• 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]

• 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]

• ‘Have your say . . ‘

Scan Jul 2014020

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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The Friends of Orleans Riverside are also urging those who wish to save the Gardens to have their say: 

Screen shot 2014-08-23 at 17.32.07‘Answer Question 2 – mark “not appropriate at all”

Answer Question 9  – where you are from

Answer Question 14 – on your postcode

Answer Question 15 and 16 if you want to be kept informed

Ask for receipt and submit.’

Consultation ends on Sunday August 31.

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