In defense of the decision to refuse planning permission for the Hampton Court Station redevelopment scheme, Elmbridge's legal Counsel Dr Ashley Bowes delivered his eloquent summing-up at the close of Alexpo's appeal hearing. The recording can be watched here in full.
Proposed development - view across Cigarette Island to the Railway Station
e-bulletin 20th July 2022 - DEEP SENSE OF BETRAYAL FOLLOWS APPEAL DECISION
The battle over the controversial Hampton Court Station redevelopment has
lasted for over three decades. Yet despite contributions from professionals,
interested parties, local groups and the public, the Government's Planning
Inspector handed down his decision with indecent haste just two weeks after the
appeal hearings closed. Needless to say, HCRC is busy looking into the options
available to challenge his singular judgement.
Until there is more we can share, catch up with a recording of yesterday
morning's BBC interview with our champion Andrew Roberts. Simply click on the link -
....and please may we use this opportunity to send thanks for the many messages of
support that were returned after our last e-bulletin. We are very grateful for your
feedback and warm wishes and will work to send individual replies shortly.
e-bulletin URGENT UPDATE 12th July 2022 - DISBELIEF AS ALEXPO WINS ITS HAMPTON COURT
STATION PLANNING APPEAL!
We expected to wait 1-2 months for the Planning Inspector's judgement
and are utterly shocked that his appeal decision was announced to
interested parties late on Friday afternoon.
For urgency we have broadcast the news on social-media, expecting
ElmbridgeBC to publish in due course, but please see a forward copy below.
In the coming days we will be reviewing this disturbing decision and consulting
with other interested parties with a view to our next actions,
in the meantime we'd be grateful for your own feedback.
The Government Planning Inspector has concluded the six days of hearings
for Alexpo's Hampton Court Station/Boatman appeal and is expected to
return his decision in about eight weeks.
Elmbridge firmly and thoroughly defended its refusal to grant permission
for the Station redevelopment project. Dr Bowes (Cornerstone Barristers)
Elmbridge's impressive legal Counsel made a meticulous supporting case that
over-arched EBC's senior Planning Officer's appearance and decision. Jason
Clemons Director/Head of Heritage and Townscape at Savills also made a
convincing case on Elmbridge's behalf.
Remembered for his historic Judicial Review of Gladedale's 2008 scheme
in the High Court, the Rule 6 party Keith Garner introduced his own
expert witnesses. Heritage landscape authority Dr Sarah Rutherford for The
Gardens Trust and Paul Velluet, Chartered Heritage & Conservation Chartered
Architect each made their case. Helpful for his 3D visualisations, Mike
Spence offered hitherto unseen imaging, calibrated using his specialist high Res.
technology to superimpose the scheme into the Palace landscape. His important
observations disputed Alexpo's promotional illustrations. Above (courtesy of MSE)
are just two examples of his evidence - the 'before and after' on the
recognisable Station approach.
Another Rule 6 party, HCRC's champion Andrew Roberts represented those issues
best understood by Elmbridge residents ie. Parking, Hampton Court Way
pinch-point, Flooding, Viability and public-space.
Time was spent challenging whether the extant (approved Gladedale) scheme was
deliverable. Alexpo had repeatedly used this project as the fall-back
should the Appeal be denied. The *ORR and others have generally accepted
that the 2008 scheme could not be considered viable and is unlikely to
surface again as a realistic option.
Draft Local Plan consultation
In the background of the hearings, the Elmbridge Local Plan had identified the
Boatman/Station sites to provide 97 units of future housing in the Borough.
This seemed incoherent given an appeal to overturn EBC's refusal was about to get
underway. However, in a very timely Committee meeting on the eve of the start
of the case, it was recommended that the site be removed from the listed
allocation for development (LP Chap. 9). It is a great relief that the
latest June revision omits the sites. However this option is open to
customary public consultation. So it's important to give support to the
Councillors' decision that will safeguard the Boatman against speculative
development into the future. The link below allows you to endorse this significant
proposal and your views would certainly be appreciated.
The S106 Agreement is the financial undertaking that binds the scheme's
joint-venture parties. In this instance ratification is required from -
Elmbridge Boro Council, Surrey County Council, Network Rail Infrastructure
Ltd and Alexpo (I.O.M.) Ltd. It was hoped that the signed document would
reveal further details about the mystery offshore developer, but only a proxy
Director for a Douglas-based Trust was the signatory.
Audio/Zoom recordings have been made available here
Finally, for those who are interested to study all material from the 6 days
of the Appeal, Elmbridge has lodged all Case documents and MSE
images in a specially dedicated library. There are also audio/ Zoom
recordings from each of the hearing days, culminating in both sides
summing-up on Friday 24th June.
e-bulletin: 1 March 2022 - WHAT'S NEXT? ALEXPO APPEALS EBC's DECISION TO REFUSE
HAMPTON COURT STATION & 'BOATMAN' DEVELOPMENT
Elmbridge Council refused planning permission for
the Jolly Boatman and Hampton Court Station Revelopment,
see Decision Notice
for the reasons.
The developer, Alexpo Ltd, has appealed to the Government's
Planning Inspector and this is
Alexpo's Appeal and
this is our response.
Elmbridge has been sending out notices to addresses across
Surrey and beyond explaining the process involved in Alexpo's
newly announced planning appeals. HCRC hopes to be helpful
if you are considering playing your part.
The central plank of Alexpo's grounds to appeal Elmbridge's
planning refusal, is the common and overused proposition that
any perceived harm to the heritage and historic setting of
Hampton Court Palace and riverside would be outweighed by
the benefits of the wider scheme. HCRC is certain that
Alexpo deserves to be subjected to many and various
challenges on this premise and below we outline how
you can make a direct or an indirect representation.
In short, the Government's nominated Planning Inspector
will be hearing two appeals - the all important Hampton Court
Station & 'Boatman' appeal, No: APP/K3605/W/22/3291461 and its
linked application for temporary car-parking on Cigarette Island
Park - appeal No: APP/K3605/W/22/3290981
Please see the dates that the Planning Inspector has
scheduled for both appeals, noting the important
deadline for all representations is 16th March 2022.
Appeal dates schedule
COMMENT? HOW TO -
For those wishing to comment on the case in writing,
your contribution should reach the Inspector by 16th March,
ensuring that your correspondence must quote the appeal references.
or - without access to the internet, you can post to
Elizabeth Humphrey, The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3J Kite Wing,
Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN
IF YOU WISH TO TAKE PART IN THE APPEAL -
If your local group or national organisation wishes
to actively participate, you can opt to use the 'RULE 6' option.
This offers the opportunity to formally present your case
to the Inspector in person which will allow for the
examination of evidence developed on both sides.
Please click open the link to a short video
which clearly explains Rule 6
Having decided to proceed with the Rule 6,
it is recommended that you notify the Inspectorate
as soon as possible.
Although the date is not currently showing on the
Date Schedule above, your case will be initially
aired at a virtual pre-hearing, provisionally
planned for the 24th March.
ALEXPO'S GROUNDS FOR APPEAL
This is the full published grounds of Alexpo's Defence
of its case for
appeal. The arguments raised are wide-ranging,
from National Planning Policies to the effects
on the local day-to-day. Broadly, Alexpo's
argument to the Inspector is that
'the good outweighs the harm'. This might be a
ploy that has worked successfully in other
locations in the UK, but it is not justifiable
here in such a significant riverside
setting of Hampton Court.
Followers will know that since the planning
application surfaced in 2018, HCRC has
carefully explored and tested the developer's
application and we have written extensively
in previous bulletins to challenge the effects of
Alexpo's proposals. HCRC would be able to
counter any and all 'improvements' that Alexpo's
development claims to provide.
HCRC solidly stands by the view that the unique
vistas and historic setting of the Palace
and the Victorian Railway Station will be
sacrificed for a list of frankly incoherent
claims of wider social and infrastructure
benefits. This is difficult to square
since the failure to provide adequate
Affordable Housing is just one of the
reasons for Elmbridge's refusal.
Elmbridge's 'Decision Notice'
explains its primary reasons for refusal.
It identifies the excesses of the
imposing size, over-massing and scale of
the scheme. In such a historically
sensitive area, these observations are
major considerations and have clearly
led to the refusal of planning permission.
HCRC hopes that Alexpo's appeal will
generate your response, given the impact
of the development on the Hampton Court and
Thames environment and that you will
share in our efforts to convince the
Planning Inspector that the appeal
should not be successful.
Finally, we must repeat - 16th March 2022
is the first important date.
If HCRC can offer any advice or be
of further assistance, please just get in touch.
e-bulletin: 15th July 2021 - PLANNING COMMITTEE DELIVERS AN EMPHATIC REJECTION OF HAMPTON COURT
HCRC is overjoyed and very relieved to advise supporters that
on Tuesday night Elmbridge Planning Committee delivered an almost unanimous
refusal of Alexpo IOM Ltd.'s application for the redevelopment of Hampton Court
Station and the 'Boatman' site.
In spite of Covid restrictions, the meeting was live-streamed in a WebCast,
which offered an opportunity for it to be viewed to a wide audience, and not
only by local residents. All the issues and concerns mentioned in previous
bulletins were carefully explored by our Councillors, posing their questions to
spokesmen from both sides of the debate.
Adrian Phillips represented Historic Royal Palaces, making the case against
development on the opposite side of the Thames from the historic Palace. The
applicant's agent James Owens, acted to promote the scheme for Alexpo IOM Ltd.
With their local knowledge and proximity to the development site, Molesey and
Thames Ditton Councillors made very convincing arguments. However, of the
Committee's 23 members from across Elmbridge, 21 Councillors agreed with the
Planning Officer's recommendation to refuse granting the application � the
remaining 2 abstained.
To know more about your Ward Councillor's deliberations and decision, just
click open the link and watch from Agenda item 4.
Furthermore, HCRC's Andrew Roberts was interviewed by BBC
Radio after the meeting to gauge campaigners' reaction to the decision and our
hopes for the future of the site. The recording can speak more clearly than this
bulletin and you can listen here from 1.34.50 on the time/slider -
As Andrew explains in his broadcast HCRC will be considering
next steps, but clearly Elmbridge's important decision has opened the gate on
a better future for the Station and the Boatman.
Another update will follow, when we can assess Alexpo's response to its
scheme being thrown out, but just now we'd like to use this bulletin to thank
supporters for your constancy and encouragement.
e-bulletin: 5th July 2021 - PLANNING COMMITTEE DATE IS
After two and a half years Alexpo's plans for the comprehensive redevelopment of Hampton Court
Station and Jolly Boatman site will finally be presented to the Elmbridge Planning
- on TUESDAY 13th JULY 2021 at 5pm
Seeming to be unreasonably short notice, Officers have posted a hastily arranged
hearing, scheduled to be screened next week in a WebCast. This emerges as the last
available opportunity to convene Councillors using a screened format that avoids the
complications of direct engagement with the public. A surprise? yes - but there is a
good reason to be optimistic!
On Tuesday evening 23 Councillors will decide the future of this monstrous scheme, but
the pre-release of the Planning Officer's report delivers campaigners and opponents some
very encouraging news.
Her report makes the recommendation that the Application should be refused.
The published report advising the Committee can be found in full using this link, with
the Station Application featured at Item 4 -
Only two Elmbridge Councillors of the 23 voting members represent the Ward at the
centre of the Application site. However, over the years public opposition has come from
all over Elmbridge, the UK and abroad. Fortunately the WebCast allows the public access
to view the progress of the meeting virtually. But to ensure you can watch the broadcast
live - please don't forget to register your interest here asap -
We hope you'll join with us to witness this controversial determination.
Our thanks for your continued support
e-bulletin: 23rd May 2021 - HISTORIC ROYAL PALACE ISSUES A STRONG OBJECTION TO
HAMPTON COURT STATION PLANS
HCRC is very pleased that Historic Royal Palaces, the Charity that
looks after Hampton Court Palace; the Tower of London, Kensington Palace and other
incalculable heritage treasures has powerfully responded to the consultation over the
redevelopment proposals for Hampton Court Station 'Boatman' site, writing �we strongly
object to the application�.
Probably the longest-running and most controversial planning application in Elmbridge's
history, the monstrous Station scheme has attracted massive opposition. HRP's objection
alone carries unequalled significance and influence, both locally and nationally.
Furthermore, the Environment Agency has repeated its opposition on Flooding grounds for
the 6th time, and the august 'Gardens Trust' has fiercely criticised the loss of
historic views and settings.
e-bulletin: 22nd April 2021 - HAMPTON COURT STATION REDEVELOPMENT - IT'S THE
After 3 and a half years, probably Elmbridge's longest running and most controversial
Planning Application is reaching its closing stages. Last week, Elmbridge's Planning
Dept. sent out letters to households and interest groups to consult on final amendments
to the Hampton Court Railway Station and 'Boatman' scheme that the developer Alexpo has
The Planning Officer's 21 day consultation will end on Thursday 6th May, after which
she will draft her report to present to Councillors, expected to meet in Committee in
The amendments include updates on Air Quality; Traffic Signalling, Car Parking, an
addendum to the Visual Impact Assessment and to the Flood Risk Assessment that attempts
to overcome the objections of the Environment Agency. However, they do not materially
affect the built elements of the scheme in any way. The oversized scale of the scheme,
its height and density compressed onto the Station and Boatman sites, are sadly
These last minute submissions are Alexpo's desperate attempt to press through its
application. Notwithstanding, there are a large number of important planning and
financial issues outstanding, that remain unexplained.
Who is behind Alexpo's application - the secretive off-shore Company registered in
the Isle of Man with no observable track-record in the sector?
Questionable (published) viability study, qualifying a construction spend of �56+ M
but suggesting a profit of under �1M, shared with Network Rail?
The 1913 Railways Act, imposed to protect views to and from Hampton Court Palace.
Laid down clearly in Elmbridge's 1999 Planning Brief for the site, this Act of
Parliament constrains the height of ANY buildings to a maximum of 50 feet. The Alexpo
proposals unashamedly exceed this height, an issue which Elmbridge Officers seek to
The omission of details on the Station refurbishment (costs said to be �1.5M) -
unaccounted for in Alexpo's published viability assessment, but claiming to be funded
The inadequacy of the offer of 12 shared-equity 'affordable' homes versus National
The configuration of the new Station Car Park that plans a like-for-like number of
spaces as are available today. How will it support the added car-ownership predicted
to arrive with the development? How will Elmbridge address the resulting overflow
parking-stress in Molesey's roads?
Each of these elements are unresolved and characterise Alexpo's indefinite approach and
lack of transparency. Hence it's no surprise to see that the public is very concerned.
Today 1266 objections have been lodged with Elmbridge against this application, not to
mention those from prestigious national statutory consultees and other interest groups.
We are most grateful to The Gardens Trust for its very strong objection to the negative
impact of the development on the heritage setting of the historic Palace and the Thames
corridor and are pleased to reproduce in full HERE.
In conclusion, the last-ditch amendments that Alexpo has provided, fail to address the
gross over-development of Hampton Court Station and the Boatman site.
From Molesey and beyond, Elmbridge Officers have invited us to reply and want to hear
from us all. Don't worry if you have contributed previously, it will still count - but
this is a new opportunity to send a fresh response.
Simply open the 'Comment on this Application' bubble to have your say, by 6th May.
With our thanks for your continued support. Find us on Facebook or Twitter too
@HCRCMary and hamptoncourtrescuecampaign.com
* See EBC's letter in full HERE for reply
The details of each amendment are lodged with Elmbridge Planning online.
e-bulletin: 17th February 2021 - UNCERTAIN FUTURE FOR ALEXPO'S RIVERSIDE
REDEVELOPMENT OF HAMPTON COURT STATION?
For 30 + years now, Molesey's residents, tourists and Palace visitors have watched the
relentless dereliction of Hampton Court Station and the next door 'Boatman' site,
boarded-up for the last eight by unsightly hoardings.
However, HCRC can now report that after a record period of silence,
rumour and uncertainty, Elmbridge's Planning Officer has agreed that Alexpo and Network
Rail's joint-venture 2018 application, can have a final extension of time to April 2021.
In whatever quarter Alexpo has sought to promote its oversized, multi �M proposals for
the site, the new realities of a global pandemic, the effects of leaving the EU and
economic paralysis, have fed into serious doubts as to whether its speculative
development of luxury flats and a hotel could deliver an acceptable future for the
Thames riverside and the prized Victorian Railway Station opposite the world famous
The question surely must be - is the April target realistic?
HCRC is clear that a number of important planning and financial matters
still require close examination before the Officers can make a recommendation to the
These include -
Recently, the Environment Agency repeated its latest objection to the scheme
for a fifth time, based on non-compliance with national and local
policies and guidance on flooding and climate change.
The applicant, a secretive off-shore Company registered in the Isle of Man with no
observable track-record in this sector was pressed to bring its previous viability
assessment (compiled in 2018) up-to-date, in order for the Officers to reappraise the
project's present financial profile. Alexpo submitted a revised report in Oct. 2020
claiming predictably that the scheme now produces �a challenging viability position�.
Observing that former schemes and Alexpo's current application have been steered by
Elmbridge's 1999 Planning Brief * that aims to secure public benefit, a collaboration
with Network Rail has been at the locus of all proposals for the renovation of Hampton
Court Station. It is therefore worrying to find that the costs for the Station
refurbishment, said to be �1.5M, are not accounted for in Alexpo's new assessment.
Besides this, the 2018 offer of 12 shared-equity 'affordable' homes, remains
unchanged. Alexpo is to provide only 12% of its development of 97 luxury flats which
is acknowledged to be wholly inadequate and against National Planning Policy for a
scheme of this size.
However, the published report has given HCRC's Andrew Roberts the
chance to interrogate the numbers. The results of his exhaustive analysis have been
copied to Elmbridge's Planning Officers for their consideration but can be read in
In addition, HCRC's Karen Liddell, a heritage specialist, has identified that Listed
Building Consent has not been submitted for plans to install traffic signals on the
Grade 2, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Hampton Court Bridge for the purpose of allowing vehicular
access to the new development. Opinions have been obtained from 17 historic
environment professionals and national bodies. These include the views of a former
Historic England Officer confirming our assessment that the traffic-lights would
damage the special interests of the bridge and the important setting of the Palace. If
this highway element cannot be utilised, an extensive redesign of the site-access will
be imperative. Ms Liddell's meticulous review 'Heritage Matters related to traffic
lights on Hampton Court Bridge' has been lodged with Elmbridge and is available in
Alarm bells are also ringing regarding increased parking-stress in Molesey streets.
Clarity of the development's new car-park design and demand are still outstanding. The
Officer's last request to Alexpo back in Sept '20 concluded �If you are unable to
provide details, it would be useful to understand why, as this is something that may
be raised at the Committee for the application�
As recently as January 2021, the illustrious 'Gardens Trust', a statutory consultee
equal to the Environment Agency, lodged a second fulsome objection to the permanent
threat to the heritage Palace settings and Thames historic views.
Richmond-upon-Thames Council, another statutory consultee has also been consistent
in its opposition.
HCRC has always maintained that the site's difficult history, its
complex features and the long-running vocal opposition to the excessive size of the
proposals, make delivery uncertain. This is a very sensitive site in the setting of
Hampton Court Palace, whose development will be an irreversible legacy and a decision to
approve it cannot be 'a leap of faith'. Nobody wins if the development is impracticable
and becomes a 'white elephant' for future decades.
Obviously, our objections to inappropriate development will continue, but that said
HCRC is pleased to encourage a fresh approach in the form of an
unexpected opportunity from Surrey CC, which we hope will qualify for your support.
Recently Surrey CC has introduced its new scheme 'Your Fund Surrey' which offers a
�100million funding-stream allocated for ''community capital only projects over the
next 5 years.
HCRC is keen to explore submitting a proposal to Surrey CC and other
funding bodies to acquire ownership of the boarded-up 'Boatman' part of the site, to be
laid out as an open green-space, as a seamless extension of Cigarette Island Park. Back
in 2012, HCRC obtained Elmbridge's planning approval for just such a
landscaping scheme which with a fresh funding plan, could be renewed.
Unfortunately, SCC's funds will be fiercely fought over, but HCRC
wants to think-big and take full advantage of this chance to acquire the site into
public ownership as an unrivalled riverside space and we believe that the idea would
garner support from key Councillors and the community.
If a portion of the purchase price estimated at over £1M was to be awarded, it would
serve as seed-corn money to join other local, national and private funding sources. We
are only at Stage 1 of the funding process but hope to make a full submission in March
when the applications 'go live'. Then, selection by a Surrey CC Panel or it's Cabinet
will follow. If chosen, a business case with financial viability information would be
put together and planning permission applied for.
We are widely promoting this opportunity so SCC can recognise that the Boatman site's
longevity is a deserving cause.
The immediate priority is for HCRC to obtain community endorsement. We
urge our supporters to visit Surrey CC's funding platform and to lend your support!
A Planning Brief was written in 1999, which outlined Elmbridge's ambition to realise a
comprehensive mixed-development of Hampton Court Station and the 'Boatman' site, facing
Hampton Court Palace south-side of the Thames.
In 2006 Gladedale bought-up the 'Boatman' site and lodged a Planning Application. Up
against resounding opposition, Gladedale was granted approval, only for it to be tested
in the High Court and the Appeal Court. However in 2014, following the financial crisis,
Alexpo IOM Ltd. bought the unique riverside site from Gladedale Homes.
Alexpo's current multi-storey mixed-use scheme comprises 97 luxury flats, a hotel,
retail and leisure with parking below ground. It exceeds the height, scale and density
of Gladedale's earlier scheme and supersedes the earlier grant of approval but Alexpo's
application is to be determined by Elmbridge without precedent.
e-bulletin: 20th September 2020 - MOLESEY CONSIDERS NEW PARKING CONTROLS FOR
ALEXPO'S STATION SCHEME
We wait to hear if the Environment Agency is satisfied with the changes to the revised
Flood Risk Assessment submitted by Alexpo, the developer of Hampton Court Station and
the 'Jolly Boatman' sites. However, right now another issue associated with the
development is exercising local residents - that is Surrey CC's proposed response to the
perennial problem of commuter induced parking-stress on Molesey's streets.
Addressing this, Surrey has circulated its recent review, proposing an extensive series
of controlled parking zones (CPZs)to be introduced in Molesey roads surrounding the
Broadly, we welcome Surrey's long awaited parking review which finally acknowledges the
problem caused by commuter parking, something it should have carefully considered
earlier when assessing the impact of Alexpo�s Station development, which offers an
inadequate number of parking spaces to cater for 97 apartments; retail units, a
supermarket and an 84 bedroom hotel, competing with commuters and visitors to Hampton
Court Palace. Moreover, Hampton Court Station has a wider user-appeal than other local
stations - HCS being the furthest station terminus in ticket-fare Zone 6 which offers
cheaper travel. Also, the demands of other new developments in the area cannot be
ignored. Bellway's Walton Park for instance, comprising 100 homes (next to the locally
known AppsCourt Farm) is typical of outlying catchments whose occupants will commute to
Hampton Court Station by car.
If reviewing the proposed CPZones, issues to consider might be:
Is the CPZ the right size on the roads chosen and are the correct roads covered?
The impact of the lack of plans for residents' parking permits?
If the CPZ is implemented as planned, where will commuter cars be displaced to?
Consistent with HCRC's usual scrutiny of the shortcomings of the
planned Station car park, we inquired as to how all the users of the scheme could
practically be accommodated. When challenged, Network Rail's Development Manager replied
that the public and visitors might be prohibited from using the car park, to retain the
facility purely for rail-users and the scheme's residents only. Given the pressure for
parking in the area, this claim seemed unworkable, not least in terms of clear policy
We challenged this proposition in an FOI to Network Rail - the response was emphatic.
NR's Legal and Corporate Services Information Officer replied that this approach was not
in operation anywhere on the network. Her reply, quote - "
That there are no such
examples of Network Rail owned car parks where non-rail users are prohibited...and it
is not realistic for NR to implement this" The train operating company that
operates the station car park also confirmed that Network Rail�s proposal was never
All the while, Alexpo continues to ignore Elmbridge Council's requests for
clarification into how the proposed parking arrangements will be allocated and actually
function. There are signs that after a wait of 18 months, the Case Officer is also
growing increasingly exasperated. Concerned by the lack of detail that may explain this
poorly conceived scheme, she has most recently taken a stronger line with Alexpo "If
you are unable to provide details, it would be useful to understand why, as this is
something that may be raised at the committee for the application" (see her letter attached, in full)
Sharp-eyed visitors to the online application for 2018/3810 may have spotted that a
special heading - 'Officer documents' has just been added. This is a folder for
'Correspondence with the Agent'. The Officer's recent inquiries (referred above) are
lodged there and HCRC has requested EBC to publish all previous
correspondence between parties, for public record and interest.
So it is yet up to Alexpo to return fulsome and satisfactory answers to the Officer and
for the information to be made available under that heading. HCRC will
be waiting to review and respond to Alexpo's replies and supporters can expect an
updated e-bulletin to follow.
(You can review Alexpo's Planning App. online� search 2018/3810)
With our thanks for your continued interest and support
e-bulletin: 18th February 2020 - Planning Committee Meeting Postponed Again
The Planning Officer charged with assessing the application for the comprehensive
redevelopment of Hampton Court Station and the 'Boatman' sites is yet to consider the
developer's revised Flood Risk Assessment and publish her recommendations. The
Environment Agency has been consulted over a second set of data/remediation, but with
the recent flooding events uppermost, staffing at the EA is rightly at full stretch.
While the Officer's report awaits the contribution from the EA, a future date for the
Planning Committee to decide the fate of the Station redevelopment scheme, is yet to be
Encouragingly, the Committee did convene last week to decide on a related Planning
Application (2019/2005) which HCRC regarded as 'the canary in the
mine'. Proposals were submitted for the multi-storey redevelopment of the
light-industrial estate on Hampton Court Way, that lies next to the Station complex and
reaches south to the Thames Ditton level-crossing. The Officer recommended the scheme
for approval, but throughout the meeting the Members interrogated the over-development;
its height and massing, lack of parking and safe access, and its inappropriate
architectural character. The result - the Committee defied the Officer's direction and
refused permission. These elements all mimic the flaws of the Hampton Court Station
scheme next door. The unacceptably low offer of Affordable Housing, Flood mitigation,
increased pollution from stop/start congestion adding to the long list above. We must
hope that the Members will again subject the dominant and irreversible development at
Hampton Court Station and riverside to the same scrutiny.
Sadly, we are no further forward in discovering the owners and directors of Alexpo, the
offshore shell-company (registered in the Isle of Man) that owns the land-title of the
'Boatman' site and is the joint-venture partner of Network Rail. HCRC
has explicitly involved EBC at the highest level with its concerns about transparency,
tax avoidance and money-laundering. Given the huge sums promised to EBC eg. the
Community Infrastructure Levy, the S106 agreement and the offsite Highways works
estimated at �2.6M alone, we would have expected Elmbridge Borough Council to have
insisted on guarantees and insurances, bearing in mind that the Boatman's previous
developer Gladedale folded in the 2008 financial crash, just as works began. A project
that may again start but prove unviable and undeliverable is the worst of all worlds for
the historic Station, leading to more years of dilapidation and decay. Given the history
of this development site, it is essential that Elmbridge Officers exercise due diligence
so Councillors and the public can be reassured before the application is determined.
So far EBC has received over 1220 letters of opposition to this application (2018/3810)
from both national and local objectors. You can find these online
https://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/planning/ HCRC's most recent submission to Planning is here.
We will of course let supporters know the next Committee date as soon as we are told.
With our thanks for your continued interest and support.
e-bulletin: 12th January 2020 - Decision date *Announcement*
'BOATMAN' BRACED FOR FEBRUARY JUDGEMENT
The Planning Officer has now cancelled the Planning Committee meeting conditionally
arranged for January 21st, at which the fate of the 'Boatman' and Hampton Court Station
application (EBC ref 2018/3810) was to be determined. It is now evident that the
Planning Officer is unable to complete her report and make her recommendations known to
Councillors, as she still waits to review a second Environment Agency consultation. The
EA had previously objected to the planning application as the developer's Flood Risk
Assessment was founded on out-of-date stats. and modelling and not the current National
Planning policies that embrace climate-change, flooding etc.
HCRC has enjoyed an ongoing dialogue with Planning Officers and
Councillors on this and other significant concerns about the virtues of this planning
application. However, yesterday in the run-up to the Committee decision, we formally
lodged a robust objection with the Case Officer, laying out questions that to date have
gone unanswered. We have asked the Officer to interrogate each of the matters raised and
to address them in her published report. It is imperative that her final recommendations
fully inform the Committee Members who will be responsible for arguably Elmbridge's most
weighty and enduring planning decision. See HCRC OBJECTION attached.
We can see online https://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/planning/ that EBC has received 1200+
letters of opposition to this application already and we would kindly urge our
supporters to continue to add your voices to this number ahead of a February date being
With our thanks for your continued interest and support.
e-update: 22nd August 2019 - Christmas? Decision date postponed again
The imposition of the Railways Act
In mid 19C, the UK rail industry appropriated the meadows between Hampton Court Station
and the Thames. The land became a rail-head for steam trains to take on fuel and water
and rotate before making the return journey back to London. This land, later known
locally as the 'Jolly Boatman' after a Cafe on the site, has retained its strategic
importance, forming an important part of the heritage Thames-side setting opposite
Hampton Court Palace.
Given the close proximity to the Palace, our forebears put restrictions in place to
restrict the scale of building on the 'Boatman' or any of Network Rails surrounding
land. Over 100 years ago an Act of Parliament was written into statute to protect this
historically sensitive location, limiting the height of any building in perpetuity to a
maximum of 50 feet.
This should have afforded the public some comfort that any development around Hampton
Court Station would be required to observe the Act, but despite the Councils Planning
Brief clearly referencing the restriction to the 50 ft build-height, Elmbridge Council
has allowed the developer to ignore this statute and proceed to submit proposals that
exceed that limit across the entire scheme. Naturally, HCRC is
objecting to this clear breach of the Act and we intend to seek out case law and pursue
robust legal opinion. If the scheme is recommended for approval, HCRC
will be taking the well-trodden path to return to the High Court.
The Offshore connection
The name of the Company proposing to develop the Hampton Court Station and Boatman
sites is not known in the property world. The Boatman's land-title has been registered
since 2014 to Alexpo (Isle of Man) Ltd. This offshore Co. is the chosen joint-venture
partner with Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd. and has tabled a scheme that includes 97
apartments, an 84 bedroom hotel, cafs/restaurants, a mini-supermarket and a car park
for 207 spaces.
However, when the application for this huge scheme was submitted to Elmbridge, the
proposals were attributed to another entity, Alexpo Ltd. The key detail that the
applicant was offshore-registered had been omitted. The Company listed on the
declaration did not actually exist at the time.
However, in a clever move to control any unhelpful confusion, HCRC's
Chairman, Ray Townsend has registered the UK Company in his own name. It goes without
saying that Rays company will not be building anything on the Jolly Boatman site!
There is considerable interest in knowing who is behind such a high profile development
and how it can be acceptable that a non-transparent Isle of Man offshore company is
allowed to partner with Network Rail, an accountable publicly-funded Company.
Alexpo I.O.M Ltd's. accounts cannot be accessed. For their own ends, some businesses
find this an attractive feature of an Isle of Man registration, which provides total
anonymity and a shield to hide its owners, Co. reports and directors. Officers and
Councillors on the Planning Committee should take great care not to ignore their
responsibilities in regard to money-laundering and tax avoidance legislation.
Particularly in regard to the applicant's published Viability Assessment that is
impossible to scrutinise given that the Company's holdings and capitalisation are hidden
from view. Matters such as the unreasonably low number of affordable homes and the
untraceability of taxable profits should be ringing alarm-bells in Council corridors and
Clearly, either Network Rail is complicit in its agreement with an offshore Co., or it
is woefully incompetent. Certainly both Network Rail and Alexpo (IOM) Ltd are reluctant
to be open and honest with Elmbridge Council and Molesey residents.
HCRC is exploring the legitimacy of this relationship through the (ORR)
Office of Rail Regulation, the Government body which superintends the disposal of
Network Rail land and assets. Both the ORR and EBC will be challenged to explain how
The owners and investors of Alexpo Isle of Man Ltd are unknown. State-owned Network
Rail is in partnership with an Isle of Man company that will not pay UK tax on its
profits from this development.
Network Rail and Alexpo IOM Ltd applied for planning permission from Elmbridge
Council using the name of a company that didnt exist.
Environment Agency's new opposition
In previous bulletins we have explained in detail the inadequacy of car parking
facilities at the Station and the impact on Molesey's residential roads. This issue
still remains a major concern, but it is hoped that a recent consultation from the
Environment Agency will materially affect the car parking plans.
The EA has recently responded to the Planning consultation by objecting to the scheme
on a variety of grounds. The EA has taken a number of months to appraise Alexpo's
proposals against new empirical flooding statistics and fresh climate modelling. (EA's
comprehensive response is attached in full) At this time HCRC is not
clear exactly how Alexpo intends to respond to the EA's recommendations, or how the car
park designs can be reconciled.
HCRC predicts that Alexpo has a lot of work to attend to before the
scheme gets close to a planning Committee and it appears that the target for decision is
delayed once again - showing now on the Elmbridge planning portal (Plan no. 2018/3810)
as 10th December 2019.
We will of course pass on more updates as we get them.
e-update: 27th March 2019 - BREAKING NEWS
HCRC has been informed that the 'Special Planning Committee' meeting on Thursday 4th
April, convened to determine the application for Hampton Court Station application has
We understand that Elmbridge has not included the Environment Agency's new Flood-Risk
data in its consultation, and is unable to proceed until this has been fully examined.
As we hear more details, we will let you know immediately, but a new date for the
Committee to meet is unknown at this time.
e-bulletin: 25 March 2019: Much Needed - Richmond Council Rejects Station
Last Thursday on 21 st March, the period of consultation for the Hampton Court Station
application was closed. At the last count before its expiry, EBC recorded over 1,100
letters of objection. HCRC would like to thank everyone who took the time to lodge their
comments with Elmbridge Planning Dept. However, if you were unable to make the cut,
please do not be deterred. All of our late submissions will be accepted and will be
included in the Officer's report for the Special Planning Committee meeting tasked to
determine the application on
THURSDAY 4th APRIL from 7-10pm
(Please note: The online Planning portal is now closed -
your correspondence must be sent using the Planning Dept. email at
Along with the public response, EBC invited a long list of formal Consultees to review
the new Station plans from their differing professional perspectives. Disappointingly, a
small number have yet to file, but of those published HCRC is very encouraged by one key
response, submitted by our neighbouring borough, Richmond (LBRUT). The LBRUT Officers
have advised Elmbridge that they oppose the scheme, citing the lack of consultation.
LBRUT wishes to express extreme regret that, unlike other interested parties, the
applicant has failed to engage in any pre-application discussions with this Council...
We feel certain that our supporters will be staggered to learn that Richmond Boro,
which shares its border with Elmbridge on the river Bridge, was not afforded the
courtesy of early pre-application consultations about this huge and complex scheme
situated just over the Thames. Richmond's comments raise some profound issues.
Surrey CC's new Highways layout for Hampton Court is only one example of the apparent
lack of collaboration between Local Authorities. The new 2.5M road-designs have already
been loudly condemned as worsening the existing congestion on all the major routes upto
and over Hampton Court Bridge. HCRC would have expected exchanges between the Boroughs
to have been imperative from the earliest stage of these proposals, considering the
effects expected to be shared across a very wide area.
We understand the EBC Case Office will be progressing her report this week with a view
to making her final recommendations available to the Planning Committee. HCRC can only
hope that LBRUT's remarks will seriously call into question the advancement of this
application and lead to a review of the implications for EBC and Surrey CC. HCRC will be
looking into this as the Committee meeting approaches.
In the meantime, if you missed seeing the scope of the project, these great
youtube/clips perfectly illustrate what Molesey can expect. The images are not
impressions, they are lifted intact from the Planning Application. Please open the links
to see Elmbridge's legacy for Hampton Court and the Thames riverside.
And remember, you are not too late to comment, please take a few moments to make your
voice heard. With any other concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. With our
thanks for your continued interest.
We welcome your replies to this email address if we can help with anything further, or
please don't hesitate to Tweet us at @HCRCMary https://twitter.com/HCRCMary or visit us on Facebook.
e-bulletin: 9 March 2019: Inconsistent Response from Historic England That
Claims to 'Champion Everyone's Heritage'
Historic England has no objection to the application on heritage
HCRC is utterly baffled by the response from Historic England, the public body charged
with conserving England's heritage and we challenge how such an opinion could have been
derived from the plans you see below. In comments lodged with EBC, HE says -
The proposed development is less impactful upon heritage than previous
Clearly HE has failed to grasp the monstrous scope of the current plans which add a
further 10% to the height of the roof-line in the previous application, consented in
2008. Moreover, an increased footprint adds to its massing, incorporating 97 homes, an
84 bedroom Hotel along with assorted leisure and retail spaces and a small supermarket.
With the exception of the grand Palace complex itself, from any other perspective this
development dwarfs the surrounding buildings in scale and subsumes the heritage Railway
Station. The high-density Villa Blocks are larger than any other building in the Kent
Road Conservation Area and the visual impact of walls of brickwork, broken only by
glass-box balconies is, in the context of its neighbours, an ill-fitting urban design.
Therefore HE's conclusions are shocking and seem completely at odds with the clearest
of guidelines expressed in National Policy which serves to ensure that planning
consultees are supported in their protection and conservation of the nation's heritage.
'Excerpt: National Planning Policy Framework (July 2018), specifically section
16 Conserving and enhancing the historic environment ...' - 'Paragraph 194 notes that
Any harm to, or loss of, the significance of a designated heritage asset (from its
alteration or destruction, or from development within its setting, should require
clear and convincing justification. (HE
letter attached in full)
Moreover, if HE needed further certainty, an enduring Act of Parliament protects the
exceptional setting of Hampton Court Palace. EBC's Planning Brief requires that any
future development should adhere to the South Western Railways Act of 1913. This
prevents buildings on railway land rising higher than 50 feet, within a radius of one
and a half miles of the Palace. The consented 2008 plans conformed with the Act, whereas
Alexpo's current scheme exceeds this limitation by 5 feet.
EBC has now published the awaited consultation response from Historic Royal Palaces',
the Charity responsible for managing the region's pre-eminent heritage tourist
attraction. HRP commented on the detail of the Act in its formal reply, asking EBC for
clarification from Alexpo - The Railways Act remains the determining factor for
heights in the future and that the proposed development does not establish a new
precedent. HRP would like to be reassured on this point.
HRP has examined the impact of Alexpo's scheme on the Palace's historic environment. It
has also made recommendations in regard to the consequences of the reduced offer of
parking provision at the Station. HCRC completed a thorough assessment
of Alexpo's survey on parking and 'street-stress' and tells the real story of commuter
over-spill. A pdf
copy is attached in full.
Your own comments continue to arrive with EBC with more than 700 hundred eloquent
letters of objection filed so far.
(or see the display available at Molesey Library and at Elmbridge Civic Centre in
Other issues will be addressed as we proceed to the end of the consultation, but if you
have queries or require anything further, please do not hesitate to email/Tweet/Facebook
With our thanks for your continued support
e-bulletin: 4 February 2019: ELMBRIDGE EXTENDS HAMPTON COURT STATION
CONSULTATION TO SATURDAY 2ND MARCH
It was to be expected that the level of public interest in this development would
require a longer period of consultation. Bearing in mind the importance and complexity
of the Hampton Court Station regeneration and reflecting on the many years of
controversy, Elmbridge Council is wisely giving more time for our consideration.
The troubled history of previous planning applications cannot be dismissed. The failure
of the last developer to deliver on the 2008 project must surely inform how Elmbridge
Councillors approach Network Rail's current joint venture. Unfortunately, of the 16
Members sitting on the 'special' Planning Committee on 5th April 19 there is no
representation from Councillors with Molesey Wards.
Elmbridge Officers and Councillors cannot abdicate their responsibilities. They must
collectively ensure the public that in preparing for this crucial decision, some
fundamental issues are examined carefully in advance...
Given the high market-values expected from this prestigious development of 97 luxury
flats, will 12 units sold as shared-equity help to fulfill Elmbridge's 'Social
Housing' obligations across the Borough?
In light of the low yield of 'affordable' housing, Elmbridge should commission an
independent review of Alexpo's Viability Assessment to reappraise its contribution to
the Community Infrastructure Levy.
Commercial sensitivity may be restricting the transparency of Alexpo (Isle of Man)
Ltd., the offshore company that Network Rail has chosen to partner for this
multi-million project, but with no available pedigree Elmbridge must seek the
necessary guarantees that the scheme could actually be realised.
We can see from those comments already filed with the Planning Dept. that
HCRC supporters have a wide range of views on Alexpo's plans beyond the
matters raised here. However, if you missed the chance to comment so far, please use the
extra time available by going online to
With our sincere thanks for your continuing help and support.
e-bulletin: Jan 21st 2019: ALEXPO'S SCHEME ... WHAT ARE THE COSTS?
Elmbridge Planning Dept. has been recording resounding opposition to the new plans for
the development of Hampton Court Station and the riverside.
The comments are arriving from a wide field. Residents living in the immediate areas
and those in neighbouring Boroughs have been expressing a variety of critical views of
the scheme. This is no surprise as interest has never waned in trying to secure the
right future for this very sensitive and controversial site, whose deterioration is a
frustration and disgrace. Whilst Alexpo's public exhibition in June showed us the glossy
versions of its new scheme, Molesey has been here before. Once again, it has been
necessary for HCRC to fact-check some of the claims made and to breakdown the issues
important to us all.
Link to the plans online elmbridge.gov.uk/planning number: 2018/3810 - add comments
until SATURDAY 9th FEBRUARY 2019
The proposed Highway/Hampton Court Station layout
The busy travel hub of today will get a new highways plan, which will introduce a
number of radical changes. The new layout has been designed to make way for Alexpo's
development and aspires to improve traffic management. Broadly - a series of multi-way,
sequenced Traffic Signals will be installed, the existing Gyratory will be removed and
'KEEP CLEAR' road markings to hold back traffic at the Creek Road junction. Traffic
signals will be installed on Hampton Court Bridge to allow vehicles to exit/enter the
new development and Station car park safely. A crossroads will be created here to give
the option of right, left turns or onward entry into Riverbank.
Travellers of all modes who know the area and use the Trunk Roads that feed into the
Thames-crossing, will certainly have their own views as to the quality of these changes.
Affordable Housing provision
Alexpo's scheme for 97 market-value homes and a 84 bedroom Hotel, offers Elmbridge 12
'affordable' units set aside as 'shared equity'.
Elmbridge Boroughs policy for affordable housing is principally set out in the Core
Strategy (2011) Policy CS21. The Strategy establishes that developments of 15 or more
units will be required to provide at least 40% affordable housing, determined by the
particular circumstances and the characteristics of the development, including financial
However, Alexpo's 'Viability Statement' draws its comparison from the 7 units that EBC
Officers accepted in the 2008/1600 extant plans, but Councillors will remember that the
prestigious Royal Star and Garter Home was at the heart of that scheme. The favoured
social and charitable status of the RS&GH was taken into account when EBC
reluctantly accepted the unusually low number of 7 out of Gladedale's 66 units. No
such charitable element is suggested in Alexpo's current proposals to off-set the low
figure of 12% and it is also clear that this type of intensive development is not the
optimum needed to meet Elmbridge's social-housing demand.
The project for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Hampton Court Station and the
'Boatman' site is sizeable, with a build cost alone estimated to be 54,407,000.
Sensitive to the history of the site and recalling that its last developer failed to
proceed with the scheme after approval in 2008, it should be obvious to EBC that a new
owner's financial standing should be independently verified. HCRC would strongly
recommend that before entering into a future agreement, Elmbridge Officers must seek
guarantees that Alexpo (Isle of Man) Ltd., an offshore shell company, is fully
transparent and complies with Anti-Money Laundering legislation.
Multi-storey car park building
A number of design issues have emerged in the Architect's drawings submitted to EBC for
the multi-level Car Park. In particular the configuration of the Car-Park ramps which
independently service the Lower Ground Floor and the Basement floor. As they stand, the
designs may lead to driver-confusion, may reduce safety and further complicate
traffic-fluency on and off the site. HCRC has alerted the developer to these concerns
and awaits the answers.
The development's car parking provision will be inadequate.
Disregarding Alexpo's picture of Car Park usage, our number-crunching tells a different
story. Of the 207 spaces the developer advertises, scrutiny reveals that only 169 of the
spaces are 'unrestricted' and available-to-all.* That number must accommodate the
parking needs of rail-users, visitors, the population of 97 flats and the guests of the
84 bedroom Hotel. Not forgetting the combined staff and customers of the Retail/Leisure
units and the Supermarket. This are 36 fewer spaces than those operating in the Station
car park today - and that is ahead of adding the Alexpo development.
Alexpo claims that the records taken in the car park at different times of the year
have informed future provision. However, as we all know well, the unoccupied spaces are
more likely to reflect the high cost of parking at the Station, which has led quite
naturally to the constant use of Molesey streets, free of tariff.
*Allocated spaces are restricted for Blue-Badge Holders, Electrically-charged and
height restricted vehicles. 18 spaces are allocated for 'Blue Badge' holders - of which
the 9 on the Lower Ground Floor, 3 assigned for High (Badge) vehicles and 4 for Electric
(Badge) vehicles. Only 2 are unrestricted Badge spaces. The other 9 spaces are in the
Basement floor. 8 are unrestricted Badge spaces, one space number however is sited out
of range of a 'Disabled'-ready lift, through an un-widened door. In terms of health and
safety, HCRC questions why these spaces are located on the Basement Floor? There are 16
spaces for Electric vehicles/chargers, of which 4 as mentioned above are for Blue Badge
Height and Massing
HCRC must strongly emphasise that the height of the new scheme exceeds that of the old
Gladedale design. We understand that the developer's starting point was the financial
unviability of Gladedale's double-storey underground car park and the need to explore
alternatives. The replacement design places all of the parking in a basement floor and
an under-croft. This translates to Alexpo raising the residential base-line to a higher
level, above which the residential elements of the scheme are then constructed.
The density of the development has also increased. The space taken in 2008 for the
RS&G Care Home has been replaced with residential units, 97 in total. The Hotel too,
on Hampton Court way, has increased its number of bedrooms to 84, with the building
itself occupying a larger footprint than in 2008 to its southernmost end.
Hampton Court Railway Station
HCRC has been unable to uncover any details of the improvements to the Railway Station.
The details of Network Rail's preparedness for its repair are unknown at this time and
are not referred to in any proposal of the Planning Application. HCRC will update
supporters when NR decide to publish its intentions.
Finally, we are not ignoring the importance of matters surrounding heritage, history or
the River setting, but interest in these issues has been fully demonstrated previously.
This bulletin is chiefly to see beyond the alluring promotional material that Alexpo has
and continues to widely advance.
Please take a closer look at the scheme online and use the portal to make your views
known - before the 9th Feb. (or see the display available at Molesey Library and at
Elmbridge Civic Centre in Esher)
With our thanks for your support and please do not hesitate to email if you require
With our sincere thanks for your continuing help and support.
e-bulletin: 8 January 2019: NEW PLANS FOR THE 'JOLLY BOATMAN' AND HAMPTON COURT
STATION LODGED TODAY AT EBC
The new year has begun with the submission of Alexpo's plans for the comprehensive
redevelopment of the 'Jolly Boatman' site and Hampton Court Station. The Application was
published on 8 January 2019 and can be examined in full at
From now until 8th February 2018, the scheme will be open for your comments, either
directly using the portal provided, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HCRC will provide more analysis in the coming days, but we would
encourage supporters to view the plans at the earliest opportunity, giving special
consideration to three key issues that will without doubt impact Molesey, Hampton Court
and the wider Borough in terms of parking, congestion and build-heights.
The plans will add 97 new homes - an 84 bedroom Hotel - leisure and retail units,
but provide ONLY 2 additional parking spaces to the present Station
The new Highways layout introduces multi-way Traffic signals starting on Hampton
Court Bridge, and relocates the current green Gyratory.
The height and density of the new development exceeds still further that of the
controversial 2008 plan, dwarfing the Railway Station.
Over a decade on, HCRC continues to enjoy the collaboration and the
shared objectives of Hampton Court Palace, Molesey residents, interest groups and
National bodies who together support the sensitive development of the 'Boatman' site and
Hampton Court Station, bringing benefits to all. Alexpo's new scheme may fall short, or
even worsen any chance of satisfying any of these aims.
Supporters will each have an individual perspective on the new scheme, but as one of
the most important development sites in Surrey, we would strongly urge you to review the
plans carefully and make your opinion known to Elmbridge Planners. Naturally,
HCRC will be making its own detailed response to EBC in due course,
which will at the same time be posted on our website hamptoncourtrescuecampaign.com
We welcome your replies to this email address if we can help with anything further, or
please don't hesitate to Tweet us at @HCRCMary https://twitter.com/HCRCMary
With our sincere thanks for your continuing help and support.
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
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
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
HCRC contends that Alexpo's provision of only 2 additional parking spaces
that must accommodate the demands of the existing shared-use, plus the developments 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 Alexpos 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 Elmbridges 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.
e-bulletin: August 24th 2018: HCRC issues formal response to Alexpo's new plans
for 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.
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
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.
HCRC previews the new proposals for Hampton Court Station and the 'Boatman'
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:
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
(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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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.