Hampton Court Rescue Campaign

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The HCRC was founded in July 2006, to fight off proposals by a house-building company the Glade Dale Group who, in partnership with Network Rail, aim to build an intensive development in Molesey. This will encompass Hampton Court Railway Station and an adjoining site, the now derelict, former ’Jolly Boatman’ public house at a prominent riverside location opposite Hampton Court Palace.

Opposition from local residents to the scheme forms the core of this campaign, although the HCRC works tirelessly to bring this issue to the wider audience who wish to see these speculative development proposals quashed. The HCRC continues to lobby key national organizations, Residents Associations, Government Departments and Ministers to extend its range of support. Amongst many others HRH the Prince of Wales, English Heritage, the Thames Landscape Strategy and the Departments of the Environment and Transport have been informed of the strength of objection to this development. In particular the HCRC continues to pursue Network Rail to account for its role in the poor maintenance of the Railway Station, which presents to arriving visitors a disgraceful first impression of this famous historic area. Network Rail has consistently failed to respond to letters sent on behalf of the more than 3000 supporters who signed our petition.

The HCRC is determined to safeguard in perpetuity, the unique setting of the Palace and its heritage for the Nation, by pressing for

  • The Jolly Boatman, in keeping with the existing riverside, should be cleared, landscaped and left free from all development.
  • That for arriving visitors, the Station should be seen as the ‘Gateway’ to Hampton Court Palace. The Station should be comprehensively restored, to incorporate amenities worthy of this major tourist attraction.
  • The station car park should be retained and should not be built on.
  • The outline proposals of Network Rail and GladeDale Homes are unacceptable and should be withdrawn.

The HCRC share the same objectives as Historic Royal Palaces, the Charity responsible for the stewardship of the Palace. The HCRC unequivocally supports the recommendations of Historic Royal Palaces, that the vista to and from the Palace, looking across the river, should be preserved as riverside parkland and kept free of development. The grounds for doing so are made clear in the report commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces, 2004, written by Colvin and Moggridge, Landscape Architects, entitled “Historic Landscape Assessment and Landscape Strategy for the Hampton Court Station/Jolly Boatman site” (Link to Historic Royal Palaces via the Homepage).

The HCRC and HRP jointly push for an urgent review of the Elmbridge Borough Council’s own Development Brief (1999) for the area, which appears to allow for and even actively encourage building on the site. The Brief is now out of date and bears no relationship to the material changes that have taken place since. (Link to Development Brief via the Homepage).

Hopefully the Council’s directives will be reconsidered and superseded in the light of a recently published Government White Paper, ‘Heritage Protection for the 21st Century’, presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, March 2007. Contained therein is a framework that will assist local planning authorities to use greater powers to preserve historic sites and buildings. It will reduce uncertainty and help to strengthen planning policy when considering vulnerable heritage sites. (Link to the White Paper 2007 via the Homepage).

At community level, development of the station raises key issues, not least for local businesses. Visitors arriving by train may have most of their needs met within the new station development, thus having little need to cross the busy trunk road to shop in Molesey.

HCRC are seeking professional advice on the subjects of traffic infrastructure, car-parking, environmental concerns, flood-risk and light/sign pollution as examples. These will be expanded upon as soon as possible and will be posted here.

Car parking in particular, has become a sensitive subject, resulting from the recent introduction of local parking tariffs. Already local residents are witnessing the growing congestion of their side streets due to the charging. This may be a portent for the future once the option to park at the station is removed.

As a pressure group the HCRC is working vigorously to alert and inform its supporters of the progress of this campaign. Using local and national newspapers, campaign posters, flyers, petitions and canvassing, the HCRC are keeping the campaign flame burning. (Link to Publicity and Press via the Homepage).

Using the technology available, we hope that the HCRC website will be an accessible, up-to-the-minute source of news and views, with the facility to allow its supporters to exchange information and ideas. The HCRC gathered 3000+ names to its petition on the streets and hopes that the website will bring these names and more together in this forum.

Please join our Web petition, details of which are linked via the Homepage. Also, we want you to use this website to express your views, so please have your say. (Link via the Homepage).