Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

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This is the part of the website that allows you to freely communicate your ideas. By using this forum, the HCRC hopes that you will share your opinions with fellow supporters and have a voice. Key individuals, national bodies and the Press will be monitoring our support through your published letters and emails, so the HCRC would greatly appreciate your valuable contribution.

Email us your thoughts at forum@hamptoncourtrescuecampaign.com
 December(go to top of page)
In the letter which I, like many others, received from the Government Office for the South East yesterday, para 5 states ... "The Secretary of State noted that both English Heritage and the Commission for Architecture supported the proposals." I spoke to a senior official at English Heritage and asked how this could possibly be true. He told me that EH are not in a position to object since the site is not listed and is therefore not within their jurisdiction. The term 'supported the proposals' is therefore deliberately misleading and as this stands as a central plank of the argument against calling in the plans that decision should be re-appraised.

We, as a group, should urge English Heritage to spot-list the site since the impact of its development will undoubtedly impact disastrously on Hampton Court Palace and its historic environs. This is quite apart from all the glaringly obvious arguments about planning and infrastructure. Clearly the greedy developers are all planning to emigrate once they've made their fortunes by blighting the landscape here. "


 November(go to top of page)
(A copy of a letter I recently sent to Ian Taylor MP.)

I am writing to you because I am frankly appalled at the manner in which this meeting was conducted last night. I should like to know why the Conservatives, en mass, are voting for this proposal, whilst the public and residents of this area, Hampton Court Palace and English Heritage can see so many flaws in the plans that apparently are not important, or have not been noticed by the elected Conservative councillors. (Perhaps they should not forget that they are elected by the people?)

Last night I was witness to an alarming lack of respect by the Conservative Councillors for the huge public numbers gathered to oppose the development - at one point calling them "Communists". I should like to know why Cllr Butcher had a private meeting with the developers and Road Safety Council and why this was sanctioned without other councillors being invited to be present - if indeed it was. To any outside eye this would seem an unwise and potentially undemocratic - bordering on underhand - action to take.

We all agree that this site needs developing, but this plan is wrong for so many reasons - lack of traffic management, drainage and over development of the site being just three.

I have been a life long Conservative voter, but I would now have to think carefully about doing so again after this dreadful display of smug, arrogant behaviour shown by all Conservative Councillors last night. Councillor Donaldson did not even open his notes or look at the maps being shown. His only comment was a childish rebuke to a member of the Molesey Residents' Society about their website. Next time he should send a cardboard cut-out to take his place. I have never witnessed such arrogance from an elected Councillor.

I would be interested to hear your views.

David Blackshaw
 November(go to top of page)

I have returned from this evenings planning meeting somewhat confused by the lack of professionalism and detail displayed at the meeting. The issues that were being discussed were of local, regional, national, international and historical significance yet it was apparent that on the eve of such any important decision there was still no distinct clarity of what is actually proposed and how the development would function?

There was conjecture about how traffic would flow, whether vehicles would turn left or right from particular junctions and no presentation of expert opinion apart from percentages of probability. Councillors struggled to vocalise their hypothesis on what might occur? Where was the computer modeling, simulation, in depth research and clear financial calculations? I am sure (hope) at some stage that technical research has be done, but why were we left with a few pathetic PowerPoint slides for councillors to struggle with to support their arguments?

It was ascertained that no independent body had assessed the financial viability of the developers calculations and whether or not they were accurate? We are basically trusting the calculations of a profit led organisation who have a vested interest in presenting a positive spin on every aspect of their proposed development. Maybe I am cynical but the council should have independent analysis of every facet of such an important development close to hand.

The end result? The arguments against vastly overshadow the reasons for, but the final decision has been deferred which gives us all a chance to shout a little louder. God save Hampton Court, Molesey and this country!


 November(go to top of page)

I have just been talking to a friend who is in the sad situation of husband being made redundant. They have three children at private school and now need to enter them into the state system. Every single junior school in Molesey, Thames Ditton and Walton have capacity waiting lists and are not accepting any more children onto their lists. When she asked what she could do she was told the only road open to them was home education !

Where do Gladedale propose the new influx of families on the Jolly Boatman site will go to school?

Jan Moor

 October(go to top of page)

Copy of letter to EBC Councillors for use on our website.

Dear Councillors,

I write to you because I am annoyed that I have been misrepresented by Gladedale.  Today I received a letter from Gladedale thanking me for my support and asking me to write to you affirming this.

I completed their questionnaire/card stating that I preferred the new "classical" style to the previous white box, but that I was unable to state that I supported it without seeing more information and detail.

They have turned this around and are stating that I support their plan which I DO NOT and have included me in their 2,200 supporting submissions!  I feel this is incredibly manipulative on their part, the questionnaire was designed in such a way that a negative response was impossible without adding extra comments (which I did, but which have obviously been ignored).  I therefore feel that there must be many others that have also completed their form - the mere act of which has been calculated as a positive response.  I therefore feel that all these 2,200 submissions supporting the plan should be ignored. 

For my part, now knowing the way they behave, I strongly object to the proposal, because if they are prepared to misrepresent the public response, I am sure they are also likely to misrepresent their own intentions.
Signed  J L
 August(go to top of page)
I've been a resident of East Molesey for several years now and love living here, I'd be ashamed of myself if I didn't speak up in opposition to the proposed plans. Why must residents of small characterful places like Molesey put up with inferior architecture and overdevelopment by big corporations after a quick buck? The kind of proposed plans might be welcome further along the river on post-industrial sites like those developed at Kingston, but this is a leafy village location! The thought of this thing going up near my home, in my village, almost makes me physically sick. It looks, unfortunately like the rot has set in, as we already have the eyesore of the new flats in Bridge Road, an architectural belch of a building. Why are people in this country so keen to fill up beautiful areas with cement and corporate rubbish?

Alexandra March

 August(go to top of page)
As a resident of East Molesey, I travel on my bicycle across Hampton Court to work in Kingston every day. I can only presume that whoever thought up the proposed transport plans has not observed the traffic during busy times, they are inherently flawed. Without hesitation, I can guarantee that these plans will massively increase congestion in Molesey and represent an increased hazard to the local area.

Anyone who has travelled during busy times along Creek Road will know that if a car reaches the end and wishes to turn right, those cars behind them back up to the roundabout very quickly, causing further congestion. With the traffic direction reversed, there will be no escape for those cars hoping to join the main road at Hampton Court Station.

There is an infant school close to bridge road without a crossing for children, any increase in traffic along Bridge Road will increase the chances of an accident with potentially tragic consequences.

Any increased traffic across Hampton Court Bridge will make this stretch of road impossibly gridlocked in the morning and at weekends. As a cyclist, I fear that those making the plans had not made any consideration for safety.

Aside from the safety concerns I have and the knock on implications of congestion and the pollution this brings, I cannot believe that Elmbridge Borough Council are even considering the scale of the development. I can't fathom how these developers so easily bully councils to maximise their profits by adding extra floors and the increased number of flats for sale that ensues. I thought that the overdevelopment of the riverbank in Kingston with massive high rise flats (painted red) have become a blot on a historic landscape. Kingston's payoff was the back handed gesture of a paid for theatre, down the line and millions of pounds worth of tax payers money (not developer's) later, we have a struggling theatre and the eyesore remains. Knowing how developers work with councils, what sweetener has been offered for this development?

Hampton Court is a national asset, would the French ever consider a development such as this alongside the Notre Dame? One quick decision now after the developers have played their time aged trick of wearing down any opposition through multiple applications, could leave an eyesore of, in my opinion one of the finest historic sites in Britain.

You may be surprised that I am, in principle, in favour of developing the Jolly Boatman site. I believe a sympathetic smaller scale development could actually improve this area close to the station. I fear that the greedy developers believe they have approval in their sites and are intent on squeezing every last penny of profit out of it.

John Lynes, East Molesey Resident

 March(go to top of page)
During the 25+ years I've lived on the riverside in Kingston and Hampton Wick I've despaired at the rapid rate of development of high density build along the river frontage. Yet again powerful developers seem to be able to despoil the river environment with an excessive and obtrusive development that will only benefit the profit margins of Gladedale and Network Rail. This development will provide nothing for the local community except to increase traffic, congestion, put additional pressure on the existing infrastructure and above all to destroy the present attractive and unique views across the river from the Palace. Is nothing sacred! I am absolutely appalled that Elmbridge council could be even considering such an unsightly and obtrusive development in an outstanding site of historic and environmental importance.

Words fail me... where will it stop?

Jenny Bourne, Hampton Wick

 (go to top of page)March
I just cannot believe that someone in their right state of mind can even suggest such an ugly building. Architects of England where are you?? This looks like an modern day service station hotel along a motorway. Why can't developers and planners not appreciate historic sites and buildings? You will be judged by history as a great failure of taste.

Brigitte Hubert, Esher

 (go to top of page)March
As a resident of Bridge Road for 21 years I am proud to live near Hampton Court Palace. I have commuted weekly to work from Hampton Court station for over 15 years. I agree that the proposals for the Jolly Boatman area and station are badly thought through, over-commercial, out-dated, ugly and not fit for purpose. I objected by letter to Elmbridge Borough Council in November 07.

I also objected in Nov to the proposal of a late-opening night club (ref 2007/0777) on the ground floor of the ugly and cheap-looking Gladedale apartment block on Bridge Road, fully visible from Hampton Court Bridge. (Incidentally as others have pointed out, these apartments sit 80% vacant after 2 years)

It seems to me that cash-greedy developers inc Gladedale would like to transform the whole area into one congested and depressing mass of Kingston-like chain shops, restaurants, clubs and hotels. Whereas the area is actually developing it's own much more appealing and up-to-date brand of individualism, modernity and charm already, left to it's own devices and the hard work and needs of its residents and visitors.

Wake up Elmbridge.

Kind regards,

Rebecca Tong

 (go to top of page)February
Residents of the Royal Star & Garter are quoted in the Press saying that it would be “absolutely devastating” if their move to a new home opposite Hampton Court Palace was “scuppered” by Elmbridge Borough Council. This has created a misleading impression.

The RS&G is caught up in a much wider and highly controversial scheme by developers Gladedale and Network Rail to build over the entire site surrounding Hampton Court Station. The home envisaged for RS&G is only one element of this, wedged in the middle of a concentrated development of high rise buildings. Elmbridge has to form a considered judgment on the scheme as a whole and cannot simply single out the RS&G as a separate entity.

It would be quite wrong to infer that if Elmbridge rejects the overall scheme, or if members of the public or relevant statutory bodies raise legitimate questions about its long term effect on the environment and the local community (e.g. flooding, traffic congestion, air pollution, over-development, destruction of the historic setting) that it is somehow disloyal to the RS&G residents currently living on Richmond Hill. Every right-thinking person would wish to see them housed in the best possible accommodation but one wonders how the RS&G Board could have allowed themselves to become embroiled in a massive scheme of this kind without at least having an alternative plan. Instead they are now involved in a highly complex planning application with its multitude of problems.

Surely it is incumbent on the Chairman, Sir John Dunt and his colleagues to tell the public and his own residents the terms of the agreement with Gladedale and Network Rail. Has RS&G been offered a financial inducement as part of the deal? Who will finance the building of the new home? Will RS&G own the building and the land it stands on? Will the Home be there for many years or will it be sold off at some future date for residential use?

It essential to find the right answer to this huge planning application. Let us do this in the best interests of the Palace, the communities for miles around and the 60 elderly ex-service men and women who seek a new home.

Yours sincerely,

James Sancroft, East Molesey

 (go to top of page)-- 30th January 2008 14:38 --
This will open up the floodgates for developers all along the riverbank. As for the station surely as paying passengers we are entitled to expect a decent station with amenities without the chain of a hotel, unaffordable housing, shops and a car park hung round our neck!! Don't lets these monkeys develop this site or we will all live to regret it.

Martyn Passey
(Village Voice Founditguide - Hampton)
 (go to top of page)-- January 2008 --
It is easy to become emotional when words such as 'heritage' are brought into an argument, so I have, as far as possible, considered the proposed Gladedale/Network Rail development without reference to its possible effect on Hampton Court Palace.

The 1999 Elmbridge Council Development Brief contains recommendations that the developer has chosen to ignore and, thus, building on the site should not exceed three storeys plus a pitched roof has translated into four storeys with a flat roof for the apartment blocks and three storeys plus a fourth, in the pitched roof, for the hotel which, because of the additional space is able to accommodate sixty plus bedrooms rather than the recommended 40. The effect of this design change on the apartment blocks is to produce three large lumps of building far better suited to an industrial estate than to any residential development. The 1999 ECDB recommends that the development …. masses appropriately with the East Molesey Conservation Area buildings. The hotel, referred to by Gladedale as 'a high quality hotel', is another piece of industrial building all too horribly visible and most certainly not below the tree canopy of the park. (ECDB).

These proposals – now formal plans and submitted to the council – have been arrived at, to quote a Gladedale representative at the November exhibition 'after consultation with local residents and other interested parties'. This 'consultation' was the responses on the 800 to 1000 feedback forms submitted after the August exhibition. (How valuable is feedback if, in response to a multi choice question about building type, Which do you prefer? There is no option: None of these. It is always possible to design a questionnaire to exclude unwanted answers.

There is a range of concerns about the underground car park: possible flooding; ease and speed of entry and egress at peak times; increased cost (car parking charges in the Molesey High Street car park have resulted in empty spaces and even greater congestion in surrounding roads); security (underground car parks are notorious for theft from cars, vandalism and mugging.); designated parking for the hotel, apartments and Star and Garter Home. On this last, a Gladedale representative said there would be one designated space per apartment in Blocks A and B but residents in Block C would be given a free permit for the first year. After which? They make their own arrangements.

Does this area of East Molesey require more apartments, cafes and shops? There are newly built, vacant, apartments on both sides of Bridge Road (some a Gladedale development). There are also empty retail units and, on a positive note, there are thriving cafés and restaurants in Bridge Road, some developed over the years in response to the lack of any refreshment at the station. They are busy, buzzing and very attractive and they serve locals and visitors alike. The station area would benefit from a Visitors' Centre, providing information about public transport, local amenities, the Palace and, possibly other historic landmarks in the area but cafes and retail outlets will either remain empty or will drain business from the local community.

Is there need for another hotel? For the majority of visitors, Hampton Court Palace is a day trip venue and, for those who wish to linger, there are already 'quality' hotels in the area.

Much has been made by the developers of the proposed transport arrangements at the station and the consequent improvements to traffic congestion on and around the bridge. A taxi rank, bus stops, a lack of private motorist drop-off points and a complete removal of coach space, meaning that all coaches will need to use the car park along the river road and, one assumes, most coaches (as some do already) will stop on the bridge to allow passengers to alight and, if the visitors are elderly, infirm or persuasive will return there to collect them. The car park has one entrance which will produce queues at peak times, thereby adding to an already congested system. Where are the improvements?

There have been significant changes to East Molesey since the 1999 Elmbridge Council Development Brief was produced: traffic over the bridge has increased; Bridge Road has developed new cafes and restaurants – and vacant apartments, Hampton Court Palace has become even more popular for tourists and school parties. Historic Royal Palaces recommend that the Development Brief should be reviewed, a view held by many local people.

Historic Royal Palaces are very much opposed to development of any kind; they favour landscaping as a continuation of the Cigarette Island profile and, in an ideal world, that would happen.

This 'ideal world' scenario exists in many European countries, where the jewels of their history are given appropriate settings. It has been said that we, the English, have so much 'heritage' that we are careless of it and, sadly, I think our carelessness encompasses many areas and, in some, we are beginning to realise what we have lost. It is very easy to say of the Jolly Boatman site 'Anything would be an improvement' but should we settle for a development that shows no regard for its environs; that reeks of maximum gain for minimum expenditure; that has the potential to damage the area and that, in a few years time, will elicit the comment "Who on earth let that happen?"


Elizabeth Candy

-- 14th January 2008 - 16:33 -- (go to top of page)
As a local, I am proud to live so close to a beautiful historical palace and enjoy regular walks to the Palace grounds, riverside and Bushy Park. I agree with everyone else who have rightly expressed their discontentment to the hideous development proposals. The Railway should be restored to compliment the historical ambience and atmosphere of Hampton Court Palace, and not renovated into an avant-garde metro point. Also, the congestion around Hampton Court station junction is already frenetic and any hotel developments will not only tarnish the landscape, it will escalate the current traffic congestion at peak times, increase pollution levels in the area and create general misery for local residents.

Please maintain the rage to oppose the plans going through!
Monique Foster
Hurst Park, W. Molesey

-- 9th January 2008 - 16:55 -- (go to top of page)
Hi, as you are aware I fully support your campaign against this development and will of course highlight the issue again at the next round of local elections in May as well as at our spring conference which this year is being held in East Molesey!!!

Our current Manifesto has the following but feel free to let me know if you want anything changed/included.

Hampton Court Palace Gardens/ Jolly Boatman site - From March 27th 2004 there has been a charge to visit the formal gardens for the princely sum of £4. We propose to move the London Eye from it's present location to the derelict area outside Hampton Court Palace Station (Formerly the location of the legendary "Jolly Boatman" music venue). Local residents will be given free admission to this attraction and be able to enjoy the best view of the gardens as the wheel spins round. Any donations/charges received to use the wheel will be used to open the public toilets at Hampton Court railway station. It is ridiculous that people visiting one of our top 5 tourist attractions have no toilet facilities. To aid the flow of visitors, we propose to divert the Eurostar to Hampton Court railway station.

Other uses for the Jolly Boatman site. Whilst we feel there is only one Molesey, we recognise the historic element of East & West. At present each area has it’s own Tesco, War Memorial & an equal number of roundabouts. We therefore propose the building of an East Molesey Hospital on the site. Alternatively, due to impending hosepipe bans, East Molesey reservoir would be constructed. Water from Loch Ness would be pumped down to stock the reservoir and after a period of time the resulting drainage of the Loch would reveal if the monster existed, thus two problems solved! Failing this, we will create a wasteland eyesore in West Molesey to retain the equal nature of the villages.

We also believe that the Jolly Boatman site should be preserved for future generations. Imagine the fun the Time Team crew will have in 500 years time unearthing disused drinks cans, old sofa’s and general rubbish from the early 21st century. In advance, for the residents of 2507, we will start the campaign to clear up the eyesore opposite the Jolly Boatman site currently known as Hampton Court Palace although by then it will probably be called Tesco Drive thru Palace or some other such nonsense. The reason for such an early start to the campaign should not be lost on those currently fighting to preserve the current eyesore from development.



Shadow Minister of Fortean Spinning & Bouncing
Official Monster Raving Loony Party

-- 13th December 2007 - 23:40 -- (go to top of page)
It strikes me as unbelievable that the architects involved do not perceive this location as a magnificent show-case for their best possible work.

To plonk a great ugly lump of mediocrity directly across the river from one of Britain's finest and most fascinating secular historic buildings shows an indescribable lack of imagination and a disregard for the spirit of Hampton Court as a place of historic significance and unparalleled atmosphere.

The design ( if that is the right word ) of these new multi storey rabbit hutches shows such astounding lack of sensitivity, or indeed any apparent notion of quality, that the company should be ashamed of themselves. It should be required that they employ the most outstanding and sensitive architect possible and not just be allowed to shove some tired old 1970s shoe-box at us.

The idea of the Star and Garter residence is inspired but the whole scheme needs to be properly worked up by someone with a sound understanding of architectural design principles and a flare for juxtaposing ancient and modern forms and materials.

The fact that we ( the local residents ) have reluctantly put up with the grot of the Jolly Boatman site for many years does NOT mean we'll accept a grotty design now.

Jenny Murray Band

-- 13th December 2007 - 15:25 -- (go to top of page)
This was the objection I sent to Elmbridge:

I was concerned that if I had lodged a comment at the exhibition at The Mitre Hotel it might not have been submitted as a Letter of Representation. This is the case with one submitted by my wife which does not appear in the Planning Application documents. If one has been omitted, how many others have been?

I wish to register my objection to the proposals on the following grounds:
a) Hotel
b) Car Parking
c) Traffic Interchange
d) Retail & Commercial floorspace
e) 'Thinking outside the box'

a) Hotel
- The design of the building is hideous and is supposed to reflect the character buildings in the vicinity. It shows no imagination and in such a prestigeous location the design should have been put out to Achitects such as Norman Foster or the local company Octagon. Rather than purporting to 'mirror' other buildings, I consider that it would be better to have a futuristic design that would have a 'wow' factor when viewed from the Palace. The proposed design looks more like a prison or something a primary school child would come up with.
- When speaking to the Gladedale representative about which hotel group they were negotiating with, I was told that they had 12 companies interested. The problem with the present design is that it is being done 'on the cheap' and would only attract the lower end of the hotel market. This end of the market also has particular 'house styles' and the proposed design would not meet their criteria. Hampton Court does not want a '****** Break' type hotel, but needs a luxury hotel to take advantage of the wonderful vista, the design for which should be as my first point.

b) Vehicle Parking
- I realise that the Planning Brief sets down criteria for number of spaces for each type of use. The 33 spaces for residential will prove to be totally useless, unless there is a stipulation that they are only sold to people with one car! Common sense dictates that people who will be able to afford such housing will have more than one car. I was told that spaces over one per unit would have to pay for space in the underground parking, so reducing the available spaces for commuters and visitors.
- I asked about the parking spaces for the care home and was told that they would be for staff, so visitors will have to pay to visit their relatives. This will place a further demand on the commuter and visitor parking.
- I am sure that the same applies to the hotel, so possibly 40+ spaces will be taken out of the number of commuter and visitor spaces.
- If the parking problem is not properly addressed, rather than hiding behind planning constraints, the street parking by commuters and visitors will 'creep' further into Molesey. At present, Palace Road, Wolesey Road and Hurst Road are a nightmare to negotiate with cars parked on both sides of the road. I can foresee that Bridge Road, Arnison Road and the northern end of Church Road will become as congested. This will then link up with the road congestion in Molesey Village created by the high Shoppers Carpark fees.
- In the earlier Planning Briefs, there was provision for coaches, which does not seem to have been addressed. I expect that the developers are expecting the coaches to 'drop-off' and park elsewhere. Elsewhere would seem to be lay-bys on Hampton Court Way provided for emergency parking. or the Hampton Court Green car park, which will place increased demand on the commuter and visitor parking on the site.

c) Traffic Interchange
- The proposal for bus egress from the site does nothing to address the problems caused by the need to 'pull across' Hampton Court Way to travel over Hampton Court Bridge.
- The entry/exit for the underground car park will create a potential 'accident spot' when vehicles speeding away from the pedestrian lights towards Esher are confronted with a line of waiting cars. A similar problem will occur when fast moving traffic coming from Esher is confronted by cars trying to turn right across Hampton Court Way towards Kingston.
- The provision of another pedestrian light controlled crossing to the South of the Creek Road junction will provide an added disruption to the traffic flow along Hampton Court Way.

d) Retail & Commercial floorspace
- There are 29 restaurant/coffee bar/snack bar/pubs within a ¼ miles of the Palace, not including the rebuilt Joshua Tree which seems not to have attracted any buyers. With this number of food outlets, why does the village need more. All that it will do is to create unneeded extra competition.
- This also applies to the proposed retail outlets, which, unless they are of a specialist nature appropriate to the village, will cause problems to existing local shops.

e) 'Thinking outside the box'
- At least the last three developers have not considered the impact that their proposals would have on the locality. They have not sought to discuss with other Agencies how best to address the problems caused on Hampton Court Way outside the Station. These problems are caused by traffic turning both ways from four traffic junctions, together with the pedestrian lights, which are the only way some traffic is able to turn across Hampton Court Way. Attached is a proposal for a 'kidney' shaped island that was included in one of the plans put forward in the 1990s. This proposal, linked with the Molesey Residents' Association proposal to make Bridge Road a Pedestrian Only area, would address the traffic congestion/flow and bring some tranquility to the 'Bridge Foot' area.
- The 1990s plan also suggested building a ticket office off the site and extending the platform length, so freeing a large are of the site for better use, which is shown on the attached. This proposal was rejected out of hand by Network Rail, because of the engineering work involved. There should be 'give and take' in all projects to achieve the best for the locality. If Network Rail had been more receptive then a further decade would not have passed.
- Again, the 1990s plan, sought to secure the strip of land on the other side of the River Ember, adjoining the Kingston Grammar School sports ground, to provide coach parking. Bridge supports exist that would allow a roadway to link the two sites. A copy of the plan for this site is shown attached.

We only have one chance to get the best use of the last undeveloped prestigeous site upstream of Hammersmith Bridge. Please do not allow this site to be 'raped' in the interest of commercial expediency.

R H Moore

-- 6th December 2007 - 16:35 -- (go to top of page)
Dear campaigners

I picked up your flyer at the exhibition at The Mitre on 16 November, and have been studying it and other information since.

While I agree with some of the objections to the development, on the whole I feel that the site is just so awful at the moment that we should go ahead on this basis - hopefully with some final amendments. We could spend many more years getting everyone to agree on a final design, while the site continues to deteriorate!

The things I object to are:

a.. the scale of the new buildings: they appear much larger than anything nearby
b.. the block-like design of the east-facing frontage. I saw other designs in the Gladedale portfolio which were much more harmonious, using broken fronts and towers etc. to make a basically rectangular building less obtrusive. (Unfortunately I can't remember the names of these other buildings)
c.. the bright colour and plain surface of the new building, totally different to the station (though I have a feeling that it would mellow and that we'd get used to it over time!)
d.. new hotel - do we really need another one? It will need a lot of extra parking space
The things I like about it are:
a.. the fact that the Star and Garter will get a building much more suited to their needs
b.. the opening up of the riverside area for public use
c.. the refurbished station, with useful new facilities like loos
d.. new restaurants and shops, which should make the area attractive and boost local businesses
e.. tourist office, which will be very useful for visitors
f.. putting the car park underground
g.. considering the needs of pedestrians - of whom there will be many - along with cars and buses
I hope these comments are helpful.

Janet Evans

-- 4th December 2007 - 10:59 -- (go to top of page)
I fully support the comments made by Peter Black on this Forum - The site is a mess and has been for years, but the proposals are simply not appropriate. The developers need to think again and work with the council and local people to achieve a balance.
-- 1st December 2007 - 13:03 -- (go to top of page)
I'm going to come straight to the point.
This new and frankly ugly development plan is an outrage. If this plan were to become permanent, it wouldn't be the first time that buildings were built in Hampton Court/East Molesey, that frankly destroy the historic feel surrounding it and scar the landscape. i.e the new flats on Bridge Road.

People seem to be forgetting what sort of an area this is. Apart from it's old beauty, this area is home to Hampton Court Palace, so all new developments MUST fit in with the one tourist site here which makes this area so special. This seems obvious.
The fact that such plans are even being considered is outrageous. Have they no respect for the heritage? Will this become yet another spoiled site? The designs proposed in the development plan are far too modern for this area. They will stick out like a soar thumb and spoil the surroundings, taking attention away from the the beauty of old standing listed homes and indeed the Palace itself.

Once a development of this scale is undertaken and completed, there is no turning back without serious financial loss. Therefore, any plans proposed must be sensitively designed and considerately placed.

The restoration and development needed for Hampton Court Station and the Jolly Boatman are clear; but they must be done with respect to the surrounding architecture and heritage of East Molesey/Hampton Court and to the people who live here.

It takes an artist to create something of true beauty which will compliment the area and age well with the historical architecture which has been rooted here for many years. Let us hope there is someone out there with the skill and heart to undertake such a delicate task.

G. English

(go to top of page)
Elevations are appalling. The hotel looks like a cheap warehouse design for a downmarket industrial estate or a Holiday Inn, the Star and Garter homes and flats are a mediocre, 1970`s style corporation build.

Nothing relates to the Tudor Hampton Court Palace, the 18th century Mitre Hotel or the Lutyen`s Bridge over the River Thames.

Significant health and safety issues have not been addressed in relation to the precipitous terracing planned for the river frontage. Safety here is glaringly inadequate giving yet more evidence of an architecturally and environmentally ill-conceived project.

But, it is clearly a project that should not have been entrusted to a development company without the over riding vision of talented architects such as Sir Richard Rogers. The "approach," needs to be, "characterised by patient craftsmanship, deep understanding, and aesthetic rigour," (Steve Ross on Peter Zumthor, Guardian Newspaper Arts section, p.24, 19/11/2007).

The current derelict river frontage provides a unique opportunity to repair past planning errors and create landscaped terraces and gardens to preserve, in perpetuity, the unique view of Hampton Court Palace. This can then capitalise with aesthetic and intellectual rigour, on the development potential of the rest of the site.

It is not just any place in the Borough of Elmbridge or for that matter in England. It overlooks a Royal Palace renowned the world over and visited by thousands each year. A national and an international site, where maximising profits should take secondary consideration to enhancing the historical environment and tourist potential, even if this requires finance at national level. In the final analysis from across the River Thames, it is directly viewed by Hampton Court Palace.

Sheila Stiling Ward

-- 25th November 2007 - 16:34 -- (go to top of page)
The idea that anything should or could be built to block the view of Hampton Court Palace (one of the most important historic sites in this country) and the beautiful trees on cigarette island, horrifies me.
Hampton Court Station and the Jolly Boatman site are a disgrace and certainly need individually maintaining and improving......... What potential there is for appropriate landscaping and enhancing of this unique historic view !!!! My big fear is that where the council is concerned "grey,bureaucratic, group-think" will lead their decision.
Gladedale need to realize that they are up against something bigger than making a profit .
All the best for winning this important battle.
Sue Slaughter
-- 22nd November 2007 - 18:48 -- (go to top of page)
I have read the leaflet “Hampton Court Station Residents Newsletter - Issue 3” and visited the exhibition of plans at The Mitre Hotel.

As a resident of East Molesey for the past 13 years, and one who frequently uses the station and drives across the bridge, I applaud the decision finally to address redeveloping the eyesore that greets visitors from across London, the UK and the world. The station, with its dishevelled appearance and total lack of amenities, is an absolute disgrace as the gateway to a World Heritage site.

Any progress will arouse my interest. Any imaginative plan will get my support. Alas, this plan is not it! It beggars belief that any architect could come up with designs so disharmonious with the surroundings and so disloyal to the historic treasure across the river. Here is an exclusive opportunity to develop a site (and I am in favour of its commercial development as opposed to its mere landscaping) in keeping with the tradition and history of the area.

These proposed plans are prosaic. The “quality” hotel looks like a warehouse, the residences, including the Star and Garter, resemble pre-fabs from the fifties – dull, uniform box-blocks. The station, far from being integrated into the design, sits alongside like an orphaned child. Where, oh where, is the vision? Where is the ambition? Where is the civic pride?

Little or no attention appears to have been paid to traffic flow in the planning. The whole area is a notorious bottleneck throughout the day. I would have thought that the amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic caused by 66 new homes, a high quality hotel, restaurants, shops and a care home – all in addition to a busy railway station – would warrant seamless integration of traffic and structural development.

I am a local resident, not an architect nor a town planner. I am in favour of commercial development but I am against what I perceive to be the replacement of one eyesore with another. This site deserves more respect. Please think again.

Peter Black

-- 19th November 2007 - 16:33 -- (go to top of page)
Having also attended the exhibition last Friday, I agree with all the other respondents that the proposed designs are ghastly and totally inappropriate.

I'd like to report on the discussion I had with the Gladedale Homes representatives at the exhibition. I admit I made my views on the designs clear from the outset.

1) They claimed that, unlike me, most people were really positive about the plans; I was obviously an exception. This ties in with their very dubious claim in their Residents Newsletter, that the vast majority of responses to the earlier exhibition had been in support of their proposals.

2) They claimed that the designs were true to the Elmbridge development brief of 1999; thus " no more than 3 storeys and a pitched roof" have been interpreted as 4 storeys and a flat roof for the apartments, and the 4th storey in the roof for the hotel. It's hard to believe that the "25% residential development" in the brief has been complied with - presumably the Star & Garter home doesn't count?

3) When asked what sort of people they thought would want to buy the apartments, whether they would be 1 or 2 bedroomed, and in what sort of price range they would be, they said this hadn't been considered; at this stage they were just concerned with the outside. Given the unsold (probably overpriced) apartments on the Zizzi's site and at the end of Bridge Road, this seems strange - but maybe these reps were simply not well briefed. One of them said airily "all properties sell in the end".

4) When I suggested that it could be thought cynical of Gladedale Homes deliberately to leave the Jolly Boatman site in a disgusting state, I was told that it was not cynical - just "business sense".

What angers me is the idea that such a mediocre company could possibly be entrusted with producing a scheme for such an important site, when it is so obvious that they are driven simply by "business sense".

Linda Burkitt East Molesey
-- 19th November 2007 - 16:16 -- (go to top of page)
Dear Sirs

We have read your site with interest. We make the following observations:-

1 We generally support your stance in this complex and important matter and much appreciate the time, trouble and energy being devoted. 2 We believe the site should be largely left undeveloped with attractive hard and soft landscaping to the River frontage, though there could be low density development at the southern end. 3 This must be accompanied by proper parking facilities and proper resolution of the traffic problems in the immediate area. 4 There could be some limited catering and newsagent facilities. We doubt the viability of any retail content beyond that 5 We doubt the viability of a hotel use and fear that a poor operator would prejudice the quality of the site. 6 It is indeed important that the station is properly refurbished. 7 The architecture of the current proposals strikes us as being of a lamentably low standard.

Best wishes

Mike and Jane Stephens

-- 18th November 2007 - 13:48 --(go to top of page)
Feedback to the proposal from Galdedale, Network Rail and The Royal Star and Garter Homes viewed at The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court Saturday 17 November 2007

Dorothy and I visited the exhibition yesterday and were appalled at the latest iteration of the development plan which their marketing said had been arrived at after consultation with local residents and other interested parties. When asked for details of the consulting residents it was stated that this had taken place through the last exhibition process where some 800/1000 feedback forms had been submitted.There was however no formal resident input other than that into the design now submitted, misleading to say the least!

As far as the Gladedale part of the development is concerned, which by the way is far smaller than we realised, the terrace appears to be lacking any design 'wow', some good sculpture, fountains/water features, light reflecting polished stainless steel or other material surfaces would have gone some way to persuade residents that the architects actually realised that they were dealing with a very special site. The steps are far too steep and dangerous, large areas of cold grey granite make no connection with the Palace whatsoever.

The hotel is described as being 'high quality', we would suggest that it looks like a typical cheap French hotel chain outlet such as Sofitel or one of those. Talking to the representative from the firm of architects it appears that they have intentionally produced what they believe to be a middle of the road, down market design that won't cause too much resistance from we residents. An iconic building would cause far too much outcry and delay things even more. We believe that the whole site should be the subject of a design competition open to all to achieve the level of excellence that the site deserves. This approach we were told by a fellow resident at the exhibition is typical of Gladeale, who by the way are responsible for the poorly designed building at the end of Bridge Road across from Zizzi's.

The station and it's new 'transport interchange' appear to us to be out of step with the rest of the development, if we are going to keep our Victorian station it should be the one thing that informs the rest of the design. We are not suggesting a pastiche but asking that architects use their creativity to ensure that it complements rather than detracts from the overall feel of the development.Network rail are desperate to milk their land assets and we should do every thing possible to ensure that we fight the level of mediocrity now being offered. The proposed set up would appear to give us less access to drop off and pick up than exists at present.

Car parking was discussed by almost every visitor at length, with the people representing the development but most notably between the visitors themselves. The idea that there will only be 50% a car parking space per apartment is ludicrous in the extreme. There appears to be an assumption that people won't need to use cars because of the public transport available. This may adhere to Government policy, (so they tell us) but the reality is that the transport available is limited and infrequent. There is also a security issue in their design for parking. Using underground car parks late at night is asking for trouble. Our police persons in this area do their best with what resources they have but alone in an underground car park at night, no thanks.

The remainder of the development is so lack lustre it is sad that they would even suggest that it represented an acceptable architectural offering for a site such as this. The Stalag blocks are similar to any that you would see in towns and industrial sites across the country by jobbing architects who turn them out almost by rote. It is even sadder that The Royal Star and Garter Homes are willing to buy in to the proposed design in order to fit their purpose and provide us with a guilty trip for possibly delaying the development.There is, in our opinion no co-hesion of design between the various entities. This development deserves better from all parties involved. Hopefully our representatives in Surrey and Elmbridge will have the courage to ensure that we are not short changed.

My wife wishes to state that her preference would be for the whole site to be cleaned up and landscaped. She is however aware that this is unlikely in the commercial world in which we live but would ask that you consider producing harmony rather than the obvious ugly profit driven proposal now on the table!

Christopher and Dorothy Phipps

-- 17th November 2007 - 20:00 -- (go to top of page)
Dear HCRC,

I visited the above today and was greatly dismayed at the designs on display. The hotel building, which resembled a cheapo version of a Travel Lodge, could at best be described as hideous. And the square flat roofed accommodation blocks were similarly devoid of any architectural merit.

Despite Gladedale's stated response to earlier consultation, the site continues to suffer from overdevelopment to enable Gladedale and their cohorts at Network Rail to extract the maximum return at the expense of a quality development. My sympathies were with the many at the exhibition who were giving Gladedale a hard time. There was considerable anger that a property developer, aided and abetted by the same Network Rail that is too arrogant even to reply to complaints about the inadequacies of existing Station facilities, could attempt to disfigure such an historic location.

Whilst developers come and go, local residents and visitors to Hampton Court have to live with the consequences of what they leave behind for decades and even centuries to come. Which is why it is vital we resist the allure of a 'quick fix' to clear up the mess Gladedale have allowed to persist at their Jolly Boatman site. And why we should be prepared to go to any lengths necessary to ensure we end up with a design which stands the test of time. Apart from its impact on Hampton Court Palace, it is a fact that the Station site is so visible as the gateway to our town that it effectively defines Molesey.

My thanks to all those conducting the rescue campaign,

Peter Aron

-- 17th November 2007 - 17:18 -- (go to top of page)
I viewed the plans at The Mitre on Friday, 16th Nov. and was duly underwhelmed, just as I was two years ago at the previous presentation. The outstanding blot on the proposed landscape is that stark, rectangular, prison block (hotel) with a pitched roof thrown in to add 'local flavour'. No attempt to blend to the Victorian character of the locality whatsoever and the hard open space & steps only accentuate the bare, unimaginative, picture.

One basic question springs to mind though, which is that if the interested parties from the preservation point of view agree that landscaping the area and restoring the station, while keeping the car park with perhaps the provision of a tourist information facility and cafe on the site, is the best solution, is there any realistic chance of this outcome winning the day against the pressure to utilise a "brownfield" site for more housing? Or, would a campaign with more realistic aims i.e. to allow a low rise (two or three storey) development of the site have a better chance of success?

Mike Cross
West Molesey

-- 17th November 2007 - 15:59 -- (go to top of page)
We both feel that the artist's impression shows a warehouse !!! Very unattractive and certainly not in keeping with the local arcitecture. Extra traffic would cause even more congestion and the views when arriving at Hampton Court Station would be ruined.

The Star & Garter would get better value if they were not in the Hampton Court Area which is very over priced. The plans as shown still give too higher density for the area and are still much too high.

Sally & Mike Kennis

-- 17th November 2007 - 13:19 -- (go to top of page)
Dear HCRC:

Just got back from the Public Exhibition at the Mitre. I'm not averse to development on the site, but the flats and the Star & Garter homes look like cheap student accommodation. I'm not asking for some Tudor pastiche, but both developments need to hint at the history over the river. Their design simply isn't creative or striking enough. The same goes for the hotel. Frankly, It's all wretchedly pedestrian. OK for Croydon or Crawley, but not for such an important national site as this. If it goes ahead, we're all going to have to endure it for the next half century at least.

Actually, I'm not sure they aren't trying to stuff too much on the site. There could be the most appalling traffic gridlock. And will it be tranquil enough for the Star & Garter residents? The design incorporates anti-flood measures. But are they tough enough? I'm not sure they are.


Stephen Webbe

-- 16th November 2007 - 17:10 -- (go to top of page)
The plans as exhibited at the Mitre Hotel today 16th November 2007.

Elevations appalling. The hotel looks like a cheap warehouse design for a downmarket industrial estate. The Star and Garter homes and flats like mediocre 1970`s corporation build. Health and safety is glaringly inadequate on the precipitous terracing to the river frontage. If this last factor has been overlooked then we can but assume that this is yet another example of fly -by - night developers out to make a quick buck!
Development here is long overdue but the now derelict river frontage must be left as landscaped terraces and gardens to preserve, in perpetuity, the unique view of Hampton Crt.
Sheila Stiling Ward

-- 5th October 2007 - 09:36 -- (go to top of page)
We agree entirely with the sentiments expressed in H M Newmarch's email of 5 July 2007.
David and Helen Belchamber
-- 5th July 2007 - 11:33 -- (go to top of page)
The site currently needs clearing up and improving, but that does not mean by any old commercial development.

On such a sensitive site screening is vital. Learn from some of our national parks. Natural screening ie trees must be in place before building can start. Then any building must rise only to the level which that screening protects the view from the Palace and its grounds. That is the only way to ensure that this particular site does not compromise the integrity of our national heritage.

Once built, covenants etc must be in place to ensure the spirit of the permission is followed and suitable maintenance rigorously undertaken so that the main approach to the Palace is in keeping with the importance of the Palace itself.

Personally I would favour low key visitor information facilities and perhaps an 'up market' NT style cafe to benefit all travellers.

H. M. Newmarch

-- 5th July 2007 - 17:39 -- (go to top of page)
I cannot begin to tell you how much I agree with your aims to keep the area around Hampton Court Palace open and free of further development.
  Your station should be restored to make it 'The Gate way to Hampton Court' I have visited the palace on several occasions, twice for the flower festival and the sight of the palace across the water takes my breath away, it is so beautiful.
  Please please keep fighting your local planners. I was born and brought up in Chester and our local planners deserve to be 'hung, drawn and quartered' for the havoc they have wrecked on my once lovely city.
  The very best of luck to you.
  Regards, Susan Fellows
-- 11th July 2007 - 13:36 -- (go to top of page)
All attempt should be made to keep development away from such an historical, and locally beautiful embankment!! Once building starts there will no end of attempts to continuw pushiong for more building. The present Brown era has begun with the building of homes and developers will be ful on. This site should be preserved for all. Once built up it belongs to a few.

Sharron Robertson