• Option 3 Marble Hill Park [and Orleans Gardens]

From the Feasibility Study [August 2013]:

Extract from the Council’s Brief:

4.77 The third option is to look at a location for the Gloriana on the opposite side

of the River in the Twickenham area in Marble Hill Park close to Orleans

House Gallery. This is slightly more complicated in as much that Marble Hill

Park is not owned by the Council. The site is owned by English Heritage and

the park, whilst a public park, it is in fact the gardens and grounds of Marble

Hill House. The adjacent Orleans House Gallery is a Council asset although

this is now held in trust.

4.78 Locating the Gloriana in this location would fit in with the Council’s

Twickenham Area Action Plan for the redevelopment of the Twickenham

area, and in particular the creation of river park and cultural quarter running

from the Marble Hill Park down to Diamond Jubilee gardens in central


4.79 The issues around ownership of the site could prove complicated. However,

there could be clear benefits to EH and Marble Hill House by the attraction of

more visitors to the site which could impact on the number of visitors to the

House which we understand has been falling over recent years.

4.80 Planning issues could be slightly more complex here the proposed site is

Public Open Space and within the curtilage of two listed buildings as well as

being within a designated conservation area

4.81 The brief for construction and mooring would follow the same lines as that for

options 1 & 2 above.

Suitability of a site in Marble Hill Park

4.82 The brief focuses on opportunities in Marble Hill Park but we consider this to

be impractical given the constraint of the Hammertons Ferry pontoon, the

high river bank and the potential impact on the Marble Hill Park (see Figure 4.14 below).

This statement is noted as being incorrect in item 4.9 page 15 of the report.

4.83 There is, however, a potential site in Orleans Gardens where there was a

creek and C19th boathouse that has been demolished with the site occupied

now by the café and part of the children’s play area. We therefore evaluate

this as ‘Option 3 Orleans Gardens’.


4.15 opt 3 croppedDescription of Development

4.84 Plans and elevations of the proposed bargehouse, café, wet dock and

mooring are shown as Figures 4.15 – 4.18.

4.85 A bargehouse is proposed on the site of a C19th boathouse that served

Orleans House (see Figure 4.19). This took the form of a covered wet dock

and part of the quay wall, that formed the entrance from the River Thames,

and a subterranean passage that linked the site to Orleans House survive. It

is likely that the original wet dock survives under the children’s play area and

café that were built following the acquisition of Orleans Gardens by the

Borough of Twickenham in 1928. There is evidence for this on the foreshore

(see Figure 4.20).

4.86 The proposed bargehouse is a lightweight structure that has a crew room,

storage and potentially education facilities in on a mezzanine floor that

extends across the northern half of the bargehouse. There is an adjoining

café that provides a replacement for the existing café that would be

demolished. It would be necessary to relocate two items of play equipment

comprising a slide and a maze.

4.87 Gloriana would be floated into the bargehouse at high tide by means of a wet

dock. It would be necessary to construct a lifting bridge for pedestrians where

the wet dock crosses the existing riverside footpath. A guillotine sluice gate

would retain the water in the wet dock at Mean High Water so that Gloriana

would be raised high enough for display.

4.88 It would be necessary to shorten the length of the Hammertons Ferry pontoon

at its upstream end to enable access into the proposed bargehouse.


4.89 A mooring is proposed using the quay wall that previously formed part of the

entrance to the Orleans House boathouse. It would be necessary to

undertake dredging of the foreshore to ensure sufficient water depth at the

retained (half tide) water level.

Access and Vehicle Parking

4.90 There is an existing service vehicle access to the site from Riverside and

there is adjacent public parking in Riverside and Orleans Road.


Site Evaluation – Land Ownership, Covenants and Cost of Site

4.91 The site is mostly within the Council’s registered title TGL283358. Part of the

area proposed for use as the bargehouse and café is the site of an existing

cafeteria that is subject to a lease

4.92 Foreshore

4.93 The plan attached to the 1928 conveyance to the Corporation includes the

land on the foreshore but this is excluded from the registered land. It may

have been excluded if the Land Registry ruled that it was affected by erosion

but this appears unlikely as the bank is artificially supported and may have

been altered deliberately. If the Council is unable to secure registered title,

then it will belong to the Crown, in which case, the Council will need to secure

the necessary rights to occupy the land, in addition to those required under

the byelaws mentioned in the following paragraph.

4.94 PLA Byelaw 48 is relevant in relation to the creation of the wet dock. In

addition, the Council would need to seek the consent and necessary rights to

use that part of the foreshore where dredging is to take place. If it is

necessary to deepen the river adjacent to the wet dock in order to provide

sufficient draught, this will also require the consent of the PLA as it will involve

interference with the river bed.

Operation of the Bargehouse

4.95 It would be possible to move Gloriana into the bargehouse at high tide, subject

to an agreement with the operators of Hammertons Ferry to reduce the length

of their mooring pontoon. It would also be possible to exhibit the gilded stern

of Gloriana by moving her to the open part of the wet dock on summer days.

4.96 The glazed wall of the bargehouse adjoining the proposed terrace and café

would work well together to provide a visitor attraction.

Navigation and Marine matters

4.97 The Harbour Master has no in principle objections to this option but would be

interested to hear how the Master of the Gloriana envisages manoeuvering the

vessel into the wet dock. This is because the existing Hamilton Ferry pontoon

as existing would obstruct easy access to the boathouse/wet dock/slipway.

The PLA has commented that In general terms negotiation with the licensee

is the way forward if you require them to modify their pontoon layout. Whilst

licences do generally have clauses in them relating to revocation / alteration /

removal of works we cannot exercise these powers lightly (For example

navigational reasons, impact on river regime or a breach of the terms of the

licence could be a reason to revoke a licence) and there is an appeals

process to the Department for Transport.

Public Open Space

4.98 The area proposed for the bargehouse comprises public open space.

Heritage Issues

4.99 Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas, has commented In

principle, English Heritage would support the proposals outlined in your option

3, for a new boathouse and dock on the site of the long-lost former boathouse

to Orleans House.

4.100 The site is within the Twickenham Riverside Conservation Area, and adjacent

to the Grade II* registered landscape of Marble Hill Park. It is also close to

Marble Hill House itself, which is listed at Grade 1, but unlikely to impact upon

its setting. The Grade 1 listed Octagon Room of the former Orleans House

overlooks the park in which the proposed boathouse would be situated, and

views towards the river from this room should form an important consideration

in your detailed design. We would recommend that the design of the

boathouse is subtle and low-key to preserve the open character of this well used

part of the Riverside. It would not necessarily be appropriate to design a

replica of the former, lost, boathouse, given the changes to the context of the

land since it was brought into public ownership many years ago.

Loss of trees and scope for new planting

4.101 Option 3 would result in the loss of the London plane tree shown growing out

of the riverbank in Figure 4.21. It would be possible to plant a replacement

tree within Orleans Gardens.

Visual Impact

4.102 The proposed bargehouse would be some 8.5 metres [28 feet] high but it would be set

well back from the riverbank. The barge house is in the vista from Ham House

and should be designed so as to provide a focal point on this axis

Education / Visitor Centre and Commercial Considerations

4.103 The Assistant Development Control Manager has advised that it would be

acceptable to relocate the existing café into the proposed development

provided it has an equivalent floorspace. This would mean that there would be

limited scope for a visitor centre other than the space within the bargehouse.

Flood Risk

4.104 The front of the proposed bargehouse is located within an area designated as

Zone 3a flood risk where it would be necessary to meet the Exception Test to

justify development in this location. It would be necessary to design the

bargehouse to mitigate the effects of possible flooding.

Nature Conservation

4.105 The site of the bargehouse is developed for the café and play area already

and has little value for nature conservation. The area shown for the proposed

mooring may, however, be occupied by the Depressed River Mussel,

Pseudanodonta complanata. This is only found in London on the north bank

of the River Thames between Twickenham and Richmond. The mussel is not

legally protected but it is a species of principal importance for the conservation

of biodiversity in England and Richmond Council is one of the managing

agents for its protection. It would be necessary to survey the site and, if found,

undertake mitigation measures.

Synergies with local tourism, arts and education venues

4.106 In our view this location could work well with the Council’s objectives of

establishing a cultural quarter in this part of Twickenham with a physical link

to Orleans House, via a reopened subway, and an added attraction in the

vicinity of Marble Hill House. There would be the prospect of attracting

visitors from across the water on the Surrey bank by means of Hammertons


Prospect for securing full planning permission and other necessary consents

4.107 The Council’s Assistant Development Control Manager has

advised that whilst contrary to policy, this site is the most suitable out of the

three. The site is located within Metropolitan Open Land, adjacent to Other

Site of Nature Importance, within a conservation area, adjacent to an Historic

Park, within the Thames Policy Area and in proximity to listed buildings.

4.108 The advice says key areas to be addressed in a planning application include:

1 Address height adjacent to road – need lightweight construction – any

building shouldn’t be overbearing on this narrow road or out of keeping

with park setting;

2 Views across to Ham House;

3 Establish relationship with river;

4 How will be managed / linked to Gloriana – don’t want to accept boat

house then Gloriana doesn’t get moored here;

5 Scheme should replace facilities (café, toilets, playground) – should be

accessible for all to use;

6 Flooding issue – flood defences; and,

7 Need more details of size / uses

Cost estimate

4.109 Huntley Cartwright estimate the cost of Option 3 to be approximately



4.110 In our view this site offers the only realistic opportunity to develop a

bargehouse within the three locations identified in the brief. There are a

number of important issues that need to be resolved including:

1. Negotiation with Hammertons Ferry / Port of London Authority (PLA)

to reduce the length of the pontoon mooring that obstructs the access

to the proposed bargehouse.

2. Negotiation with the existing café

3. Demonstrate the exceptional case to justify development on Metropolitan Open Land.

4. Detailed design of wet dock infrastructure including sluice gate to

maintain water level at mean high water.

5. Detailed design of building. Both Richmond Council town planning

officers and English Heritage have indicated agreement in principle to

a building on this site but have expressed concern about scale and


4.111 If these issues can be resolved we consider that a bargehouse in this location

could work well in raising the number of visitors to the waterfront in

Twickenham. It could provide a measure to add to the attractions of Orleans

House Gallery and revive interest in the adjoining Marble Hill House and

Park. It would provide a new focal point for the view from Ham House.


Take Option 3 forward to resolve issues 1 – 5 above

Extracted unabridged from Feasibility study on the location of the Royal Row Barge ‘Gloriana’ (and Boat House) within the Borough. Final Report August 2013


One thought on “• Option 3 Marble Hill Park [and Orleans Gardens]

  1. Orleans Gardens should have been rejected for the same reasons as Buccleuch Gardens: ‘Substantial adverse impact on openness of MOL’.

    The former boathouse claims are extremely tenuous. Images show it to be a very small structure set into the river bank to house a small skiff, not a #bloodybigboathouse that’s 40m long x 7m high that blocks the open views between Orleans Gardens and Marble Hill Park.

    It’s time for Lord True & his Lordy lunch club chums to look elsewhere in LBRUT or beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

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