One of Lord True’s acolytes writes: “Few who witnessed the Queen’s Diamond JubiIee will forget the historic flotilla on the Thames, led by Gloriana, the Row Barge presented to Her Majesty on that occasion as a token of our national thanks and respect. Since then Gloriana has been seen many times in the Borough and Her Majesty has given permission for her to undertake charitable work and work with schools.
Gloriana is an extraordinary piece of craftsmanship, which was designed and created by a team led by our own Master Boat builder, Mark Edwards, recently honoured by the Queen. She is built to last for 200 years and will become part of the national heritage as one of the few visible legacies of the unique event of the Diamond Jubilee and a lasting tribute to a remarkable Queen.
However, Gloriana needs a permanent home and, as a working vessel, has to have a boathouse by the River Thames. Following a feasibility study the Council, working with the Trust managing the vessel, has considered various venues, and identified a possible site for that home on the site of the old dock and boathouse at Orleans house in Twickenham. Consultation on this idea began on 1st July. Sadly, before the consultation even began or any plans had been revealed certain activists distributed leaflets claiming that it would involve concreting over Orleans Gardens, build a car park and “Disney” tourist centre, open the riverside to through traffic and destroy a car park and playground. All these stories, which understandably alarmed many people, are FALSE.
The Council is pledged to maintain a cafe and playground and protect the character of these beautiful gardens. There will be no tourist centre or car park. Our aim to reduce current levels of visitor parking and traffic in neighbouring roads and we are conducting a survey with this aim, The project is still subject to consultation until 31 August and a planning process later this year.
The Council is proposing to offer up to a third of the construction cost of a wooden boathouse, designed by internationally renowned architects to respect the nature of the spot. Provided the character of our riverside is protected, then to give a home to this remarkable work of art, designed here and available to work here with the local community, which will last for future generations as a legacy of the Diamond Jubilee, would be an asset to the Borough and something to be proud of.
Please express your view, but do so on the basis of the facts, by going to www.richmond.gov.uk and responding to the consultation. Should our Borough give a home at Orleans House to the Royal Row Barge designed by our Borough craftsmen – or should we turn her away? Please have your say.”
Source: Richmond Borough Chronicle – published by the Richmond Borough Conservatives.
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Consultation ends on Sunday August 31.