Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

 Historic Royal Palaces 

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Following the recent public exhibition of Gladedale’s planning proposals for the Jolly Boatman and Station sites, Historic Royal Palaces has reviewed the plans and issued its response through the Media, in the form of the following Press Release, 7th December.

Press Release
Friday 7 December 2007
Elmbridge planners urged to protect Hampton Court Palace

Historic Royal Palaces, the charity responsible for Hampton Court Palace, has formally objected to the proposed planning application scheme at Hampton Court Station and the Jolly Boatman site, urging Elmbridge planners to refuse consent for the development.

In a detailed 8-page letter to Elmbridge Borough Council Planners, John Barnes, Conservation and Learning Director clearly laid out Historic Royal Palaces’s many objections to the controversial scheme. He stated, “As guardians of Hampton Court Palace, we have very serious concerns regarding the proposed development of this site and its potential impact on the setting of the palace, its gardens and park, and the surrounding area.”

His letter urged the Council to refuse consent for development, citing significant concerns and planning policies over the following:

  • The impact on the setting of Hampton Court Palace* Studies have shown that any development on the Jolly Boatman site will have a serious detrimental effect on the setting of the palace, hence Historic Royal Palaces have always advocated the site be cleared and landscaped as a continuation of the rural parkland of neighbouring Cigarette Island. The sheer scale and density of the proposed development, including the four-storey hotel with a hard urban-style landscape linking it to the river, is inappropriate and out of place in East Molesey.
  • Impact on views of and from Hampton Court Palace* The scale, massing and height of the proposed development would have a significant impact on views of the palace from the train station and immediately surrounding area, particularly due to the proposed riverside hotel. Important views of the palace from East Molesey and the station will be blocked or adversely affected.
  • The impact on the River Thames* The scale and design of the proposed development does not maintain or enhance the unique character of the river, due to the monolithic nature of the overall design and its considerable height and bulk, particularly of the hotel building fronting the river.
  • The wider impacts on Hampton Court Palace’s role within the local area* including the impact on the experience of visitors coming to the palace and traffic management issues.
  • Other relevant issues* including parking and the repair/restoration of the existing station building. (*please see accompanying letter for detail on the above)

He concluded his letter, “Historic Royal Palaces is responsible not only for conserving and maintaining the palaces in its care, but also for seeking to protect the settings of their important historic sites. The significance of Hampton Court Palace, its gardens and estate is beyond question. The palace’s setting by the river Thames, which survives largely intact, was a key attraction for the kings and queens who built and used it and remains so for all who visit it. Whilst we recognise that improvement of the Hampton Court station area is badly needed, we will continue to argue that the former Jolly Boatman site should remain undeveloped and should be landscaped as an extension to Cigarette Island in order to protect the vitally important setting of the palace.

We maintain that an appropriate planning solution for the whole site included in this application must recognise the historic significance of the area and the criteria proposed in Historic Royal Palaces’ recent studies. The application proposals fail to do so insofar as they address the river frontage and Palace beyond. We therefore strongly urge the Council to refuse consent for the development as proposed in these applications.”

The letter of objection to Elmbridge Borough Council was accompanied by a Historic Landscape Assessment and Landscape Development Strategy for the Hampton Court Station/Jolly Boatman site study commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces in 2005.

Notes to editors:

For further information and interview requests please contact Vikki Wood in the Press Office at Historic Royal Palaces on 020 3166 6166/6304 or email vikki.wood@hrp.org.uk or visit our website www.hrp.org.uk

Historic Royal Palaces

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built.

We receive no funding from the Government or the Crown, so we depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors.

These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

We believe in four principles. Guardianship: giving these palaces a future as long and valuable as their past. Discovery: encouraging people to make links with their own lives and today’s world. Showmanship: doing everything with panache. Independence: having our own point of view and finding new ways to do our work.

For further information about Historic Royal Palaces visit our website www.hrp.org.uk

Registered charity number 1068852

The HCRC is proud to offer Historic Royal Palaces its support in this matter. Historic Royal Palaces has for many years been pressing for the clearing and landscaping of the Jolly Boatman site offering its own resources and assistance, in the absence of a successful enforcement order by the Local Authority.

Two studies were commissioned by HRP in 2004 and 2005, on ways to safeguard and manage the views, to and from the Palace, titled ‘Hampton Court Palace Views Management Plan’ and specifically, ‘Historic Landscape Assessment and Landscape Development Strategy for the Hampton Court Station/ Jolly Boatman Site’, prepared by Colvin and Moggridge, Landscape Architects. Serious concerns were raised in the reports, that development of the Boatman site would be seriously detrimental to the views and visual landscape of the Palace. Moreover, the rural character of the adjoining area would be affected, and recommended that the Elmbridge Development Brief should be reviewed. (The two studies can be seen in full at www.hrp.org.uk)

The report stressed

‘The Hampton Court Station/Jolly Boatman site is of particular concern, due to its proximity to the Palace. The weakness of the Development Brief (Elmbridge Borough Council 1999, see Homepage) for the site, if followed, could allow considerable harm to the setting of the Palace’

The HRP report made its own proposals.

‘There should be no built development on the Jolly Boatman site – the ground should be re-graded to form a grassy slope down to the river to open views onto the water, with the Palace beyond…. The site should be managed as an extension of the Cigarette Island park and parkland trees planted along the river to restore the Arcadian setting of the Palace’.
‘There should be no built development east of the station. The station car park should be retained as a hedged car park, but laid out with trees to reduce the visual impact of parked cars on the station site and to enhance views to, from the Palace, Barge Walk and the Banqueting House. The open sky behind the trees, above the level of the station roof, should be retained to maintain an illusion of depth of open space’.
The station, designed by Tite should remain in its current position and should be restored. It is the principle point of arrival for Hampton Court Palace’.

An important concern of the HRP and Hampton Court Rescue Campaign is the impact the redevelopment scheme will have on the businesses of our local traders and their livelihood. As a consequence of the development’s proposed shops, cafes and restaurants, visitors arriving at, or returning to the Station, will have little need to cross over the busy trunk road into Bridge Road and East Molesey.
HCRC extends all possible assistance to Historic Royal Palaces, English Heritage and other partisan groups, in their efforts to bring about the over-turning of this planned development.