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Anger spills over about Gloriana boathouse
Proposals for the Queen's Royal Row Barge, the Gloriana, to be given a permanent home in Twickenham have been met with anger from residents.
Richmond Council has been working with Lord Sterling, who commissioned the barge to mark the Diamond Jubilee, to identify a site, settling on the historic boat house at Orleans Park.
But the decision, which must still go through normal planning channels, has been criticised by numerous people.
Gill Clay-Jones, of Cresswell Road, Twickenham, said: "This project should have been subject to public discussion at the concept stage.
"It should have been a topic in the local elections.
"Yet it has been kept secret from those it will most directly affect until now, just before the planning stage which will take place in August while many people are away."
The Gloriana is used to promote better use of the Thames among young people and charitable and ceremonial events on the water.
Lord True, leader of the council, said: "This is a once-off opportunity - other boroughs were keen to secure the privilege of hosting Gloriana.
"But as the only borough straddling the Thames, with centuries old royal connections I believe Richmond is uniquely equipped to be the home of this remarkable piece of British craftsmanship, designed and built by our residents.
"The proposal is, of course, subject to funding and planning permission."
International architects Foster and Partners have designed a potential modern boat house, visitors' centre, enhanced new cafe and play area.
Work could begin in autumn 2015.
Community groups and residents have also questioned the feasibility of the project.
An action group against the proposals has been formed with the first meeting set to take place on Thursday, July 3, at 6.30pm at Winchester Hall at the Turk's Head.
The group, organised by residents Mandie Adams McGuire and Sandra Hazlewood, claim trees and natural wildlife would be affected and is unsuitable for more traffic.
Councillor Pamela Fleming, cabinet member for environment, said there had been "a lot of misinformation which has caused a lot of concerns".
She added: "It is not a done deal - there are concerns over the removal of the playground but it will be rebuilt.
"It will not be a visitor or tourist centre and it is very important we hear what people have to say in the consultation period."
The barge was built in 2012 by Richmond-based master boat builder Mark Edwards MBE and was the lead craft at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant when Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent took lead roles.
Lord Sterling said: "All generations, foreign cultural visitors and perhaps most important our children will have opportunity in the generations to come of enjoying the wonderful timeless history of this area, a gem in these islands."
The council's consultation will be available on its website from July 1 and will run until July 29.
People can also have their say at drop-in sessions, held at Orleans House Gallery on July 18 (between 10am to 4pm) in the Octagon Room and July 19 and 20, at the same times, in the Stables.