Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

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New Flash 21/12/2008

Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

Press Release 21st Dec 2008

For immediate use


Hampton Court riverside falls victim to Council decision.


Local Conservative MP for Esher and Walton, Ian Taylor is exposed as being obstructive and unsupportive of the request to the Sec. of State for a Public Inquiry.

In a recent letter to Sec. of State Hazel Blears, Taylor writes:


"I should not be content if the application was called in"


"Only John Barnes, (Historic Royal Palaces) remains opposed because he claims damage to the aspect across the Thames from Hampton Court Palace.  For the life of me I cannot see the justification for his objections"


*See full text attachment*


 On Thursday evening 18th Dec, at its final hearing, Elmbridge Councillors voted to give the go ahead to the scheme for the riverside development at Hampton Court.


The motion raised by Molesey Residents Councillor, Donaldson to reject the plans was defeated,   33 votes approved the application and  23 voted against.


All 30 Conservative Councillors voted for approval of the scheme, without exception.


The issue was debated convincingly, the research comprehensive and the weight of opposition undeniable, but the Tories, from Wards far beyond Molesey had made their minds up from the outset. Cllr Kapardia (Lib. Dem), herself an Architect, went to great lengths to explain, with drawings, that the scheme being tabled was even greater than the first, previously rejected 'Boathouse' design, but not one Tory Councillor broke ranks. Even before the meeting, , a site visit was organised to help Councillors new to the issue, to familiarise themselves with the physical layout of the development, only 2 Conservative Councillors attended.


The HCRC supporters are extremely disappointed with the result, but have a clear conscience, that nothing they, Historic Royal Palaces, Thames Landscape Strategy or English Heritage could have said or done would have made the slightest difference to the result.


Bryan Woodriff, HCRC co-chair said

"Cllr Taylor (Conservative Leader of the Council) attempted to refute any accusations that his party voted en bloc, but as the evening wore on it became evident that the Conservatives had no intention of listening to any evidence which might have caused them to rethink the decision they had already reached on each previous occasion when the viability of the GladeDale proposals were meant to be debated.  The majority vote for the GladeDale plan was steam-rollered through by Councillors who represent outer wards in Elmbridge but have no representation in, and little connection with, Molesey where most concern over the proposals was being voiced"


Councillor, Roy Taylor, Leader of Elmbridge Borough Council announced at the planning meeting
"The Jolly Boatman site can hardly be seen from the Palace........"
With this thinking, and as previously mentioned, a poorly attended site visit, what were Councilors to think?
Naturally, the many thousands of the scheme's opponents feel aggrieved that MP Ian Taylor's opinions, contrary and ill-infomed have misled Hazel Blears. This has negatively affected her decision to grant a public inquiry and has left the planning decision to the mercy of  local Councillors.
The Hampton Court Rescue Campaign can only speculate as to what the outcome might have been, had Hazel Blears been properly advised.

Notes: Two resolutions were voted upon. The first called for refusal of the proposals as they stand. All Conservatives present voted against refusal, save for the deputy Mayor (Conservative) who along with the Mayor (Residents) by convention, abstained. The Conservatives then backed a second resolution to approve the proposals.

News Flash 29/11/2008

Jolly Boatman planning application update

In accordance with the Council's constitution, Members exercised the option to refer the application to an extraordinary meeting of the Full Council on Thursday, 18th December, 2008 at 7.45 p.m.

The meeting will be held in the Council Chamber at the Elmbridge Civic Centre.

To enable you to vote for the councillor that best represents your views, here is how the votes split at the meeting on 26/11/2008:

In favour of the Gladedale Scheme Against the Gladedale Scheme
R Taylor; Oatlands Park, Con;
D Archer, Esher, Con;
J V Butcher, Cobham & Downside; Con;
M A Courtney, Claygate, LD;
C J Cross, Walton North, Con;
Ian Donaldson, Hersham North, Con;
M Odone, Cobham Fairmile, Con;
D Oliver, Esher, Con;
J G Sheldon, Hersham South, Con;
M C Sheldon, Hersham North, Con;
J Sutton, Esher, Con;
B White, Oatlands Park, Con.
J Barlett, St George's Hill, SGHI;
T C Crowther, Weybridge North, LD;
I T Donaldson, Molesey South, MRA;
V G Eldridge, Molesey South, MRA;
C Gibbons, St George's Hill, SGHI;
D Lowe, Thames Ditton, TD & WGRA;
M MacLeod, Weybridge North, LD;
C Sadler, Walton Central, WS;
L Sharp, Weston Green, TD & WGRA;
J R Turner, Hinchley Wood, HWRA.
The Chairman abstained. The substitutes were - I Donaldson for Kopitko, M MacLeod for Kapadia, C R Sadler for D Walsh, J G Sheldon for D E Palmer and J Sutton for D Tipping.

A letter we have just received expresses one resident's concern about the voting - resident's letter.

The Times, 'Assault on Hampton Court Palace'

"Of all the natural wonders of England none continues to be more systematically abused than the River Thames as it passes through London. To add yet another injury, Elmbridge District Council now appears to be poised to approve a large development opposite Hampton Court Palace, on the so-called Jolly Boatman site.

The guardians of the Palace, Historic Royal Palaces, has objected vigorously. So have the London Borough of Richmond, Surrey County Council, the Thames Landscape Strategy (set up to offer well-researched guidance on just such issues) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

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

BBC News item on the Jolly Boatman development.

Watch the video here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7751501.stm


'PLANNING' Magazine 5th December 2008. Obviously Greater Manchester has a greater respect for this grade II listed tollhouse than Elmbridge Council does for Hampton Court Palace.

News Flash 27/11/2008

The reconvened Embridge Planning meeting took place last night. Its purpose, to present requested 'new material' to Councillors dealing with issues of viability, affordable housing and traffic. The Traffic proposals were presented again, having been modified only days before. The viability issue was addressed only through Martin Parker's own material, and Councillors were rightly concerned about its objectivity. Repeatedly Councillors pressed for an independent review, Councillor Crowther calling Parker's account 'Fairyland economics'. This discussion rolled over into Affordable Housing which was equally unconvincing.

In deciding this planning consent Councillors were once again asked to take a leap of faith, which 10 sensibly did not. The 12 Councillors who opted for approval of the scheme did not represent Molesey and led by Roy Taylor, towed the Conservative Party line.  

Because the result was so close, the decision will now be heard in front of a special meeting of the full Council, of 60 members, at a future date to be determined and as soon as the date is confirmed it will be posted on this website.  

Finally, the HCRC warmly thanks its supporters for giving up their evening to make their presence felt in the Public Gallery last night, it was again an excellent turnout.

Spread the word.

PS: If you haven't already done so, please ensure you've signed our on-line petition.

News Flash 18/11/2008

Please help HCRC to urgently lobby the Leader of Elmbridge Council and our Members of Parliament before the meeting on 26 November. You can download a letter to email, or send your own individual letter. 

Because Secretary of State, Hazel Blears has denied the request for a public inquiry, it is now vital that our Councillors are supported in reaching the right decision for the Hampton Court Station site.

Elmbridge Council's full Planning Committee met on Tues 11th Nov, rightly deciding by 11 votes to 10, to defer judgement on the application. The majority agreed that the report by Head of Planning's, Martin Parker, recommending the scheme, was incomplete and that too many questions had gone unanswered.

Parker dismissed the importance of the thousands of 'letters of representation' sent to his Department and when pressed was unable to supply figures, either for or against, Over and above the collective submissions by Residents Assoc. and community groups, the public should feel very aggrieved that the 3,845* individual responses opposing the scheme, has made so little impact.

A deeper examination of Surrey County Council's traffic proposals was made particularly difficult by the lack of adequate diagrams. The subject of the absent Traffic Safety Audit was raised, relevant to the pedestrian/vehicular conflict across the Riverfront Square, recognised as 'an accident waiting to happen' and also the added mileages/pollution and congestion associated with the new road layout. Parker's perfunctory explanations and reliance on the developer's own uncorroborated statistics made resolution impossible.

Gladedale's justification for the under-provision of affordable housing was challenged. This, Cllrs stressed, would need serious scrutiny, setting as it would, a precedent for other developments in the Borough.

Finally, the developer's interpretation of the 1999 Planning Brief's guidelines on build-density was strongly contested, but again using only Parker's controversial report for reference.

The resolution to defer the decision is entirely correct. Martin Parker's report is not an accurate reflection of the facts in this application and Councillors should not be asked to compromise themselves by relying on blind faith. The Councillors' concerns are shared by us all.

The Head of Planning must revise his existing report and offer it once again for public scrutiny. The next meeting of the Planning Committee on the 26th Nov. must be postponed to allow more time for public consultation.

*Extrapolated from calculations in the Full Planning meeting' Agenda 31st Oct 2008

News Flash 12/11/2008

The 11 November Planning meeting at Elmbridge to decide the fate of Gladedale's Hampton Court Station proposals went ahead.

To the surprise of those assembled, after individual addresses by Councillors of the full Planning Committee to a packed audience, a motion was carried 11 to 10 to defer the Application, pending more extensive investigation. This was specific to the impact of the traffic proposals, clarification of building density and affordable housing provision, details and statistics to be furnished in full by Gladedale.

The role of the Head of Planning, Martin Parker is now being strongly questioned, having failed to ask for clarification of these areas before making his own recommendations approving the scheme. Similarly, why he did not quiz English Heritage about its approval of the second application, after an apparent 'U turn' from the first.

Since Martin Parker's recommendations were published, there have now been two meetings of the Council's Planning Committee, there will soon be a third. HCRC supporters have been sending letters to Parker in their thousands, highlighting the very real concerns raised at last night's meeting. It is extremely frustrating to admit that he has not heeded our voices and that much time and money has and will be spent going 'back to the drawing board'.

HCRC awaits the imminent decision by the Secretary of State to grant a public inquiry. It has worked tirelessly, alongside a long line of other statutory consultees, to remove this important decision from local government, and raise it to national level.

As soon as HCRC learns of a decision from the Sec. of State, it will release an e-mail shot and post on our site.

News Flash 9/11/2008

Following an appeal by Hampton Court Palace to the Government of the South East an "Article 14" order has been placed on Elmbridge Council. This allows the Government more time to consider a case, and stop the Elmbridge from granting planning permission without the Secretary of State’s approval. The Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is expected to make a decision in the next three weeks.

John Barnes, Hampton Royal Palaces' conservation director, ridiculed the idea of “plonking down” urban buildings at the site. He wrote, “Once breached, it’s breached for ever. [The development’s] dominance and physical proximity would diminish the importance of the palace itself. It’s inconceivable to us that this would be allowed next to Hampton Court Palace. It would be unthinkable in other countries. Imagine this outside the gates of Versailles.” Read more in The Times.

News Flash 10/10/2008

Numerous local and national organisations met on 9th October to reject the scheme, these organisations included HCRC, Historic Royal Palaces, Molesey Residents Association, Thames Landscape Strategy, Conservation Area Advisory Committee, the Hampton Society, Thames Ditton/Weston Green Residents Assoc, Hampton Wick Assoc., Feltham Avenue Residents Assoc., Hampton Court Assoc. and the Friends of Bushy Park.

Any representations, objections, support or comments should be made in writing to the Head of Town Planning via email: tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk or by post to Head of Town Planning, Civic Centre, Esher KT10 9SD.

Say No to Building on Hampton Court Riverside

Over 3,000 signatures against the scheme were handed to the Mayor on 8 August.

Find out WHY WE SAY NO.

Brian Rusbridge has written a 45 page report from the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign that makes it clear why we are calling for the rejection of the Planning Proposals in their entirety. In brief, The document points out the massive size of the new development, which is 20 times the size of the existing station, the serious flood risk (the site is Flood Zone 3, the highest risk), the increased air pollution, the ground contamination from the old railway shed and turntable, and the failure to protect the natural and historic environment as the Campaign to Protect Rural England has also pointed out to the Council.

In addition, the traffic chaos and danger will be made worse and during and after the three year construction period and East Molesey streets will have to cope with the additional commuter traffic caused by closure of the railway car park and its eventual replacement with an inadequate underground car park.

The report makes it clear that the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign supports the Royal Star & Garter Homes but believes it has been "ruthlessly used as an emotional 'front'" and is concerned that it locked into a scheme that is wholly inappropriate for its needs and is worried that it may get hurt in the process. (Read the complete 45 page Adobe PDF file - if you do not have the Adobe PDF reader click here first).

What is to be done?

Read the letter from Bryan Woodriff (Professor Emeritus) Co-coordinator Hampton Court Rescue Campaign for a well considered answer to this question. 

Hampton Court Rescue Campaign is dedicated to restoring, preserving and safeguarding the future of the Hampton Court site:

• As a major tourist venue of national significance.
• As a vital component of the precinct of Hampton Court Palace.
• As an integral feature of the communities on both sides of the River Thames.

We were founded in July 2006, to fight off proposals to build an intensive development on the Jolly Boatman site directly opposite Hampton Court Palace.

Pamphlet impression:

This is the new design for the hotel but the artists impression gives a misleading idea of the size of the new development. This is clearer in the elevation shown below.

The true scale of the new development is made clear by this accurate elevation.
The new development has been outlined using a thick black line.

In summary:

Download the poster as a PDF file.