Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

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More information is on the developer's website at http://www.hamptoncourtconsultation.co.uk/

See our Twitter page to follow the latest disccusion at https://twitter.com/HCRCMary

e-bulletin: December 2018: The Shape of Things to Come

In June, Alexpo's public exhibition gave us an opportunity to see the anticipated new plans for Hampton Court Station and the riverside 'Boatman' site. Visitors were encouraged to make comments and believed that their views would be taken into account. We understood from the Alexpo team that a formal Planning Application would be worked-up and lodged in Autumn, 2018.

Alexpo's new plans were presented as having improved upon Gladedale's resoundingly criticised 2008 permitted scheme. Alexpo engaged with HCRC's primary objective to remove the Hotel from the riverside, thereby maintaining the 'Boatman' site as a Thames-side open space. With this shared aspiration, both HCRC and Historic Royal Palaces genuinely welcomed Alexpo's appreciation of the area being of outstanding national and European importance, to be treated with sensitivity.

However, whilst agreeing to relocate the Hotel, Alexpo has also maximised the scope of development on the remainder of the Station site, which is regrettable. HCRC has had discussions with all the key players over the summer and has thoroughly explored some tricky features that have emerged within the new scheme. Standing above all others, three key issues pose the most serious concerns: there will be too few car parking spaces, the new road layout will increase congestion and the buildings have increased in height and density.

Too few car parking spaces.

Today, the capacity of the Station Car Park offers 205 spaces for rail-users and visitors. Alexpo's multi-use development introduces 97 new homes, an 84 bedroom Hotel, an unspecified number of leisure/commercial units onto the Station site – and a supermarket. For all of these, Alexpo will offer a total of 207 parking spaces – only 2 extra spaces. (Gladedale's permitted scheme of 2008, with fewer flats and a smaller Hotel, provided 287 spaces)

HCRC
contends that Alexpo's provision of only 2 additional parking spaces that must accommodate the demands of the existing shared-use, plus the development’s new resident and Hotel population - is completely unacceptable.

Commuters using Molesey's Streets for free-parking have increased year-on-year. Further displacement of cars due to Alexpo’s inadequate future parking provision at the Station, will significantly add to this problem and cause more local frustration and inconvenience. Parking restrictions (at the very least) must be considered.

Increased congestion

HCRC and other resident groups share a widely held aspiration to improve road-safety and transport efficiency at this very complex junction at Hampton Court Station. The 2008 road plans, originally devised by Watermans, were adopted again as part of the Alexpo scheme and these same plans were shown to us at the exhibition for re-examination. Joining many others, HCRC's highly critical response to these flawed Waterman plans was repeated for the Alexpo scheme.

Perhaps in the light of negative responses, fresh design changes to the Highway-layout have emerged over the summer. The new proposals will include the wholesale installation of sequenced Traffic Signalling. Alexpo's own detailed layouts are not available, but the changes have been explained to us in direct discussions with the Alexpo team, who have given assurances that Surrey Highways has agreed to these plans in principle. HCRC however, believes that the new arrangement is very troubling.

The illustration below is Alexpo's latest published plan (see www.hamptoncourtconsultation.co.uk). The plan is of extremely low visual quality and HCRC has therefore taken the liberty to overlay the signals, street names and landmarks etc., simply to help orientate the picture and aid clarity.

Marked up traffic plan Jolly Boatman

There are many elements of the amended Highway layout that must be professionally modelled and independently tested. It is obvious that the new access to/from the Station Car Park will add to the already slow and congested traffic-flow, specifically a permitted right-turn-exit onto the Bridge. This one manoeuvre imposes the installation of traffic-signals on the Grade 2 listed Lutyens Bridge. These will be sequenced and connected with new signalling at Riverbank, Creek Road, the main Trunk Road and the Station. Furthermore, and not shown on Alexpo's screen-sized drawing, is a proposed 'yellow-box' junction placed outside the Petrol Station to hold-back traffic for Buses leaving the Station. This will undoubtedly stall the progress of traffic on the main road.

Local residents who know the Hampton Court Bridge hub will easily grasp the impact of Alexpo's new proposals. A series of Traffic-lights will inevitably slow-up the busy bottle-neck and further impact traffic-flow, congestion and air-pollution at the Bridge Junction and on the roads beyond. Waterman's plan is without merit and uses 'a sledgehammer to crack a nut'.

When the Planning Application is finally tabled, HCRC will be submitting its full and comprehensive observations. We assume that the neighbouring Boroughs of Richmond, Spelthorne and Kingston will be responding to the consultation with similar concerns.

Increased Height

Addressing the issues laid out above will be challenging enough, but HCRC must add the increased height of Alexpo's new proposals to this list of concerns.

The impact on Hampton Court Palace from the height and density of any development have featured strongly in the countless objections to the 2008 scheme. So it is very alarming to report that the roof-line of Alexpo's development will be still higher than the uppermost top-line of the 2008 plans.

Height comparison Jolly Boatman

HCRC has fought for over a decade to preserve the setting of the Palace and to retain the architectural scale of the Victorian Station. It has always been difficult to visualise the imposition of the 2008 scheme on the Station buildings and more now that Alexpo will exceed the permitted scheme in height/density. Alexpo's promotional material (see www.hamptoncourtconsultation.co.uk) does not show any relevant elevations, excepting the Gladedale/Alexpo comparison, shown above. However, material to the guidance in Elmbridge's Planning Policy is the Railways Act governing Hampton Court Station's height constraints. HCRC and other local groups will be exploring the application in this context.

HCRC is prepared and supporters await the formal submission of Alexpo's Planning Application to Elmbridge’s Planning Authority. As we go forward, we would like to again thank; Historic Royal Palaces, our Borough and Ward Councillors, the Molesey Residents Assoc. and many other local interest groups who accord with the delivery of a fitting development for Hampton Court Station, the Thames riverside and Hampton Court Palace. Our Committee is profoundly grateful for their time and helpful collaboration.

We invite your comments by email, or on Twitter @HCRCMary https://twitter.com/HCRCMary

e-bulletin: August 24th 2018: HCRC issues formal response to Alexpo's new plans for Hampton Court Station

Alexpro impression Hampton Court Station

In June, Alexpo offered the HCRC Committee the opportunity to comment on its brand new plans for the redevelopment of Hampton Court Station and 'Boatman' sites. We widely circulated our initial assessment at the time, but have since been able to test the proposals more carefully and submit our proper response.

In addition, HCRC has had discussions with the Elmbridge Council Leader, SCC and Ward Councillors to get perspective of the new development's impact on community issues. Combining the views of interest groups with feedback from residents and supporters we are now able to circulate HCRC's formal, wide-ranging response to the proposals.

HCRC's consultation response is far-reaching and comprehensive and evaluates the many elements of the plans in depth, for example:

  • Inadequate Station Car Parking
  • Impact of increased height and over-development
  • Pedestrian/vehicular conflict on Cigarette Island Lane and new Highway layout
  • Increased obstruction to the cross-river Palace views

Consulting with the relevant groups and authorities, Alexpo expects to table its planning application in the Autumn. HCRC is pleased to have been allowed to make a meaningful contribution to this process.

You can read the document in full here and once again we invite your comments by email, or on Twitter @HCRCMary https://twitter.com/HCRCMary

e-update 3rd July 2018: HAMPTON COURT RESCUE CAMPAIGN TALKS TO THE BBC

If you were able to go along to the Public Exhibition at the Motor Yacht Club, then you had an opportunity to discuss the new proposals and to record your comments. Over 500 concerned residents and interested parties attended the presentation but we know that for some supporters, the dates of the consultations were inconvenient.

Those who could not attend in person may find today's BBC Radio's interview with HCRC helpful (attached below) The coverage was broadcast live from Hampton Court Palace and a Facebook-live-page was created to accompany the piece. To see more, open https://www.facebook.com/BBCSurrey/videos/10156118907455412/

Since our last bulletin, the Developer has also published the new proposals for the regeneration of Hampton Court Station and the 'Boatman' site on-line at

https://www.hamptoncourtconsultation.co.uk/exhibitions

Car parking numbers and new Highway-signalling in particular, appear to have exercised a good number of contributors already, but there will be other issues which you believe are equally important.

Alexpo invites your comments privately through its website (above) but there is great value in HCRC getting to know your views too, as this will help inform our approach in the months ahead.

HCRC hopes that everyone will have a say before Alexpo's final plans are put before the Planning Dept. in the Autumn. We would therefore be very grateful to hear your opinion on this project, and a copy returned to us using this email address would be much appreciated.

To those who have already corresponded with us, please accept our sincerest thanks for your carefully considered comments and for your kind wishes of support.

On behalf of everyone at HCRC, thank you for your continued interest.

Mary Brook

Tweet @HCRCMary

e-bulletin 22nd June: HAMPTON COURT RESCUE CAMPAIGN

e-bulletin: 22nd June

HAMPTON COURT RESCUE CAMPAIGN

HCRC previews the new proposals for Hampton Court Station and the 'Boatman' sites.

On Wednesday, the HCRC Committee was invited to attend a special preview for interested parties of the new development proposals for Hampton Court Station and the 'Jolly Boatman' sites. The consultations aimed to provide the developer with preliminary feedback on the new scheme prior to a full planning application in the autumn.

The public consultations were held at the Thames Motor Yacht Club at Hampton Court on 21st-22nd June and allowed us the opportunity to outline our initial impressions of the new proposals. We hope you were able to attend to see and discuss the new proposals in person but if not, to leave your comments on the developer's website:

https://www.hamptoncourtconsultation.co.uk

HCRC has welcomed the open and constructive dialogue with the developer and believes these proposals could be a step forward from the ruination that Gladedale's 2008 planning consent would have caused to Molesey, its heritage and the setting of Hampton Court Palace.

The new proposals will include 97 apartments, retail, an 84 bedroom Hotel situated along Hampton Court Way and a 205 space car park to replace the existing 204 space car park. The layout of the development broadly aligns with the approved 2008 scheme, minus the Hotel on the Jolly Boatman site.

New Scheme Elements

  • The majority of the 'Boatman' site is public open space, this is a significant step forward from the 2008 scheme.
  • The 2008 scheme layout has been superseded by a series of more evenly spaced apartment blocks. The new design now includes an extended gable-end to the northernmost block, closest to the Thames. Additional residential apartments replace the 2008 scheme's Care Home.
  • The 2008 scheme's underground car park has been replaced with an under-croft arrangement with one and a half levels of parking, with entry and exit in close proximity to Hampton Court Bridge.

HCRC comments are as follows:

Extended Gable onto Jolly Boatman Site

The most significant improvement on the 2008 plans is the removal of the Hotel from the 'Boatman' site. We would however encourage Alexpo to explore options which reduce the extent to which the new gable projects onto the northernmost part of the Boatman site. This could potentially include reducing the size of the gable and/or, small reductions in the gaps between the apartment blocks. This would bring the new building roughly in-line with the existing Station building and would significantly enhance the setting of Hampton Court Palace. Importantly, it would achieve one of HCRC's core objectives - to provide a seamless connection between the Boatman site and Cigarette Island Park.

Station Car Parking

HCRC remains concerned with the provision of parking in and around Molesey. The existing Station car park includes some 204 spaces whereas the proposed development will provide 205 spaces. We are aware that the car park is not only used by rail commuters but extensively by tourists in the summer months, noting the significant year-on-year increase in visitor numbers to Hampton Court Palace which have doubled to 1 million since the 2008 scheme was approved. We also need to consider the forthcoming Crossrail2 project which will generate increased demand for parking - this is yet to be specified by the Rail Operators.

The need for spaces can draw on the decision by the Planning Inspector in the 2008/1600 scheme's 'Travel Plan'. This required significant numbers of bicycle parking spaces and 287 car park spaces, of which 238 should be set aside for the public. HCRC's view is that the developer and Elmbridge Council cannot ignore the Planning Inspector's considered and very detailed decision and in addition, should take account of the increased number of apartments and the larger Hotel introduced into the proposed scheme.

We have always maintained that any increase in demand for car parking must not be allowed to impact the residential streets of East Molesey where parking is already at breaking point.

(NB. The temporary safety-barriers across the entrance to the current car park; designed to separate pedestrians, cars and buses, has led to the car park being under-utilised. Thus the existing car-park data is unlikely to be representative of actual demand).

Access Road and Pedestrian Crossing

Given the significant and growing number of visitors to Hampton Court Palace, pedestrian safety at the Station should be at the forefront of this scheme.

The new car park will be accessed just south of Hampton Court Bridge, taking vehicles across the 'Boatman' site with a pedestrian crossing located in very close proximity to and parallel with the highway. The first section of the car park access will adopt the existing Cigarette Island Park Access Road presently being used for occasional grounds maintenance.

The developer is proposing a signalled crossing to manage the conflict between cars and pedestrians which appears to be based on an expectation of relatively few vehicle movements – roughly one per minute at peak time. However, the majority of pedestrians leaving the trains at Hampton Court Station move towards Hampton Court Palace in waves, grouped together. Our view is that motorists turning sharp left from Hampton Court Bridge will have limited visibility and insufficient space and time to avoid pedestrians. We believe, that many visitors will ignore the signals at this location, creating a serious conflict with cars. HCRC encourages the developer to explore alternative road and pedestrian arrangements to minimise this conflict and increase visibility.

The Riverbank

HCRC maintains its key objective to protect the unique setting of Hampton Court Palace and the Thames corridor as an open, riverside space for all to enjoy. We would therefore prefer 'soft edge' landscaping on the Molesey-side embankment and landing-stage, with the removal of the current Access Road along the riverbank.

Impact of Construction

The construction project could take three years (to be confirmed) and during that time the Station car park will be more or less unavailable with very restricted parking. We urge the developer and Elmbridge Council to explore all realistic options to reduce the build-time and provide substantive, temporary parking during construction. HCRC will continue to work with both Elmbridge Council and the developers to find a solution to reduce the impact of the project on surrounding roads.

In Summary:

  • In principal the proposed scheme appears to be a significant step forward.
  • We will encourage the developer to increase the number of available parking spaces to cater for; rail commuters, casual visitors to the area, tourists to Hampton Court Palace, occupants of the proposed Hotel and apartments, and retail customers.
  • Our aim is to reduce the impact of the development on the setting of Hampton Court Palace and East Molesey and we believe there is scope to improve the current proposals and to reduce the bulk and mass of the buildings that surround the historic Station buildings.
  • The proposed scheme does not deal adequately with pedestrian safety and in its present form seems unacceptable. We would encourage the developer to explore alternatives that will deliver a safer Highway and road layout.
  • We applaud the concept that the Boatman site will be landscaped and maintained in perpetuity as a public open space and we encourage every possible effort to maximise the quantity and quality of the public open space. This objective is at the centre of HCRC's foundation in 2006 and it will be a significant victory for Molesey, the Palace and for our local heritage if this can be delivered.

To realistically assess this scheme we recommend that the developer provides vertical elevations of the scheme from the river Thames etc., together with realistic computer-generated renders and impressions of the key vistas. We understand that detailed drawings will be published online to enable all parties to assess the scheme. We will make them available to you as soon as we are able, following which HCRC will provide a formal response to the developer and interested parties.

After years of the 'Boatman' being boarded up, we hope that the public exhibition will have offered you a chance to express your views. For HCRC it would be very helpful to have your feedback, so please return your comments to us, or find us on Twitter @HCRCMary

With our thanks for your continued interest and your views will be much appreciated.

New Plans for Hampton Court Station and the Jolly Boatman Site

The public has been invited to an exhibition of new plans for the site on Thursday 21 June, when you can drop in anytime between 2:30pm and 8:00pm and Friday 22 June when you can drop in anytime between 10:00am and 2:00pm. Both sessions of the exhibition will be held at the Thames Motor Yacht Club, The Green, Hampton Court, Surrey KT8 9BW.

More information can be found on the developer's website at http://www.hamptoncourtconsultation.co.uk/