Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

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HCRC has outlined the importance of the South Western Railways Act in previous bulletins. This unique piece of legislation has provided protection against intrusive development surrounding Hampton Court Palace for over 100 years. The 1913 Act states that no buildings should exceed 50ft in height on railway land within 0.5 miles of the historic premises in order to preserve its heritage setting*.

Their planning application was robustly rejected by Elmbridge Council, but following a successful appeal to the Gov't Planning Inspector in July 2022, Alexpo I.O.M Ltd and Network Rail, the joint developers of the 'Boatman' and railway station sites, lodged their formal request to the Minister of State at DCM&S, Lucy Frazer MP to consider setting aside the Railways Act and grant consent for their scheme.

The Minister will need to grapple with the scope and complexity of this decades-old issue, particularly as some details have only recently been acknowledged. During both their application and appeal, Network Rail and Alexpo’s team stated emphatically that their scheme was under 50 feet. Network Rail still clung to this position when they wrote to Lucy Frazer MP in October 2022, only to admit later that the buildings did in fact exceed 50 feet and would therefore require consent. Network Rail’s position looks very dubious, particularly given that it relied heavily on Elmbridge Council’s 'Development Brief' for Hampton Court Station to support the principle of development on the site. The Brief remains unchanged and eager students will observe that it calls for buildings substantially under 50 feet.

Equally frustrating are the limited 'Terms of Reference' for the DCMS consultation. These seek to reduce comments to only new information or evidence not already considered in the Planning process. We disagree with this approach for the reasons touched on above and HCRC is busy preparing its case to ensure that the Minister is correctly informed, accompanied by the valued contributions from recognised statutory bodies and influential interest groups.

It was reported to us that some respondents were unable to lodge their representations via the Consultation portal (below) - but DCMS has assured us that the 'glitches' we all experienced have been ironed out. Making up for time lost, the expiry date has been extended. The consultation will now close at -

23.59 on 12th JUNE 2024 **

Perhaps the Minister might be reassured by the developers' offer to screen some buildings with extensive tree-planting? A common device not lost on the celebrated Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright who remarked “Doctors bury their mistakes, architects plant trees”

Realistically, even substantial, mature specimens could only shroud the buildings for half of the year. Over the winter months the apartment blocks would remain obvious, illuminated and highly visible from every viewing point.

So - thinking ahead, to the outcomes of the Minister's decision?

If the consent is granted, it's possible that the Developers could return an even bigger scheme, arguing that commercial pressures of inflation and materials-costs render their current permitted plans, unviable.

On the other hand, if the Minister was to refuse consent Alexpo might pragmatically conclude that a lower, scaled-down scheme would be more warmly regarded, one which could retain the prized setting and views of Hampton Court Palace.

For all that, the Act has protected this significant historic site for over a century. At such an important location it would be very regrettable if the Minister deemed Alexpo's mainly residential, mixed-use development as an exceptional case and deserving of consent.

You can follow progress of the Consultation - on Facebook or X, and please open the DCMS link below to comment via textbox or post.

With our thanks for your continued support.

* "The 1913 Act states that buildings should not exceed 50 feet in height (where they would be within 0.5 miles of Hampton Court Palace), unless the consent of the Commissioners of Works is first obtained. S.49 goes on to state that such buildings then need to be erected in accordance with the elevations submitted to the Commissioners and approved by them or by a referee. The approval of external appearance (the elevations) and the triggering height of 50ft were plainly both related to ensuring a degree of control over the height and appearance of certain buildings insofar as they might have been perceived from, or in association with, the royal premises"

** DCMS link


e-bulletin February 2024 - 'Station' developer asks Sec. of State to remove heritage protection

For over 100 years, the historic vistas of Hampton Court Palace have been protected by the Railways Act, conceived in 1913 to limit the maximum height of buildings on its surrounding land to 50 feet. The Act has always been a material consideration embedded into Elmbridge's Planning Brief for that location and is clearly maintained as a guide to secure and safeguard the setting of the Palace and its riverside landscape from over-development.

It has been a frustrating wait for news since the developer, Alexpo IOM Ltd won the 2022 appeal to overturn Elmbridge Council's refusal of permission for its huge Hampton Court Station and 'Jolly Boatman' project. Despite a combination of massive and sustained opposition from the public; interest groups, statutory consultees and importantly the local authority - the single, isolated opinion of a Gov. Planning Inspector gave Alexpo the green light to proceed.

Alexpo has shown little regard to the Railways Act throughout the progress of its plans for the sites which indeed exceed the 50ft maximum height allowed by the Act. The dimensions of the scheme and the ground-baseline from which any elevation might be measured have been consistently argued over, resulting in a great deal of contradiction and uncertainty. A good example of the impact of this confusion is expressed in dialogue with Historic England (HE) from 2022 -

"HE have become more content with the proposals as the development scheme has become lower (in height), but they did originally object to the plans"

Historic England is mistaken in this claim and HCRC wishes to make it absolutely clear that no part of the development is 'lower' than 50ft. In light of this most basic misunderstanding, we are obviously very encouraged to learn that the scheme and the 1913 Act are currently on the desk of the Sec. of State for Culture, Media and Sport - Rt. Hon. Lucy Frazer MP for her review and scrutiny.

The context of this review will be the formal request to DCMS by Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd. (Alexpo's joint-venture partner) to set aside the Railways Act (see below for a copy of the letter). It closes with this utterly predictable approach which seeks to dismiss years of campaigning from all quarters against intensive development surrounding the Palace, and crediting the Planning Inspector with a 'promotion' to Sec. of State.

Quote..."full consideration has been given to all the representations made by local interest groups, statutory authorities and consultees including Historic Royal Palaces... resulting in the grant of planning consent by the Sec of State. With the evidence on all relevant aspects of the matter having been carefully weighed up, there is no proper basis (nor indeed would it be rational) for DCMS to reach a different decision, merely because the same objectors continue to oppose the proposal on grounds that have been duly considered and rejected"

In the search for clarity and to properly weigh the controversial judgement of the Gov. Planning Inspector against the unique heritage significance of Hampton Court, Lucy Frazer MP has sensibly extended an 8 week consultation period to look again at the issues before making her determination.

Historically, we would have asked supporters to reply to consultations, but on this occasion the Sec. of State will be turning her attention to recognised consultees and statutory bodies for their supplementary representations. HCRC will be included in this process, however if the public is again invited to comment we will of course reach out.

With our sincere appreciation for your continued interest and support.

Letter from Dept Culture, Media and Sport

Network Rail's application to the Dept Culture, Media and Sport in full


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.

We are all very grateful for Elmbridge Council's efforts over the summer to challenge the Planning Inspector's regrettable decision to allow Alexpo's planning appeal - finding in the developer's favour.

Accepting the sensitivity of the Hampton Court Station site, the loss of heritage views and the unqualified opposition to its development, Elmbridge launched a Statutory Review aiming to advance a legal challenge of the Inspector's controversial verdict.

The High Court Judge assigned to determine this case was Justice Sir Duncan Ouseley, familiar to HCRC as the same Judge who heard the historic, lengthy Judicial Review, in 2010. Having considered Elmbridge's dispute, on Oct. 4th, he published his decision that permission to proceed was refused.

Reality check?

Given this result, Alexpo might well now promote the message that the Hampton Court Station/Boatman scheme can go ahead, but the pathway to the successful delivery of its 2018 project must still overcome some tricky and unresolved issues, not to mention to reconcile the new downward pressures in the economy.

For a start, the scale of Alexpo's huge scheme exceeds the height constraints of the 1913 South Western Railways Act of Parliament which prohibits development around the Station land to a maximum of 50 ft. Permission to breech the Act must still be ratified by the relevant Sec. of State.

Moreover, the Inspector added 42 separate Planning Conditions to his Appeal Decision Notice*. A number of them are complex and will require Elmbridge's specific approvals before any ground/works/excavation can commence. Their progress must follow the customary planning stages, so these important conditions will again be open to consultation and subject to public scrutiny. (*open info. here/or attached - from Page 28)



The 'Boatman' site has been left derelict for over 3 decades and while we await the full impacts of the Gov.'s Autumn Financial Statement on 17th November it's worth appraising the scheme's realistic future.

Alexpo has maintained throughout that its inadequate 'Affordable' housing offer was justified because of the lean yields from its £60+M (2010 valued) scheme.

UK house-builders are already reporting the impacts of increased material costs and the tightened labour market - accepting that global supply-chains and mortgage rates are compromising the delivery of new ventures and affecting business across the sector. As higher interest rates bite and the pressures from austerity and negative-growth are felt, Alexpo's £60+M project valuation should be audited and re-forecast.

Elmbridge would certainly be justified in seeking undertakings from Alexpo to demonstrate that its offshore-registered Company is suitably capitalised to deliver a completed, viable scheme by 2026. Elmbridge BC and its residents should be reassured that Alexpo will not inflict another stalled project that could blight the Station site for a further decade.

Been here before?

As the current developer weighs the benefits of persevering with this awful scheme in a stressed economy, we must recall a similar event in the Boatman's troubled history – set in the financial crash of 2008. At that time Gladedale Homes who owned the site went under with debts of £500M. As part of the resulting 'fire-sale', the plot was sold-off to Alexpo in 2010.

Then as now with recession looming, Alexpo may be considering selling-out its 'Boatman' plot with its planning approvals. In principle, either Gladedale's or Alexpo's approved schemes could be built-out, but a new developer would find either option an unprofitable headache. Coupled with the solid resistance to both schemes from the local authorities, important Heritage bodies and the public that remains undiminished, development of the open, riverside 'Boatman' site will never be straightforward.

So who's behind Alexpo IOM Ltd?

Even the spotlight of the Planning Appeal could not expose any further information about Alexpo's Isle of Mann registered Company.

Helpfully, the 2019 Queen's Speech laid out a response to address sanction-busting, by means of the 'Economic Crime Bill' * It will permit access to details of those overseas Companies that have beneficial interests in UK-owned property. The new Bill will remove the former anonymity of offshore-registered players. In principle it will be possible to legally unveil the details of the Directors and Shareholders of Alexpo IOM Ltd. In the new year the Council and the public can at last learn precisely who is involved in the Station redevelopment's joint-venture with Network Rail.

*Open here for more info.

The Register of Overseas Entities: Five things you need to know (parliament.uk)

What's next?

Elmbridge BC, its excellent legal Counsel and the Rule 6 contributors together mounted a thorough and cohesive case in this landmark appeal. Everyone has been shocked at the outcome, but we remain undeterred. Looking ahead, the Planning Inspector's perverse decision will not exhaust opposition to the development. HCRC will continue to actively engage and encourage a collaborative approach to the redevelopment of the Station. We will aim to draw together ElmbridgeBC, Historic Royal Palaces and all interested parties and Resident Groups once again to find a suitable resolution.

Thanking EBC and supporters again for your continued support

Proposed development - view across Cigarette Island to the Railway Station


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 -


or read - BBC News online copy,
"Community 'shock' over development go-ahead"


....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.


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 Consultation timeline is as follows:

Opened 17th June 2022 and closes 29th July 2022.


Alexpo's identity - S106

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.

To listen, open link here:


*Office of Rail Regulation for Network rail.


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


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.

You can submit your comments directly by email to elizabeth.humphrey@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

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 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.


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.


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.


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 Committee

- 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

Mary Brook


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.

See HRP's letter of representation, in full HERE

But your opinion is important too and will boost the 1750+ replies that the Planning Officer has already received.

Please don't miss your final opportunity to have your say on this application. Elmbridge has briefly extended the public consultation, now closing on Tuesday, 25th May.

Open this link-shortener in your browser bit.ly/3tUrDgK

Or go to:


and search application No. 2018/3810

With our thanks for your continued support.


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 submitted.

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 June.

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 unchanged.

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 ignore?
  • 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 from profits!
  • The inadequacy of the offer of 12 shared-equity 'affordable' homes versus National Policy.
  • 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.

To do this you can either follow EBC's letter* or go online to www.elmbridge.gov.uk and Planning No: 2018/3810

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 information.

The details of each amendment are lodged with Elmbridge Planning online.


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 Palace.

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 Planning Committee.

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 full HERE
  • 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 full HERE
  • 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!

Open the 'Go-Fund' link for details..... Or


.... you can skip straight to the interactive map and expand to Boatman/Hampton Court Station. Just click 'Agree' to add to the 150 already listed.


See the example shown here:/p>

With our thanks for your continued interest and support

Find us on Facebook - Twitter @HCRCMary and hamptoncourtrescuecampaign.com

*Source material:

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.


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 Station.


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:

  1. Is the CPZ the right size on the roads chosen and are the correct roads covered?
  2. The impact of the lack of plans for residents' parking permits?
  3. 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 guidelines.

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 deployed.

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

Find us on Facebook - Twitter @HCRCMary and hamptoncourtrescuecampaign.com

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 arranged.

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*


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 published.

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 beyond.

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 been cancelled.

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 Scheme

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

tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk quoting this Planning No: 2018/3810)

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...

(The full London Borough of Richmond objection to the scheme)

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 grounds

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 applications.....

Alexpo Aerial View Hampton Court development

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.

To view the plans in full, use the portal elmbridge.gov.uk/planning Plan No 2018/3810

and comment online until Thursday 21st MARCH 2019

(or see the display available at Molesey Library and at Elmbridge Civic Centre in Esher)

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


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

elmbridge.gov.uk/planning ref: number: 2018/3810

until SATURDAY 2nd MARCH 2019

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.

New Scheme Looking Towrds Hampton Court Bridge

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.

New Scheme Road Layout

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 viability.

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.

Car Parking

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 use.

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.

New Scheme Height Comparison

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.

New Scheme Elevations

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 anything further.

With our sincere thanks for your continuing help and support.


Dear Supporter,

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

elmbridge.gov.uk/planning with Planning number: 2018/3810

From now until 8th February 2018, the scheme will be open for your comments, either directly using the portal provided, or by email to tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk.

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 Car Park.
  • 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 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)

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.

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 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.

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


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.

Mary Brook

Tweet @HCRCMary


e-bulletin: 22nd June


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:


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/