Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

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The Jolly Boatman site today is in a state of disrepair and it is our belief that the owner should landscape the site even if this means simply covering it in grass. Hampton Court Palace has offered to help with the landscaping but we have seen little work carried out since its sale to the Mecca Group in 1966. The Jolly Boatman traded until the 80’s as a modest wooden-clad single storey restaurant, when it was closed down.

Over the years, the site has passed through various developers’ hands, each failing to secure planning permission from Elmbridge Borough Council for redevelopment. With each successive owner, further deterioration and dereliction has followed, with unsuccessful intervention by the local authorities to remedy this neglect.

Today, as overgrown scrubland, full of rubble and rubbish, there are continuing concerns about ‘health and safety’. This is the deplorable spectacle that greets visitors arriving to enjoy this world-acclaimed tourist attraction, Hampton Court Palace. Furthermore, Hampton Court Flower Show, one of the greatest horticultural events is staged here annually. Whilst every effort is made to beautify the roadways and station for the event, the garden-conscious patrons of the show must find the neglected site a sad paradox.

Its disgraceful condition is the tipping-point of local opinion, a few prepared to sacrifice the site to development in order to rid Molesey of this eyesore. The railway station also comes in for criticism, being badly maintained for a public building, lacking any suitable amenities and services expected by the many hundreds of thousands of visitors who arrive by rail every year.

Used by commuters, the large Station car park also provides a vital overflow for tourists visiting Hampton Court Palace. With limited facilities and much increased visitor volumes, particularly during special events, the station parking is invaluable. Together with the introduction of restricted parking in Bridge Road, spaces are at a premium and it is difficult to envisage how parking will be affected by the limitations of the proposed underground, replacement car park.

The traffic interchange at Hampton Court Station is also a challenge. Hindered by the natural bottleneck of the adjacent river-bridge, which is fed by major trunk roads to each side, the Station also sees the Terminus of 4 bus services and a drop-off point for tourist busses and coaches. The proposed, intensive development at the station will substantially add to the difficulty with which traffic moves in and out of Borough.

The nearby river bridge is the walkway that connects the Railway Station to the Palace at Hampton Court. Designed by the famous architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, it allows for a seamless promenade to and from the trains, with wide, open views up and down the Thames and elevated views of the Palace.

As part of its campaign and with combined pressure from the local authority, the HCRC is dedicated to the improvement of the station area as a whole, sooner than and unrelated to a development on the site.