Extract from the Council’s Brief
4.24 “This site has been chosen due to its close proximity to the river and
Richmond Town centre. It also offers the opportunity to utilise some existing
public toilet buildings located on the site which have been earmarked by the
council for disposal and / or redevelopment. LBRuT own the freehold for this
site and it is designated as Public Open Space within a Conservation Area.
4.25 The brief here would be to provide the following
1 To provide a secure mooring for the barge along the banks of the river
along with the necessary pontoons and jetties for safe access and to
provide a mechanism either by crane or slipway construction to allow
the barge to moved from the boat house into the river.
2 To construct a boat house large enough to house the vessel, in a
suitable location adjacent to the river which would be able to house
the barge during the winter months (and when not in use or on
display) which will also allow for educational visits and repairs and
maintenance to be undertaken.
3 The construction of the boat house is to be in keeping with local
architecture, particularly the buildings and boathouses along the
riverfront in Richmond. The design should also consider the additional
uses in order to the make the building both a popular destination for
visitors as well as a profitable business opportunity. This could be
achieved by including a restaurant/cafe and an educational/visitors
centre within the proposed development.”
4.26 Richmond Borough Council acquired the riverside area of the Buccleuch
estate, including Buccleuch House, in 1936. The Council demolished
Buccleuch House in 1938 and opened a promenade on the site in the same
year. The works to establish the open space took place in the context of the
measures to acquire riverside lands for public access following the passing of
the Richmond, Petersham and Ham Open Spaces Act 1902. Our
understanding is that Buccleuch Gardens is protected by the provisions of the
4.27 Figure 4.1 is an extract from the Ordnance Survey map of 1894. It shows a
boathouse at the northern end of Buccleuch Gardens. This has been
demolished and the promenade laid out by Richmond Borough Council in
1938 passes over the site.
4.28 It is not possible to use the site of the demolished Buccleuch House
boathouse because the site is too small. The site identified is at the south
end of Buccleuch Gardens where there is sufficient space to locate a
bargehouse, slipway and landing stage. The proposed bargehouse is located
between the paved path and the unmade path that is just above the high
water mark at Spring tides (see Figure 4.2).
Description of Development
4.30 The proposed barge house is set back from the river bank to minimise its
visual impact, retain the unmade pedestrian path that runs through the middle
of the site and to provide a suitable gradient for the proposed slipway. The
overall size of the building is 31 metres long x 10 metres wide x 8.5 metres
high. The proposals do not include a café and toilets to reduce the overall
footprint of the building. It is suggested instead that the existing toilet block is
retained and the former terrace of Buccleuch House could be enclosed and
used as a café and visitor centre. Richmond Council has offered storage
space in the Terrace Gardens gardener’s store and this could be used for the
winter storage of items such as carpets and cushions.
4.31 A slipway is proposed rather than a wet dock as this would have a lesser
visual impact. It would maintain the grass character of the gardens apart from
the slipway rails. The proposed slipway is angled so that it reaches the river
at ‘Chitty’s Hole’ a location that was formerly used for a ferry and boat hire by
the Chitty family. This would enable Gloriana to be positioned on the slipway
during an incoming tide without obstructing the navigation channel.
4.32 A mooring is shown alongside Buccleuch Gardens with a short boardwalk
across the part of the gardens that is subject to flooding at Spring tides.
Access and Vehicle Parking
4.33 It would be possible to make deliveries to the site from Petersham Road but
there are no car parking facilities available in the vicinity of the site.
Land Ownership, Covenants and Cost of Site
4.34 The site is entirely within the Council’s registered title TGL277063 that
comprises both Buccleuch and Terrace Gardens. There may be a need to
obtain consents from Crown Estates with respect to the lower end of the
slipway if it extends into the river.
Operation of the Bargehouse
4.35 The proposals would work well in this location. The PLA’s marine engineer
has advised that from a marine engineering perspective this option looks best
in terms of ease of boat docking and re-launch.
4.36 Economies could be made by using the existing toilet block and converting
the terrace building to provide a visitor centre / café.
Navigation and Marine matters
4.37 The PLA Harbour Master has no objection, in principle, to this location.
Loss of Public Open Space
4.38 The towpath diverges from the river bank at Buccleuch Gardens to provide
the first area of riverside grassland upstream from Richmond. The proposed
bargehouse would take some 310 square metres of public open space.
Richmond planning officers advise that any facility should be open for public
enjoyment at no charge. In addition, it would be necessary to significantly
modify the existing grassed area on the riverbank by excavating a slope and
installing rails to provide a slipway. The area would remain grass covered but
much of the character of the urban ‘green beach’ during summer months
would be lost.
4.39 In our view the proposed bargehouse and slipway would have a significant
adverse impact on the amenity of this public open space.
4.40 In our view, the proposals would have a significant adverse impact on the
character of Buccleuch Gardens in the context of its listing by English
Heritage as part of the Buccleuch and Terrace Gardens Historic Park and
Garden, due to the scale of the structures and the openness of the site.
Loss of trees and scope for new planting
4.41 A large oak tree has recently fallen within the site of the proposed bargehouse.
Part of the trunk remains on the site of the proposed bargehouse (see Figure
4.2) but there are no other trees affected by the proposed structure. Three
smaller trees are located close to the proposed slipway and may need to be
removed (see the right hand side of Figure 4.2)
4.42 The proposed bargehouse is located at the landward side of Buccleuch
Gardens to minimise its visual impact. But, in our opinion, the proposed
bargehouse would still have a significant adverse impact on the openness of
the Metropolitan Open Land at the point of transition from the enclosed
character of Buccleuch Gardens to the open aspect of Petersham Meadows.
Education / Visitor Centre and Commercial Considerations
4.43 This could be established in the existing covered terrace nearby but we are
advised that this would be contrary to the planning policy to restrict additional
Class A3 uses in this location.
4.44 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. The proposed slipway would increase the flood
storage capacity of the flood plain. It would be necessary to design the
building to mitigate the effects of possible flooding.
Thames Water Utilities Ltd. (TWUL) Infrastructure
4.45 There is a TWUL pumping station located to the south of the proposed
bargehouse and a sewer outfall located close to the point where the proposed
slipway enters the River Thames. It will be necessary to consult TWUL to
ensure that any proposals on this site do not conflict with their sewer
4.46 The site is located in an Other Site of Nature Conservation Importance where
Core Strategy Policy CP4 Biodiversity seeks to conserve ecological diversity.
Synergies with local tourism, arts and education venues
4.47 Head of Parks has advised that a bargehouse in this location
would meet a Council objective to draw visitors from Richmond Riverside
upriver to attractions such as the Terrace Gardens and Ham House. He has
suggested that the covered terrace in Buccleuch Gardens could be adapted
to display material about Gloriana and royal barges.
Prospect for securing full planning permission and other necessary
4.48 The Council’s Assistant Development Control Manager has
advised that this site is a ‘non starter’ in terms of its prospects of securing
planning permission. This is due to its location on land designated as
Metropolitan Open Land, Historic Parks and Gardens and Other Site of Nature
Conservation Importance. In addition the proposal would be prominent and
would harm the open and rural character of Petersham Meadows (see
4.49 Huntley Cartwright estimates the cost of Option 1 to be approximately
4.50 Option 1 performs well in operational terms. The location of a visitor
attraction here would draw people upriver and potentially onward to other
attractions such as Ham House. However, the bargehouse, slipway and
pontoon mooring would have a significant adverse impact on Buccleuch
Gardens and would be contrary to the development plan.
Reject Option 1 Buccleuch Gardens
Extracted unabridged from Feasibility study on the location of the Royal Row Barge ‘Gloriana’ (and Boat House) within the Borough. Final Report August 2013.