[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trustees have agreed not to proceed any further with the project and the Heritage Lottery Fund application has been withdrawn.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.”