• Option 1: Buccleugh Garden Site

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.”

Site History

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

1902 Act.

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

Barge House

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.

Slipway

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.

Mooring

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.

Site Evaluation

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.

Heritage Issues

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)

Visual Impact

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.

Flood Risk

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

infrastructure.

Nature Conservation

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

consents

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

Appendix 3).

Cost estimate

4.49 Huntley Cartwright estimates the cost of Option 1 to be approximately

£2,280,000.

Conclusion

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.

Recommendation

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.

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