• Lord True speaks out on ditched Gloriana plans as campaigners express joy

Two months after he announced proposals to bring the Gloriana to Twickenham, Richmond Council leader Lord True spoke to the RTT’s Tom Ambrose  of his sadness as the project lay dead in the water:

Q. What prompted the early decision not to proceed with the Gloriana plans?

A. The council thought it would be a nice idea. The Gloriana is one of the beautiful works of art created in this country. There were those who said it was a done deal from the start and they were wrong. It became clear from emerging results there would be a significant majority against this site so why not take an early decision?

Q. Could planning issues have been resolved if a planning application had been submitted?

A. In the cabinet report, there were those issues that needed to be addressed. I think a number of them certainly could have been dealt with – for example, some thought was being given to the size of the structure. But we never want to impose something on an unwilling public.

Q. Do you have any regrets about the way the council handled the proposal?

A. I wish it had come out later. My regret is that, having heard the news they [Gloriana trustees] were minded to go ahead with a planning application, I blurted that out at the mayor-making dinner because I thought it was good news. We should have waited to prepare the consultation, allowing us to present the facts. It wouldn’t have allowed people who invented untruths to get their stories out.

Q. Is it true you turned down the opportunity to attend a cross-party crisis meeting with local MPs and councillors about the Gloriana site?

A. This was an idea from the failed Liberal Democrat candidate Dr Susan Burningham. She sent me an email late in the day. I think it was a spoiling move, not a serious move. It was a matter for the Gloriana trustees and I certainly think we wanted to see the results of the consultation – why should I pre-empt the results?

Q. Are you sad about the way it turned out?

A. Of course I would be sad to see it go elsewhere when it was built by our own Mark Edwards. I’m sad in the sense that it is a pity we could not provide it with a home in the borough it was conceived. But I am not personally aggrieved that I put forward an idea that didn’t come to fruition . .

Lord True speaks out on ditched Gloriana plans as campaigners express joy [RTT Sep 19]

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• Gloriana Consultation: Final Report September 2014

Screen shot 2014-09-21 at 11.07.22‘ . . 6. Conclusion

6.1. A total of 3,025 people responded to the consultation .

6.2. The vast majority of respondents to the consultation were local residents (TW postcodes) (93%).

6.3. A clear majority of respondents (77% (2,071 people) felt the proposed location for the permanent home of the Gloriana was not appropriate or not appropriate at all. While around a fifth (20% (553 people)) of respondents felt it was appropriate.

6.4. The main comments on the proposed site plan and design related to the location and access.

6.5. The results from this consultation will be used to inform the Council’s, and the Gloriana Trustees, decision on if and how to proceed further with this project.’

Borough home for Gloriana will not proceed: ‘Following a consultation with local residents on proposals to find a permanent home in Twickenham for Her Majesty The Queen’s Royal Rowbarge, it has been decided by Richmond Council not to proceed.’ [Sep 18 2014]

Gloriana Consultation: Final Report September 2014

Gloriana Boathouse Plan Dropped [Twickerati Sep 12]

• Press statement

Potential borough home for Gloriana NOT to proceed

Earlier this year, following a feasibility study which considered various sites in the Borough, Richmond Council opened a consultation on a possible site for a home for The Queen’s Rowbarge, Gloriana, on the site of the former Orleans House boatyard and dock.

Though results of the consultation have not yet been fully analysed it is clear a substantial majority of respondents were opposed to Gloriana’s permanent home at this site.

It has therefore been agreed between the Council and the Gloriana trustees not to proceed any further with this project. The Heritage Lottery Fund application has been withdrawn. No planning application will be presented by either party. No other site is being offered or considered by the Council.

Speaking after the announcement, Cllr Pamela Fleming, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “It is a pity that this beautiful craft, which was conceived on our river, will not find a home here. She could have been a great asset to future generations in Twickenham and the whole Borough. However, as the Cabinet Report in July showed, we always acknowledged the significant issues to address on this site, notably in terms of preservation of character, access and the construction period. While we believe that with goodwill most, if not all, of those could have been addressed in a pre-planning and planning phase, the controversy that has been aroused does not create the conditions in which that could be done. We have decided therefore to let the matter rest.”

Cllr Lord True, Leader of the Council, added: “Gloriana deserves to – and I am sure will – find a home where she is welcome and can be cherished for what she is, a working vessel serving charitable causes, a triumph of Borough craftsmanship, a future part of our national heritage and a tangible monument in centuries to come to the Diamond Jubilee of a great Queen. We wish her well.

“Given that our own master boat builder, Mark Edwards, created her, it was natural to explore the possibility of a home here in the Borough. I would like to thank Lord Sterling, Foster + Partners, the Gloriana team and all those who worked to bring forward an idea for public discussion and consultation. Many local people did support the idea of Gloriana’s coming to the Borough, but, sadly, in hosting such a unique and specialised craft, a number of technical issues arise, which limit the number of practical sites and require compromise. The Council has no current plans to conduct any further studies.”

Speaking on behalf of Gloriana Lord Sterling stated: “We were kindly invited to work with Richmond Council on a study to assess the feasibility of building a permanent home for The Queen’s Rowbarge, Gloriana, in Richmond. Sadly, the consultation carried out following the feasibility study showed that there is opposition to using this particular site. We have therefore decided to explore further locations along the river.”

• Potential borough home for Gloriana NOT to proceed [Council 11/09/2014]

• Shed scrapped!

[9:45am Friday 12th September 2014] Laura Proto, RTT Chief Reporter:  A permanent home for the Gloriana will no longer be built in the borough after a u-turn by Richmond Council. A consultation on proposals for a boathouse at Orleans Park for the Queen’s Rowbarge ended on August 31 and a report on the findings was due to be presented at a cabinet meeting next week.

This morning, the council announced that though the results of the consultation have not been fully analysed, it was clear a “substantial majority” of people were opposed to a permanent home at this site. The council and the Gloriana trustees have agreed not to proceed any further with the project and the Heritage Lottery Fund application has been withdrawn. No planning application for the boathouse will be presented by either party and no other site is being offered or considered by the council.

Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said: “Gloriana deserves to, and I am sure will, find a home where she is welcome and can be cherished for what she is; a working vessel serving charitable causes, a triumph of borough craftsmanship, a future part of our national heritage and a tangible monument in centuries to come to the Diamond Jubilee of a great Queen.

“Many local people did support the idea of Gloriana’s coming to the borough, but, sadly, in hosting such a unique and specialised craft, a number of technical issues arise, which limit the number of practical sites and require compromise. The council has no current plans to conduct any further studies.”

Councillor Pamela Fleming, cabinet member for the environment, said the Gloriana would have been a “great asset to future generations” in Twickenham and the rest of the borough.

She said: “As the cabinet report in July showed, we always acknowledged the significant issues to address on this site, notably in terms of preservation of character, access and the construction period. While we believe that with goodwill most, if not all, of those could have been addressed in a pre-planning and planning phase, the controversy that has been aroused does not create the conditions in which that could be done. We have decided therefore to let the matter rest.”

Gloriana boathouse proposals withdrawn in council u-turn

• Letter to the RTT

Sir – The Richmond, Petersham and Ham Open Spaces Act, 1902, is on the council website and in the Local Studies collection. I’ve been right through its 29 pages and checked that its name and the description given on the first page [An Act to confirm agreements for vesting common and other lands in the local authorities of the districts of Richmond, Ham and Kingston as public open spaces] are both accurate and complete. There’s nothing whatever in it about the Middlesex side. So the notion that it has some talismanic power to keep the barge shed out of Orleans Gardens seems to be wishful thinking, a fairy story for grownups.

Also in the Local Studies folder [32/03/30] are the 1902 LCC General Powers Act and a covenant. The Act is a mixed bag of powers, whose ‘Section IV Purchase of the Marble Hill Estate, Twickenham’ allows the LCC to purchase Marble Hill and adjacent land ‘to preserve the view’ – but only by agreement. Also, ominously, to provide boat houses. This power has now passed, via the GLC, to the borough council.

The covenant forbids development of the Haversham Lodge site; the council web site says: ‘a Deed of Covenant was entered into by Richmond and Twickenham Councils and Surrey, Middlesex and London County Councils in 1930. The terms of the deed were designed as far as possible to preserve the view from Richmond Hill by restricting the future development of the land to certain limited areas only. Compensation was paid to the then owners of the land for granting the right to enforce these restrictions.’

The terms of the purchase of the Gardens by the Council in 1926-7 were reported in the Times of October 29 1926. Nothing is said about further covenants for the Gardens but there were to be new ones for the House and Grounds which were to be purchased after the gravel had all been dug up by a ’lady of large means . . for her private use’ – Mrs Ionides of blessed memory – ‘to preserve the view’.

So the only special protection the Gardens have comes from the restrictive covenant imposed by the Cunard executors in 1925, described by Ron Berryman [Letters August 29]. The Council planning committee has to agree that its new barge shed counts as a boat house and is therefore to be permitted, even if it is many times larger and uglier than the Victorian original.

Yours, etc.

Christopher J Squire

Can’t keep out barge [RTT Sep 05 p. 23]

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See also on this website:

‘Orleans Garden is protected from development by Act of Parliament’