Gladedale warns in its Environmental Statement that "... It should be noted that whilst it is intended to keep the Railway Station open throughout the works, this may not be possible during some Piling works" (5 months).

It is not too late to voice your opinion. Please email or send your comments without delay to tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk

Laura Davies (Planning Case Officer) Elmbridge Borough Council
Civic Centre, High Street, Esher
Surrey KT10 9SD

or click on the link Elmridge Planning, enter the Planning number, 2012/4275 scroll to the base to 'SUBMIT COMMENTS'

We must stress that the Planning department is able to reject your correspondence if it does not refer to this Application, quoting the EBC Planning number and your address.

* Please note that some of the drawings published on the Elmbridge website for this application 2012/4275 are of extremely poor readable quality. This might be added as a subsidiary complaint. Our high-quality image of the proposed Hampton Court Station work.

HCRC thanks you for your continued interest and support and remember to

Conservative Councillors Vote 'En Bloc' to Approve Piling at the Bridge

14 December 2012

Conservative Councillors ignore meaningful objections and vote 'en bloc'
to approve Piling at the Bridge

Elmbridge Council's Northern Area Planning Sub-Committee met on 12th December to discharge another of the 56 Planning Conditions attached to the planned Gladedale development opposite Hampton Court Palace. Condition 13 was important as it concerned the 'Protection of a listed Building - Hampton Court Bridge'.

In order to protect the listed bridge from the impact of 5 months of Piling and the excavation of the 'Jolly Boatman' for the double-storey underground car park, EBC's Planning Condition required its express consent to allow Piling within an exclusion-zone of 30 metres from the Bridge.

The discussions lasted over an hour. The Committee was shown the clearest evidence that the listed building fell within the 30 metre exclusion-zone. Molesey's Ward Councillors also pointed out the poor state of the listed retaining wall and the threat of landslip from the close-proximity Piling, heavy Plant machinery and HGV traffic using the Access Road during the excavation and construction.

The meeting was informed that a comprehensive bridge inspection report, commissioned by Surrey County Council had begun in October and was still in progress. Even though the results of the Survey are incomplete and the 'baseline' results are yet to be published, Officers urged Councillors to proceed with discharging this Condition. Similarly in reference to the riverbank, the Environment Agency, statutorily involved with 'in-river' works was not consulted.

With so much in doubt and key issues fudged, it is disappointing for HCRC to report that some Councillors seemed completely satisfied.

The ten strong Committee was made up of five Conservatives and five Resident's Association Councillors. All of the Committee's Conservative Councillors, from Walton (Ambleside, North and South) and Hersham (North), confidently gave their approval to the Condition. The four Residents Assoc. Councillors voted against approval and the Chairman abstained.

The background to Elmbridge's Planning determination for the Hampton Court Station site is set by Government Planning Policy. It advises that sensitive, high-profile sites such as this one opposite Hampton Court Palace, should be afforded - 'special regard'. HCRC sat through the NAPSC charade and listened to Elmbridge Planning Officers and Conservative Councillors deliver the absolute opposite.

The next NAPSC meeting is the 7th January 2013 where eight more Conditions will be presented on its Agenda in an effort to have all 56 approved by June 2013, the expiry of the Application.

Despite the disappointing news, HCRC will continue to scrutinise the progress of the Conditions very carefully.

HCRC thanks you for your continued interest and support and remember to

Public Confidence Shaken; Disturbing Pattern Emerges in Planning Approvals

26 October 2012

Public confidence shaken; disturbing pattern emerges in Planning approvals

It has been agonising to sit through Elmbridge Council's NAPSC meetings.

Just ten Councillors, on Elmbridge's 'Northern-Area-Planning-Sub-Committee' meet every three weeks to determine general Planning matters. These include the sole responsibility to discharge the 56 Planning Conditions attached contractually to Gladedale Homes' long disputed 2008 Planning permission for the Hampton Court development.

HCRC has attended the tabling of ten Conditions so far and there appears to be a repeated, predictable and demoralising pattern in their passage to full approval.

On each occasion, with guidance from the NAPSC Chairman, Councillors from Molesey Wards open the discussions. Considering that Gladedale's 'Jolly Boatman' development affects their Electorates, it is obvious that they are best placed locally to express the points of greatest concern. The public gallery has followed the in-depth and sometimes intense debates, only to observe that the Councillors have regretfully wasted their valuable time.

Arguably, any normal person would expect ALL Elmbridge Borough Councillors and Officers to be critical of these Conditions. Once approved, they are non-negotiable and their viability cannot be revisited. It seems that the Committee discussions are mere tokenism or worse, pure mockery, and the result is always the same. On each occasion, reasoned argument is ignored and the final vote - tribal! The three Molesey Councillors vote against and all the remaining Councillors, the majority, wave approval through.

At the latest meeting, Cllr John O'Reilly, Leader of the Council, reminded the room that the Conditions were 'merely a bureaucratic exercise'. This is a trite comment given the seriousness of the issues involved. His misguided advice of 'Ticking the boxes', does not reflect the weight of budgetary responsibility that the Council (and ratepayer) will bear if the terms of the binding S106 Condition are not met, or found to be unviable. HCRC supporters and the public are underwhelmed by the way that the Committee is supposedly reviewing the Conditions. This is made all the more frustrating because a Nationally supported, and approved planning permission for a green Parkland space on this site, waits in the wings. HCRC would like to offer Molesey Councillors the fullest credit for showing their commitment in the face of such clannish behaviour and for battling so hard on behalf of the Nation to ensure that this historic riverside at Hampton Court is preserved for ever.

The next NAPSC meeting is scheduled for November 5th, and HCRC hopes to be reporting a different result in our next Bulletin. The public expects more from Councillors than simply going through the motions.

HCRC thanks you for your continued interest and support and remember to

Hampton Court Riverside Parkland Scheme Approved

28 August 2012

Hampton Court riverside parkland scheme, APPROVED!

HCRC is immensely pleased to report that Elmbridge Council’s Planning Officers have taken a most unexpected step in using delegated powers to APPROVE plans for a public riverside park on the site known as the ‘Jolly Boatman’ right opposite Hampton Court Palace.

HCRC presumed that this fresh set of plans for the hotly disputed site, put forward by Andrew Roberts and Keith Garner, would follow the usual process of lengthy review by Committee and Councillors, but we are all surprised and thrilled with the Officers’ early, common sense decision.

A jubilant Keith Garner, architect of the plans and hero of a previous legal challenge of Elmbridge in the High Court and Appeal Court said "It is clear from the amazing response to Andrew Roberts' application that local people want the Jolly Boatman site to become a public park. In granting us planning permission, Elmbridge Council has now opened the way for this to happen and we are all very pleased about this.”

We do not know the reason for the Officer’s intervention, but HCRC is very relieved that in the face of truly overwhelming support for this innovative scheme, the right judgement was made. (Please roll our short film http://youtu.be/9ebz2dS9D4E or see attachments for stills)

The approved riverside park plan does not supersede the hated Hotel scheme that Elmbridge Councillors inexplicably passed in 2008, but it offers an elegant, loudly supported alternative. If, or when the house-builder, Gladedale fails to fully comply with its 56 Planning obligations (expiring in June 2013), then the approved Roberts/Garner scheme will present Elmbridge Council with a ready, long-awaited choice.

Support came from all quarters for the park plan and HCRC would like to thank, amongst many others

  • Historic Royal Palaces,
  • London Parks and Gardens Trust,
  • Dr Jonathon Foyle, World Monuments Fund,
  • Paul Velluet Assist. Regional Director, English Heritage
  • Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, Writer/Garden historian
  • Vince Cable MP, by email to HCRC
  • Thames Landscape Strategy
  • Cleve West, Best in Show, Chelsea Flower Show garden designer.
  • Richmond Borough Council,
  • Friends of Bushy & Home Parks,
  • Brentford Community Council
  • Environment Agency

and especially Private Eye magazine, that has championed a resolution to this six year old saga from the start (see attached).

731 individual responses of support flooded into the Planning Office. Added to these, representations from neighbouring Residents Assoc., interest groups and Professional bodies all joined the lobby of support. There were even endorsements from far-flung Los Angeles, Canada and the Netherlands, proving a point that HCRC has long stressed, that this is not merely a National issue.

This is great news in an unwavering fight and HCRC trusts that the parkland plans bring the riverside site, with its unique Hampton Court Palace views, one step closer to being preserved for the nation’s children to enjoy.


 
HCRC has made a short Youtube film which beautifully illustrates the 'new plans' for Hampton Court.
Support is gathering pace. Your messages have begun to flow into Elmbridge Planning Dept., and HCRC is very grateful for your contributions. We must ensure that every opportunity is taken to send Elmbridge a clear and forceful message about the long term future of the Jolly Boatman riverbank. You can do this using the 'HAVE YOUR SAY' instructions on the right. 

Brand New Proposals for 'Boatman' Site (with Old v. New Animation)

12 July 2012

Brand new proposals for the embattled 'Boatman' development at Hampton Court
will preserve heritage views

 New and Old Jolly Boatman Landscaping

An innovative, fresh new set of planning proposals has been lodged with Elmbridge Borough Council today. The plans were formally submitted to EBC by Andrew Roberts, a Thames Ditton resident. The new scheme will create a public Thames-side, green space, with unobstructed views across to Hampton Court Palace, on the site known as the 'Jolly Boatman'. Mr Roberts’ single goal, to preserve and enhance the valued heritage views, once and for all.

"I pass the site most days, and it’s something I've been thinking about for a long time" says Mr Roberts.

Elmbridge Borough Council has been at the centre of a long-running planning tussle over the redevelopment of the 'Boatman' site, opposite the world famous Palace. Its highly controversial decision in 2008 to grant Gladedale Homes planning approval for a huge scale housing and Hotel development, in an area of unique historic significance, has been met with unwavering resistance over the years. The departure of the Star and Garter Home from the original scheme and a judicial review of EBC in the High Court, has added to its troubled history.

Keith Garner, the Architect of the new project said "It is a counter proposal for the Jolly Boatman site, rather than as a site for a large Hotel"

"We wanted the design to be a simple grassed open space, sloping down to the river, where people can relax by the riverside and take in the view” said James Baniecki, who drew up the plans.

John Barnes, Director of Historic Royal Palaces welcomes the new plans

"The views from East Molesey and Hampton Court are excellent and show the Station building as it ought to be seen, in relation to Hampton Court Palace, which it was built to serve. This is a visual connection we wish to see maintained."

The pressure group Hampton Court Rescue Campaign was set up to fight Gladedale Homes/Network Rail’s shared ambitions for a comprehensive riverside redevelopment. The scheme would obliterate the views; to and from the Palace, the Railway Station and the Bridge and moreover, blot out passengers views on the approaching trains and maroon the precious rural landscape of Cigarette Island Park.

The sterling efforts by Historic Royal Palaces to give the ‘Boatman’ eyesore a temporary face-lift for the Olympics are hugely welcome and the results have given supporters a vision of how the uninterrupted views across to the Palace from the riverbank open space, might be enjoyed permanently. HCRC strongly supports and endorses Mr Roberts’ new scheme.

“We hope that EBC considers Mr Roberts’ plans very carefully, given the widespread support we know they will receive.” adds Prof Bryan Woodriff, Co-chair of Hampton Court Rescue Campaign.

Tell Elmbridge Council what you think by clicking on the link in the "Have Your Say" box at the top right of this page.

Follow us now on Twitter

9 July 2012

e-bulletin: HCRC now on Twitter

The Hampton Court Rescue Campaign is entering a new dynamic phase. You can follow every development by clicking on the "Follow @HCRCMary" button at the top left. This takes you to our Twitter page where where you can sign in to Twitter in order to follow all the messages left by everyone that is involved in the campaign.

 Twitter News

Congratulations to Historic Royal Palaces: ‘Jolly Boatman’, a Triumph!

27 June 2012

e-bulletin: Congratulations to Historic Royal Palaces: ‘Jolly Boatman’, a triumph!

After three decades, residents and visitors can once again view the magnificence of Hampton Court Palace across the Thames, unobstructed by the shabby remains of derelict development land, known as the ‘Jolly Boatman’ outside Hampton Court Station.

Historic Royal Palaces has maintained pressure on Gladedale Homes, owner of the ‘Boatman’, to reach a mutually agreed way to improve the shameful condition of this building site. With vigourous local, national and international support, HRP’s dogged efforts to ‘makeover’ the site have been rewarded, just in time for its prestigious Olympic spotlight. The transformation is astonishing and harmonises with HRP’s major enhancements of the wider heritage landscape.

Jolly Boatman Landscaping

On behalf of its thousands of supporters, HCRC would like to use this opportunity to thank the Trustees, Directors and Staff of Historic Royal Palaces for their commitment, stewardship and of course, their funding of this much needed improvement. This is a temporary commitment, which will sadly be withdrawn at the end of 2012 to make way for Gladedale to commence development of the site in 2013. However, we are all profoundly grateful for this short term reprieve.

As for Gladedale’s Planning Application, this will achieve full compliance only when each of 56 mandatory conditions are fully approved. You will be pleased to know that HCRC is monitoring this carefully, and it already expects contention, obstacles and disagreement throughout the process. It must continue to do this because the future of this historic site is so important to us all.

Hampton Court Palace Makeover Offer, Accepted by Gladedale Homes

3 May 2012

e-bulletin: Hampton Court Palace makeover offer, accepted by Gladedale Homes.

At last, the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign is able to report excellent news about the troubled 'Jolly Boatman' development, opposite the world famous Palace at Hampton Court.

Gladedale Homes, the owner/developer of the 'Jolly Boatman' site, has finally accepted Historic Royal Palaces' generous offer made last February, to landscape the well known riverside eyesore in preparation for the long list of prestigious 2012 summer events being hosted by the Palace.

HRP’s plan is to create a landscaped, recreational riverside space beside Hampton Court Railway Station, a recognised Olympic travel-hub and gateway to Surrey. The worldwide Media spotlight of the Olypmics has given traction to an urgent search for a solution to the long-standing bomb-site. HRP's proposals will bring to an end the amplified embarrassment and humiliation that Elmbridge Borough Council would have endured had the ‘Boatman’s dilapidation been allowed to continue throughout the summer months.

A recent BBC interview with HCRC's Ray Townsend:

In a statement released by Gladedale Homes on Friday, it stated

"Gladedale have decided to work in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces to improve the appearance of the Jolly Boatman/Hampton Court Railway station site in readiness for the Olympic celebrations and other important events taking place in the summer. Works will include the laying of turf, importing trees and plants and erecting a low level perimeter fence"

HCRC would like to thank the Trustees and Directors of Historic Royal Palaces for putting forward their much appreciated proposals. The project and its funding will benefit the many thousands of visitors, from at home and overseas that are expected to attend the summer's special celebrations for Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Games, centred at the Palace.

Shocking Railway Station Slum an Insult to 2012 Palace Spectaculars

5 April 2012

e-bulletin: Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

Shocking Railway Station Slum an Insult to 2012 Palace Spectaculars

Historic Hampton Court Railway Station, identified by Elmbridge Council as an 'Olympic travel hub' is at the end of the line for the crowds of visitors from London to Hampton Court Palace this summer. The hosting of the prestigious Olympic cycle races, Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee river cruise and the annual, world-famous Flower Show will see all-time record passenger numbers flooding into Hampton Court from all over Britain and overseas.

Situated at the gateway to Surrey, and only a stone's throw from the magnificence of the Tudor Palace complex, the Railway Station by contrast, is nothing short of an embarrassing disgrace. For over 20 years, Surrey rate-payers have endured the continuing dereliction of the Station buildings. Now, with the impending arrival of the huge spectator numbers predicted for the 2012 events, the publicly funded Network Rail must restore this high-profile Station to look less like a neglected slum.

Judge for yourself. Click open HCRC's new rolling video from the site and please post your own comments on YouTube.

HCRC wants Network Rail to explain how other Stations, like Windsor and Eton Riverside for one, have been fully restored to reflect their historic standing while Hampton Court Station has simply been left to crumble.

Elmbridge Council, Surrey County Council, Transport for London and LOCOG combined, must hold Network Rail to account and press for immediate remedial action. There is so little time left before a world audience will be watching the events hosted at Hampton Court Palace.

But there’s more. There is still no news from Gladedale Homes (the developer owner of the adjacent 'Jolly Boatman' bomb-site) as to whether it will be accepting the parkland make-over offer, generously funded by the Palace, as reported in our last bulletin. Given the state of the 'Boatman' site, Elmbridge's plans for hanging-baskets, extra roadside plantings and 'Welcome to Elmbridge' signs are truly risible and totally inadequate. Because the Station and 'Boatman' sites are adjacent, a scheme which complements the whole riverside for the additional pedestrian traffic must be found.

If you missed it, look at the HCRC/BBC interview video below and again, please post your own comments with YouTube. If you have difficulty opening these videos, please copy and paste the links into your internet browser.

Copyright BBC, 2012

(or go to YouTube to add a comment).

So far Network Rail has been allowed to get away with only the barest investment in the Station. Now that Surrey is coming within a global Olympic focus, a bit of sticking-plaster will not do. If you feel we are all being let down on this, please add your voice to the lobby for real improvements for a better-looking Station in this important year. Post your comments via the youtube links or use the HCRC's web forum and for best effect,send your copy direct to Councillor John O'Reilly, Leader of Elmbridge Council, at joreilly@elmbridge.gov.uk

Palace Offers Solution to 'Boatman' Olympic Eyesore

24 January 2012

Cycle race (Olympic trial) Hampton Court bridge

HCRC can report that Historic Royal Palaces has offered a generous solution to the continued dilapidation of the privately owned 'Jolly Boatman' site by Hampton Court Station, For years, this half-acre development site, that lies directly across the Thames from Hampton Court Palace, has been left in disgraceful dereliction, but as the 2012 Olympics draw near, the 'Boatman' eyesore has become Surrey's 'hot potato'.  

The site, at the gateway to Elmbridge Borough, overlooks Hampton Court Palace which will be the host for the last leg of the Olympic Torch relay, and the start and climactic finish of the Cycle Race. But for the huge crowds that are expected and for the global TV coverage, the rubble-filled, fly-tipped site will form part of the Palace's foreground.

But all is not lost. An approach has now come directly from Historic Royal Palaces to the site's owner, the house builder, Gladedale Homes. The Palace has offered a makeover, clearing and landscaping the site and, at its own cost, opening up the space to planted riverside parkland. This plan has been enthusiastically welcomed by HCRC supporters and county-wide residents who at last see a way of improving the views around our world-famous Palace. For many years, local communities have been hoping for an opportunity to help with the clear up. The Palace's plan will be met with the considerable support and involvement of volunteers from both sides of the Thames.

Jolly Boatman siteJolly Boatman siteGladedale has proposed the erection of hoardings around the perimeter. However, an earlier attempt by a previous owner to screen off the site was turned down by the Planning Inspector in 2001, who judged that the hoardings would impede the views to and from the Palace. Moreover, hoardings would fail to screen the ruin inside the site from aerial TV coverage, planned to follow the entire length of the Cycle Route.

 

HCRC sees the Palace's gift to Elmbridge, her opposite Borough, as an extremely generous undertaking. We wait for an equally positive response in support from its Council Leader and Officers. HCRC also hopes that when the crowd-control planning for the Railway Station, the Lutyens bridge and the 'Boatman' obstacle is studied, the proposed open space will be considered of immeasurable benefit to visitor management and an enhancement to the Olympic experience.

HCRC hopes to report that Gladedale will accept this significant offer from Historic Royal Palaces and that work will get underway to improve the views of this showcase Tudor location.

HCRC thanks everyone for their continued support.

London Parks and Garden Trust Earmarks Jolly Boatman as a Landscape at Risk.

6 December 2011

Original article

HCRC thanks LPGT for publicising the Jolly Boatman as a landscape at risk. Chris Sumner, Chair of LPGT's Planning & Conservation has reviewed the English Heritage 'Heritage At Risk Register' for London parks and gardens and has recommended that the Boatman be added as a site for concern.

LPGT has long objected to the proposed comprehensive development of the riverside site at Hampton Court, and HCRC is grateful for its focus at this sensitive time.

A meeting of the full Elmbridge Council is scheduled on Wed, 6th Dec. when Councillors will vote to ratify revised policies for the Borough's conservation areas. Invited for comment, as part of an East Molesey/Hampton Court working group, HCRC has made strong, sound, considered recommendations to Elmbridge planning officers in an effort to fortify the conservation protection of the historic railway Station and adjacent riverside JB site. HCRC has seen the Officer's report prepared for Councillors on Wednesday, and notes that its recommendations have been totally ignored.

In advance of the meeting, Brian Rusbridge, HCRC co-chair, has sent a letter to the Chief Exec of Elmbridge Council, asking for a deferral of Wednesday's decision while the working group's comments are explored more fully. The full text of the letter is attached.

Supreme Court News

19 September 2011 e-bulletin

HCRC can now confirm that Keith Garner, with unshakable resolve, is to press his case against Elmbridge Borough Council to the highest level, the Supreme Court of Appeal. Given the sensitivity of the historic riverside setting of Hampton Court Palace, his legal team will continue undaunted with its legal challenge of Elmbridge's misguided approval of the monstrous redevelopment plans for the Tudor Palace site.

His case focuses on EBC's failure to comply with obligations laid down in the Planning Act that advocate paying 'special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting, or any features of special architectural and historic interest'. Courageous Mr Garner expects that his leave to appeal will be heard in October.

Recent remarks made by the Leader of the Council , blamed those opposed to the scheme for having forced the Borough to unnecessarily spend £90K of its budget on legal bills. In fact, EBC spent a portion of this money unsuccessfully defending itself against the decision by the Government's Information Commissioner to release to the public, previously withheld secret financial documents. That said, HCRC maintains that if it takes £90K to overturn this badly-handled, ill-judged planning decision and rid Elmbridge of this eyesore of a scheme at Hampton Court, then it is money well spent.

However, it is clear that the case cannot continue without more financial assistance from supporters and residents. Keith regretfully reports:

“ the appeal depends on us raising further funding as our war chest is now depleted.”

HCRC works tirelessly to deliver funding, but more is needed.

Do we allow this huge development to go ahead, with the permanent loss of the precious heritage setting at Hampton Court Palace, enduring the traffic chaos, the impact on our local communities and increased flood risk, OR DO WE STOP IT? Please, support our efforts to oppose this development.

HCRC sees Keith’s sustained court case, the withdrawal of the Royal Star and Garter Home from the joint venture, and a recession-hit housing industry, as the perfect climate for EBC to reconsider, collaboratively, its plans for the riverside site, especially under the spotlight of 2012.

SUPPORTERS, PLEASE DIG DEEP

to help raise funds to preserve and safeguard the future of our treasured listed monument and its historic landscape.

Your most welcome contributions can be made payable and sent to the “Hampton Court Rescue Campaign”, HCRC, c/o The Lodge, 29, Palace Road, East Molesey, KT8 9DJ,

or by electronic transfer to: Hampton Court Rescue Campaign Account, HSBC Bank, 34 High Street, Walton on Thames, Surrey. KT12 1DD, Sort Code 40-45-22 Account Number 31507893

HCRC thanks you for your continuing support and generosity, and your donation is hugely appreciated.

HCRC supporters and Dr David Starkey Lament the Court Ruling

30 June 2011 e-bulletin

“I am filled with admiration for your struggle " wrote Dr David Starkey, influential Tudor historian, writer and broadcaster on the eve of Keith Garner’s appearance in the Court of Appeal.

HCRC has learned over its long 6 year battle to save Hampton Court Palace's unique historic and treasured landscape, that it is unwise to predict the outcome of planning decisions. This was borne out at the Court of Appeal last Thursday and Friday.

A whole day and a half of costly Court time was expended yet again, in an attempt to unravel the ambiguities of the response from English Heritage to the Hampton Court Station and riverside development proposals on which Elmbridge Council's Planning Officer (who recommended the scheme for approval) had so heavily relied.

With surprise and profound regret HCRC supporters heard the Judges, the Lord Justices, Pill, Toulson and Sullivan, uphold Mr Justice Ouseley's previous judgement, ruling that the case against Elmbridge be dismissed.

The case was returned to the Appeal Court last week to challenge whether Elmbridge Borough Council had, in regard to Hampton Court Palace, a listed monument, complied with its statutory duty to pay 'special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting, or any features of special architectural and historic interest' as set out in Section 66 of the 1990 Planning Act. Their Lordships recorded that there was a 'conspicuous absence' of reference to section 66 in the Officer's report, but that its guidance was implicit in the Planning Brief that framed the original proposals.

"I am disappointed and not a little surprised at the way the hearing went," Mr Garner remarked after the Hearing. "I thought our QC did very well to put his points across. But the Judges seemed to have made up their minds. Nothing Richard could say seemed to influence them in any way".

In no doubt whatsoever is Mr Garner's continuing commitment to seeing his challenge through, and HCRC understands that the next stage will be to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, on the grounds of 'public interest'.

The Appeal was the culmination of months of work by Keith Garner's legal team, Richard Buxton Assoc., of Cambridge. Facing the legal teams of both EBC and Network Rail, Richard Drabble, QC for Mr Garner, dealt confidently with the major issue of contention that the opinions of English Heritage have caused 'so much confusion'. Sadly, he was unable to convince their Lordships to overturn the decision. The public might reasonably ask but find it extremely regrettable, that English Heritage did not think it helpful to clarify its views earlier in the planning process, so that these deliberations might have been avoided.

Mr Garner is owed a huge debt of gratitude for his unerring perseverance and self sacrifice in trying to safeguard the future of Hampton Court Palace and the Molesey river scape. HCRC now waits to learn whether his leave to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court will be granted.

Finally, HCRC would like to thank supporters for their many and welcome messages of encouragement.

Open Letter to the Leader of Elmbridge Council

21 June 2011 e-bulletin

This Thursday and Friday 23-24th June, Keith Garner presses on with his legal challenge. Undeterred, he is presenting his case to the Court of Appeal in London, in a bid to overturn a previous High Court judgement dismissing his case against Elmbridge Borough Council that gave its approval to controversial plans for a massive development at Hampton Court Station, opposite the world renowned Palace.

Dr David Starkey, the influential Tudor historian, writer and broadcaster, wrote in recent correspondence to Mr Garner

“I am filled with admiration for your struggle and I wish you well at the appeal on 23-4 June, with the best of luck".

HCRC will be at the Court to support Keith for the duration of the case and would welcome the company of fellow supporters. However, if you are unable to attend, the result will be sent by e-bulletin as soon as we get the Judges' decision.

Fingers crossed.

Persistence Prevails as Keith Garner is Granted Leave to Appeal Jolly Boatman Decision

12 April 2011 e-bulletin

HCRC is very happy to relay the news that Keith's legal team has been successful in its application to appeal the High Court's decision that dismissed his legal challenge in January.

Hence, the legal case against Elmbridge Council over its approval of the highly unpopular development of the riverside site opposite Hampton Court Palace, will continue.

The case has been scheduled to be heard in the Court of Appeal on the 23rd and 24th June 2011.

HCRC would like to use this opportunity to congratulate Keith and his legal team for their dogged determination to preserve and safeguard the future of the Palace and Thames landscape, and to thank supporters for your continued encouragement.

Open Letter to the Leader of Elmbridge Council

17 February 2011

An open letter to the leader of Elmbridge Council from Brian Rusbridge CBE and Prof. Bryan Woodriff.

Private Eye Article

15 February 2011

An open letter to the leader of Elmbridge Council from Brian Rusbridge CBE and Prof. Bryan Woodriff.

Judge Delivers Ruling on the Future of Hampton Court Station Development

31st January 2011

Concluding his Judicial review at the High Court of Elmbridge’s questionable approval of plans for a development at Hampton Court, the judge, Mr Justice Ouseley has today published his long-awaited judgement.

It is with extreme disappointment that HCRC reports that the Judge has dismissed the legal challenge.

The legal case was bought against Elmbidge Borough Council by Keith Garner, a Battersea architect. He challenged its Planning Authority’s approval of Gladedale’s comprehensive redevelopment of Hampton Court Station and riverside, opposite Hampton Court Palace.

To his immense credit, Mr Garner championed this lengthy legal action at his own personal risk and HCRC supporters are immeasurably grateful for his achievements.

Please see Keith Garner’s Press statement in full: http://www.kgarch.co.uk/jblegal/press_statement_31-01-11.htm

Despite the conclusion of the legal challenge, HCRC will maintain its pressure on the Council to find a solution for the site which offers greater community benefit and preserves its historic sensitivity.

The campaigning will continue.

HCRC Poised for Judge's Ruling on Hampton Court Development

30th November 2010 e-bulletin

It has now been a tense month since the conclusion of the Judicial Review hearing in the High Court and still HCRC supporters anxiously await the result. The minute the Ruling is published, HCRC will send out an e-bulletin and this website will carry the news.

Until then, thank you for your concern and continued patience.

HCRC Holds its Breath

30th October 2010

Keith Garner’s legal challenge against Elmbridge Council’s approval of plans for the Hampton Court Station site finally got underway on Thursday morning; the 28th October 2010 at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand and closed on Friday afternoon.

The two planks of argument were whether Elmbridge had attached enough weight to the historic and heritage significance of the area that surrounds Hampton Court Palace and, whether accepted Government guidelines had been correctly adhered to that limit development on the Floodplain.

There followed two full days of legal argument, from the claimant Mr Garner’s own QC, Richard Drabble and from the two separate defence teams acting for Elmbridge Council and Network Rail.

A, as Mr Justice Ouseley has chosen to defer his decision for deliberation. Keith’s legal team will be informed as soon as the result is known and published by e-bulletin to the HCRC database and posted here on the website.

Article in the Daily Telegraph 29th October 2010

The Royal Star & Garter Withdraws from the Hampton Court Development

Press Release

THE ROYAL STAR & GARTER HOMES – HAMPTON COURT DEVELOPMENT

12 July 2010

The Chairman of The Royal Star & Garter Homes announced today that the Charity, with great regret, has decided to withdraw from the Hampton Court Station site development where it had hoped to build a new care home for disabled ex-Service men and women.

The site at East Molesey had been selected after the Charity carried out an extensive search in Richmond and the surrounding areas, and Elmbridge Borough Council passed a resolution to grant planning permission following an extra-ordinary meeting of the full Council in December 2008.

Unfortunately, despite the Council’s approval of the development over 18 months ago, opposition to the scheme has continued and it has been the subject of a Judicial Review which remains unresolved to this day. Following an endless series of delays, the Charity’s Board of Governors had hoped for greater clarity regarding an eventual outcome at the latest Administrative Court hearing in July; however, this hearing has now been delayed until the autumn by related arguments being played out in the Appeal Court.

In view of the continuing uncertainty about whether the development will be able to progress, the Board has decided, after very careful consideration, to exercise its option to withdraw from the scheme.

Chairman of the Charity, Vice Admiral Sir John Dunt, said “This was a very difficult decision which was not made lightly. We had high hopes for this site where we planned to open a much- needed new, modern care home for disabled ex-Service men and women. The delays and disruption resulting from the Judicial Review process, and the continuing uncertainty about the outcome of the planning process means that we have no certainty of when development can be brought forward on this site. This is, of course, very, very disappointing for our residents and for our staff and supporters, but I and my fellow Governors have a duty to ensure good governance of this wonderful Charity and we unanimously believe that the proper course of action for us to undertake now is to find a new site and begin building our new home as soon as possible.”

The Charity is in the process of implementing a development strategy to create three purpose- built care homes in which it can provide 21st Century state-of-the-art care in modern settings. The Charity is committed to continuing to provide the highest quality of nursing care in these new homes, and is currently developing critically needed dementia care services and some provision for young Service personnel injured in recent conflicts.

Mike Barter, Chief Executive of the Charity said, “The seemingly endless uncertainty surrounding the Hampton Court station site has become unsustainable and it would be irresponsible for us to continue holding on to this project when there is no solution in sight and every possibility that there could be further significant legal delays. This is of course a very unwelcome setback, but we are determined to progress our plans for an additional two new homes, in London and Buckinghamshire, as quickly as possible. They will emulate the great success of our award-winning Solihull Home, opened in 2008, where we are providing the best nursing and dementia care to ex-Service people in superb surroundings, as well as offering support to younger Service personnel”.

Ross Brodie, Divisional Managing Director at Gladedale, the developers of the site said, “We are of course disappointed that The Royal Star & Garter Homes have decided to withdraw from this development but we fully understand and appreciate their position, given their charitable status and the continuing delay and uncertainty. We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Charity and we wish them every success in finding a suitable site for their much needed modern new home.”

Evening Standard Reports on Latest Developments

The London Evening Standard has reported the latest development in the legal saga. Keith Garner is mounting a legal challenge to stop Glydedale developing the site, see Evening Standard article, 1 July 2010

Court Victory Means Battle Inches Forward

11 June 2010

Court victory means the legal battle against the development at Hampton Court Station inches forward.

Keith Garner’s legal challenge against Elmbridge Council inched forward in the Court of Appeal on Thursday 10th June.

Mr Garner appealed against the previous High Court ruling by Mr Justice Nichol which refused him his application for a Protective Costs Order (PCO) that would cushion him against prohibitive legal costs, estimated at £60K.

Convinced by legal argument, Appeal Court Judge, the Lord Justice Munby, overturned the previous decision, thus granting Mr Garner permission to make his application for a PCO.

With the removal of this serious legal obstacle, Garner’s fight against Elmbridge Council’s planning approval of the locally and nationally opposed Thames-side development is back on track.

The application for a PCO will be heard in due course but the Judge asked that the main Case for Judicial Review should be deferred from its hearing in July to sometime in October.

The Hampton Court Rescue Campaign has profound admiration for Keith Garner’s persistence and applauds this victory and will continue to lend him every possible support.

Keith Garner is invited to speak at MRA

Keith Garner is invited to speak at the Molesey Residents Association AGM.

Local residents will already know of the Molesey Residents Association AGM planned for this Friday, 26th March in Mole Hall, at 8.00pm.

In relation to the disputed issue of the Jolly Boatman development, the MRA has kindly extended an invitation to Keith Garner to speak briefly about his legal challenge against Elmbridge Council in the High Court.

Attending the meeting, will offer an opportunity for HCRC supporters to show him their appreciation and hear for themselves how his case is proceeding. It will also show Mr Garner how much support he has from the residents of Molesey for his heroic undertaking.

HCRC Committee hopes that you can join with them to show Keith every encouragement.

'Ordinary Joe' Decides to Fight On

‘Ordinary Joe’ decides to fight on, paving the way for the The legal challenge against Elmbridge’s deeply unpopular approval of the plans to redevelop Hampton Court Station began at the High Court last week.

The 2 day preliminary hearing, determined whether Keith Garner, the Battersea architect had sufficient ‘standing’ to continue his case and crucially, whether a Protective Costs Order (PCO) would be granted by the Court to cushion him against prohibitive costs. Mr Smith, the Claimant’s Barrister, pleaded to the Court that Mr Garner was just an ‘ordinary Joe’ taking on the combined might of the Local Authority, a national housing Developer and Network Rail.  Despite this, Mr Justice Nichol unexpectedly denied Mr Garner’s claim for a PCO.

HCRC can report that following the Judge’s ruling and in close consultation with his legal team, Mr Garner will appeal the PCO award scheduled for the end of March and proceed with his legal challenge.

So, Molesey ‘s Champion stands firm and his Case remains, however it will be the absence of a PCO that will be the weakness, so funding must be sourced.  

Professor Woodriff, HCRC Co- coordinator commented  “The battle should go on.   Adequate funds must be found.   Mr Justice Nicol's finding on PCO must be challenged on appeal”.

Mr Garner is willing to carry the case forward, but without contributions from Molesey residents his Court costs cannot possibly be met. HCRC urges residents to give the courageous Mr Garner their fullest support.

To make a donation to Mr Garner’s ‘Jolly Boatman Legal Challenge’ go to

http://www.kgarch.co.uk/jblegal/

HCRC appreciates your continued support

.

Jolly Boatman Moves to Downing Street

News Bulletin January 2010

Jolly Boatman Moves to Downing Street

Keith Garner has created an on-line petition on the 10 Downing Street website which appeals directly to the Prime Minister. With every CLICK the Jolly Boatman issue will be brought closer to an intervention by central Government.

Saving the Jolly Boatman site is of national and international interest, so please sign up and network this petition by passing it on. Every CLICK counts.

The Legal Battle Continues

The legal wrangling continues for Battersea architect, Keith Garner. He is bravely pursuing a private legal action to seek a judicial review of Elmbridge Council’s controversial decision to give the go ahead to the Jolly Boatman and Hampton Court Station redevelopment.

The case has now been reviewed by Deputy High Court Judge, George Bartlett QC and his initial considerations are now published. The Judge has identified that Elmbridge Council  ‘were required to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the setting of Hampton Court Palace’ but has ‘failed to weigh properly the relevant policies and other material considerations’, and that the Officer’s report was in error by having ‘failed to address this important issue’.

The Case is Delayed by a Technicality

However, the Judge regrettably questioned Mr  Garner’s eligibility to fight his case, observing that, although he submitted an objection to the first set of plans, stating his clear opposition to the general principle of development on the site, he had not objected to the later, redesigned scheme, thus compromising his ‘standing’.  The absence of his second, written objection has meant a delay in proceedings while this precise point is argued.

Garner adds:  “I have asked my solicitors to renew the application for judicial review so that the question of my 'standing' can be considered further.  However, I don’t think Elmbridge should be hiding behind the technicality that I haven’t been given 'standing' so far.  They shouldn’t be wasting council tax payers’ money in this way.”  

HCRC can confirm that Mr Garner has had a continuous involvement with the Jolly Boatman affair since 1995, working alongside MPs Vince Cable and Ian Taylor in his steadfast resolve to resist any development of this sensitive site. It is difficult to accept that his ‘standing’ could be called into doubt.

Please Support Keith Garner's Courageous Stand

It is clear from his efforts with the 10 Downing Street petition that he is strongly committed to proceeding with his case. Garner believes it to be not only an important community issue, which embraces the views of Historic Royal Palaces, the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign and countless other professional bodies and individuals, but also one of National interest.  HCRC is keen to assist him in his courageous endeavour and is pleased to provide a link to his website below.  Here his case can be followed in greater detail and crucially, donations or pledges made to his fighting fund to get his action off the ground.

http://www.kgarch.co.uk/jblegal/

It is customary for legal matters to take time, but HCRC will report his and other Campaign news as the Elmbridge challenge progresses.

Has Development Work Started Already?

Has Development Work Started Already?

The recent kerbside repairs at the Station alarmed some residents into believing that work had already started. But in answer to the fears locally that the bull-dozers would soon be moving in, Elmbridge Planning Dept. still has approvals to grant before a go-ahead.

This is because the final part to the Application, the Decision Notice, granted on the 16th June 2009 is very demanding. Nearly every condition therein insists on approvals being obtained in writing from the Local Planning Authority before any work commences on the site. e.g. Drainage, Water Supply, Surface Water, Contamination, Traffic and works impacting the safety of a listed building (the Bridge) to list but a few. It is understood that these approvals will not be given without extensive consultation and HCRC will be keeping a keen eye on Elmbridge Borough Council throughout.

Architect Keith Garner Initiates a Judicial Review

In addition, a 3 month period passes after the issue of a Decision Notice in which a legal challenge, a Judicial Review can be mounted. The excellent news is that with only days to spare, a Judicial Review has been lodged. This has been initiated by an architect from Battersea, Mr Keith Garner whose significant professional record, working in Building Conservation and the historic environment, includes acting as consultant to Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens.

Very concerning is the reality that a Judicial Review is an expensive business. To help with his urgent need to raise monies to fight the case, HCRC is happy to publicise the details of his fighting fund. If you would like to send him a donation or make a pledge, please see below.

Garner says “The legal challenge is potentially very expensive for me, even if the Protective Costs Order is granted. I cannot afford to keep the legal challenge going without support from members of the public.

Details of the bank account I have set up to fund the legal challenge are as follows:

Bank:   Lloyds Bank Ltd, 33 King's Road, London SW3 4LX
Account:   Jolly Boatman Legal Challenge
Sort code:   30-64-72
Account: 18136568

This account is solely for the purpose of paying my solicitors Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law, and the barrister David Smith of Landmark Chambers. I have nothing personal to gain from bringing this legal challenge, which I believe is in the public interest”.

See www.kgarch.co.uk/jblegal/

HCRC eagerly awaits the imminent response from Elmbridge to the premise that the Gladedale development breeches Government guidelines on Flooding and Heritage. It will be interesting to see how Elmbridge replies since, through the long history of this Planning decision, HCRC has been repeatedly fobbed off on these and other equally critical issues.

Vital Legal Documents Not Signed

Surrey Advertiser Points Out Vital Legal Documents Not Signed

The Surrey Advertiser published an article on the 15 May pointing out that "a vital legal agreement between the developers of the Jolly Boatman site and the council remains unsigned just weeks before the six-month deadline". We have learned that the project is not being conducted openly and transparently as Elmbridge officials have refused Councillor's requests to access the details of the final contract. We have therefore issued the following press release.

Press release 25th May 2009: Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

Transparency in Local Government?

Councillors helpless

The Gladedale/Network Rail development at Hampton Court Station, the final act plays out behind closed doors.

Attached to the provisional 18th Dec 08 approval given for the controversial redevelopment of the Jolly Boatman site at Hampton Court, Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) imposed a 6 month time-limitation for the signing-off of the contract binding the developer’s financial obligations. With 3 weeks remaining HCRC is told that the negotiations surrounding the S106, as it is known, are at a final stage, beyond which full planning permission for the multi-million pound scheme will be granted.

HCRC has learned however that the EBC Officers, with delegated powers to sign off the S106, have repeatedly refused Councillors’ requests to access the details of the final contract. According to EBC’s legal dept., the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to this material and its contents will not be revealed to Members until after the contract is signed.

“This is the most dangerous case of the tail wagging the dog.” said HCRC Co-chair, Brian Rusbridge “This is possibly the largest, most complicated and historically sensitive development that Elmbridge will be involved with and Councillors must insist that power and responsibility ultimately rests with elected members and not their paid officials”

The Officer’s significant and irreversible decision is final. Concerns from Councillors, HCRC and the wider public remain unresolved.

  • The arbitrary sum of £300,000 proposed in the original application falls woefully short of the estimated real costs of such a radical scheme and that ultimately the Elmbridge rate-payer would bear the burden of the shortfall. Moreover, without an opportunity for adequate scrutiny of the developer’s financial Viability Statement, the Councillors have, once again, had to rely on the Officer’s report. In the subsequent knowledge that the heads of Gladedale Group Limited, Remo Dipri and son John have stepped down from the Company, fears remain.
  • The S106 cannot be ratified until the full permission for disposal/sale of railway land has been granted by the Government’s licensing authority, the Office of Rail Regulation, at present outstanding.

"Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has refused to call a public inquiry, saying this is a matter which can be decided locally. This is an abdication of responsibility worthy of Pontius Pilate."

Marcus Binney
Times Online (full article)

Councillors told HCRC that EBC procedure dictates that in the event that the S106 is not signed by 18 June, a new time limit would need approval by full Council. For this reason, EBC Planning officers might, for expediency, bow to pressure from the commercially interested parties and head -off comments or constructive input from Councillors that might impair the ability to sign off the S106 within the present deadline.

“The final decision must be in the hands of the elected members whose job it is to serve the community.” Says Brian Rusbridge.

Letter to the Surrey Advertiser

The following letter was sent to the Surrey Advertiser in response to the letter from the Esher and Walton MP Ian Taylor. On 15 June the Surrey Advertiser reported that Mr. Taylor is to stand down at the next election.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR SURREY ADVERTISER

On 5 June the Surrey Advertiser published a letter from Ian Taylor MP claiming that a letter in the previous issue, had misrepresented his role in the long running battle over the future of the Hampton Court Station/Jolly Boatman site, alleging that its facts were wrong. We can find no fault with it. It was a masterly exposition of the critical position that Elmbridge Council now finds itself.

For over twenty years Hampton Court Station has been allowed to fall into disrepair and the land in front, bordering the Thames, has remained a rubbish tip – a national disgrace. Those seeking commercially to exploit this site only seek to hoodwink the community into believing that “Anything is better than this”. In fact the owners of the railway site have a duty to maintain the station in first-class order and should have been compelled to do so. (Now after all this time they have acted) but GladeDale, the Developers, should have been forced to keep their land facing Hampton Court Palace in good order. Did we ever hear Ian Taylor criticizing the authorities for their failure to act?

Ian Taylor did not form the Portcullis Group. In 2000, Community representatives, on both sides of the Thames met Vince Cable MP., and Ian Taylor with other local and national Authorities and with Hampton Court Palace to find a solution. We, the signatories to this letter were the instigators. We were persuaded by Ian Taylor not to go to the Press, but to allow him to liaise with Elmbridge Planning Officers, who would conduct private meetings with potential developers. From that time onwards it has all been behind closed doors, with the final result of the Planning Approval in December 2008 being given for a monstrous development to cover the whole site.

Elmbridge Planning Officers are now in the final stages of signing agreements to allow the whole disastrous scheme to go ahead. They will not disclose the contents of the agreements, even to Elmbridge Councillors and certainly not to the community – a major manipulation of the democratic process. The Hampton Court Rescue Campaign has consistently pressed for the whole of the complex procedure to be in the public domain. When will Elmbridge Council wake up? It is now rapidly moving towards the biggest disaster in its history with implications for generations to come. We must find a way to stop it in its tracks then all of us can sit together to identify what is right for the future of the Hampton Court/Jolly Boatman site – not what is in the commercial interests of developers.

So, where do you stand on this Mr. Taylor? We acknowledge your skill in sitting astride the fence but this is not an option. You cannot claim to be “Against the development in principle” whilst at the same time supporting the commercial aspirations of the developers to the extent of writing to Hazel Blears, the Sec. of State for Communities and Local Government, as you did, advising her not to call it in for a Public Inquiry. This is a highly critical site with both national and local implications. It should not be left to the hole-in-the–wall activities of Elmbridge Planning Officers.

Please Mr. Taylor, don’t refer disparagingly to the views of “some local residents”. We estimate that over 5,000 people, both locally and throughout the UK have signed petitions and have written a great many letters, many from highly qualified people, opposing this disastrous development. So, Mr. Taylor, don’t fob the residents off with half truths; get your facts right and tell all of us where you now stand.

Brian J. Rusbridge CBE. Joint Chairman, Hampton Court Rescue Campaign
Prof. Bryan Woodriff Joint Chairman, Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

 

HAVE YOUR SAY

IMPORTANT: ANY CORRESPONDENCE MUST CARRY THE PLANNING REFERENCE NUMBER (2012/2362) OR YOUR MESSAGE WILL NOT BE COUNTED.

Email your comments to Laura Davies, Senior Planning Officer

tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk

or by post to Elmbridge Borough Council, Civic Centre, High Street, Esher, KT10 9SD

You can send a direct message by clicking

Elmbridge Application Enquiry

Key in application reference: 2012/2362 and click 'Search', then the click 'Submit Comment' at the base of the page. Your message will be published in ‘view attachments’.

PRIVATE EYE 's exposé of this "international scandal"
2011 Article
2012 Article
2013 Article

David Starkey
Britain’s leading Tudor historian

“Hampton Court is one of the three most important palace complexes to have survived in Europe. It is surrounded by a unique and magical landscape. Anything that gratuitously damages it isn’t a national scandal but an international scandal.”

Chris Sumner, Chair of London Parks and Garden Trust has identified the Jolly Boatman as a site for concern.

He writes " The unwanted but regrettably approved riverside redevelopment with its dull neo-Georgian motel facing Hampton Court has not happened and seems increasingly unlikely to happen, and the developers have allowed the site to become an eyesore, cynically refusing offers from Historic Royal Palaces to landscape the site pending any development. Next year, if the predictions are to be believed, the eyes of the world will be on London and the Olympics - so what will the Japanese, Americans, Russians, whoever, who find their way from Stratford to Hampton Court think when they leave the station (after a slow, desultory and expensive journey from Waterloo) and are faced with a disgraceful rubbish tip of broken concrete and discarded food wrappers and tins and bottles? They will think that the developers deserve a boot up the backside and that the local planning authority needs to tell them to show some civic pride."

Griff Rhys Jones
call to battle to save Britain's natural beauty