Scores of people turn out for heated Gloriana debate

Gloriana meeting: The scenes outside York House

Gloriana meeting: The scenes outside York House

First published in News
Last updated
by , Reporter

Tempers flared at a cabinet meeting over controversial proposals to permanently house the Gloriana at Orleans Gardens.

Campaigners turned out in force, displaying banners, after the public was invited to attend and speak at the meeting at York House's Clarendon Hall on Wednesday night.

Concerns were raised about the proposed location for the wooden boathouse and the subsequent environmental impact on the area.

Mandie Adams McGuire, from Friends of Orleans Riverside, spoke against the plans and called on Richmond Council leader Lord True to "act with honour".

She said: "We do not object to the beautiful Gloriana being housed in Richmond - in fact, I am sure everyone would welcome it as a great project in the right location and without the huge projected costs.

"Orleans riverside is just fundamentally the wrong location.

"The entire area is of national and international importance, something we should be proudly protecting for generations to come."

Council cabinet members agreed to extend the consultation until the end of August and asked for another report to provide further details on site management.

Actor Paul Bigley, who also spoke on behalf of the recently-formed group, raised concerns over the scale of the development and safety issues.

He said: "The consultation document asked the question 'what could the boathouse look like?'

"Without being given exact planning measurements, one can only interpret by looking at the drawings made available.

"This is not a small-scale boathouse and has more in common with a significant civil engineering project.

"There are significant questions of safety involved in building a canal next to a children's playground and very real questions of security in protecting a royal vessel at a time of heightened sensitivity."

It was an evening full of tension and resent as audience members heckled the cabinet and hissed while councillors, including the leader, addressed the room.

Lord True told campaigners he thought and still hoped it could be a good project for the borough.

He said: "The council believes that Gloriana, the vessel concerned, is attractive, important and a worthwhile creation.

"There is no planning application in as yet, that will have to be later this year and won't be before August.

"But it isn't a nuclear dump we are talking about, it's an extraordinary craft created for the diamond jubilee that somewhere, sometime has to find a home."

Chief council officer for the environment Paul Chadwick explained the boathouse would be mainly for winter use, rather than in the summer, when the row barge would be in use.

The cabinet also agreed to make public a feasibility study which looked at other potential sites in the borough, such as Buccleuch Gardens and the Gothic site in Petersham Road.

Twickenham Riverside Councillor Susan Chappell, cabinet member for planning, addressed concerns surrounding the playground at Orleans Gardens.

She said: "A number of people have said to me how upset they are that the playground is changing.

"I used it when I was a little girl and with my children and people will have the opportunity to say what they want in the consultation."

Lord True added that if people wanted to keep the current playground facilities, it could be considered.

International architects Foster and Partners designed a potential modern boat house, visitors' centre, enhanced new cafe and play area, with work possibly starting early next year.

The project is still subject to funding, including £1m from the council, and planning permission.

The council's consultation is available on its website.

People can also have their say at drop-in sessions, held between 10am to 4pm at Orleans House Gallery Octagon Room on July 18 and at the same time in July 19 and 20, in the Stables.

 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Forming an opposition: Winchester Hall at the Turks HeadNeighbours form action group

People moved quickly to mobilise themselves against the council's proposals to house the Gloriana in Twickenham.

Friends of Orleans Riverside formed and held its first meeting at the Turk's Head on July 3.

More than 200 people attended the inaugural meeting as queues to get into Winchester Hall snaked along Winchester Road.

Councillor Susan Chappell, Councillor Benedict Dias and Councillor Pamela Fleming were all there.

Issues with the plans were aired, with residents pointing out the only access to the site was via Orleans Road.

Paul Bigley, spokesman for the Friends of Orleans Riverside, said: "Residents already have to cope with refuse trucks routinely knocking their window boxes off."

Other concerns raised included parking and the lack of footfall along the stretch of river, unlike Hampton Court or near Richmond Bridge.

There was also disbelief further potential sites had not been explored before the selection of Orleans Gardens.

 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Passion: Deputy leader Geoffrey SamuelDeputy leader recalls riverside walks as a boy

Deputy leader of the council Councillor Geoffrey Samuel gave an impassioned speech, recalling evenings walking along the riverside with his father.

He spoke of the "great pride" he would feel for the Gloriana to be given a permanent home in Twickenham.

He said: "I have lived in Twickenham for 70 years, 22 of them in Lebanon Court at a time when the whole of the riverside was part of my youth.

"There was a period, in my teens, when virtually every evening, provided the weather was reasonable, I would walk with my father along the riverside.

"This is an area I know extremely well - I do have a genuine commitment to an area I love and was such a large part of my youth.

"If on that walk with my father we had approached the Gloriana, I think I would have looked at it with pride and that is very much how I feel this evening."

Coun Samuel reserved special praise for Lord True and highlighted the good work the council leader had done for the town.

He said: "I was first elected as a councillor in 1957, I have served under a large number of leaders and none of them has had a greater commitment to improving Twickenham than Lord True.

"I am proud to have him as our leader and proud to think that Gloriana could come to the riverside in Twickenham."

He also said there had to be a balance between the immediate residents' concerns and what was good for the wider borough.

Comments (7)

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6:25pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Graham 48 says...

Wonderful that we should be on the heritage trail. Not sure about the suggested site but that will be decided. There will be many visitors & that will be a most useful revenue stream that will help keep council tax down in future years. So much better than when those awful LibDems ran the Council & kept putting it up year after year.....
Wonderful that we should be on the heritage trail. Not sure about the suggested site but that will be decided. There will be many visitors & that will be a most useful revenue stream that will help keep council tax down in future years. So much better than when those awful LibDems ran the Council & kept putting it up year after year..... Graham 48
  • Score: -12

9:01pm Thu 10 Jul 14

twickeman says...

This isn't about Gloriana. She's OK.

It's about building a massive boathouse, the size of 8 terraced houses, slap bang in the middle of lovely public open park space.

Orleans Park was donated to the Council for its protection, not for development of a massive shed.

The position proposed by the Council couldn't be any worse, as it biblocks views to/from Orleans Park and Marble Hill Park. As a result it will create a sense of enclosure in what is currently open space.

There are many other issues such as the cost to residents, access, playground safety, the fact it will be empty all summer, the underhand approach from Lord True, the loaded consultation etc etc

Ultimately this is a very poorly conceived vanity project that Lord True will try to force through with the Tory majority in the Council and planning committee.

There are many similarities with the Lib Dems runaway Riverside plans a few years ago. Let's all act to ensure the outcome is similar and Orleans Park is saved from the Big Boathouse.
This isn't about Gloriana. She's OK. It's about building a massive boathouse, the size of 8 terraced houses, slap bang in the middle of lovely public open park space. Orleans Park was donated to the Council for its protection, not for development of a massive shed. The position proposed by the Council couldn't be any worse, as it biblocks views to/from Orleans Park and Marble Hill Park. As a result it will create a sense of enclosure in what is currently open space. There are many other issues such as the cost to residents, access, playground safety, the fact it will be empty all summer, the underhand approach from Lord True, the loaded consultation etc etc Ultimately this is a very poorly conceived vanity project that Lord True will try to force through with the Tory majority in the Council and planning committee. There are many similarities with the Lib Dems runaway Riverside plans a few years ago. Let's all act to ensure the outcome is similar and Orleans Park is saved from the Big Boathouse. twickeman
  • Score: 28

9:16pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Concerned_Resident says...

Funny how this never came out before the election.
Funny how this never came out before the election. Concerned_Resident
  • Score: 18

9:16am Fri 11 Jul 14

Saltyann says...

I would much rather see public money spent on things the community needs... Like affordable housing & schools. The way the council has gone about this with secrecy & total disregard & disdain for the locals is typical of what is wrong with politics in general too. I'm not even that local to the area so can't be accused of being a nimby, but I think this area & Park is beautiful & should be left as is & remain as undeveloped as possible.
I would much rather see public money spent on things the community needs... Like affordable housing & schools. The way the council has gone about this with secrecy & total disregard & disdain for the locals is typical of what is wrong with politics in general too. I'm not even that local to the area so can't be accused of being a nimby, but I think this area & Park is beautiful & should be left as is & remain as undeveloped as possible. Saltyann
  • Score: 7

11:44pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Riverside44 says...

Orleans Park as a beautiful, undeveloped space is such a treasure. This proposal and the way it has been developed in secret really are dishonorable. What is also VERY dishonorable is the way the "consultation" is phrased! It is following the slimiest "push poll" tactics, phrasing questions in such a way to trick respondents into sounding like they are in favor of the plan. I am a political scientist, and this is exactly what the scummiest politicians do in the USA. To give an example, roughly, from the Gloriana boathouse "consultation": "Do you agree with the pedestrian nature of the site in the proposal?" Well, sure, we wouldn't want the opposite -- replacing Marble Hill Park with a car park -- but there are scores of questions like that that trick the respondent into "approving" the proposal.
Orleans Park as a beautiful, undeveloped space is such a treasure. This proposal and the way it has been developed in secret really are dishonorable. What is also VERY dishonorable is the way the "consultation" is phrased! It is following the slimiest "push poll" tactics, phrasing questions in such a way to trick respondents into sounding like they are in favor of the plan. I am a political scientist, and this is exactly what the scummiest politicians do in the USA. To give an example, roughly, from the Gloriana boathouse "consultation": "Do you agree with the pedestrian nature of the site in the proposal?" Well, sure, we wouldn't want the opposite -- replacing Marble Hill Park with a car park -- but there are scores of questions like that that trick the respondent into "approving" the proposal. Riverside44
  • Score: 11

12:16pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Susan Burningham says...

While the arguments rage on about the concept of building an industrial size boathouse for the Gloriana in Orleans Gardens, we must not forget the manner in which the idea leaked into the public consciousness. It was all thanks to the sharp eyes of a couple of members of the public who asked questions when they saw workmen measuring up the gardens. The workmen had been told not to answer questions: the reason for their presence was they said ‘a secret’.

So secret indeed that if we are to believe Lord True, no-one else knew. A faint suspicion hangs over this assertion because we do know a substantial amount of public money has been spent between January 2013 and May 2014. It is hoped that even Lord True would have needed a second signature on an authority to pay for the scoping and feasibility studies which have cost the tax payer to date in the region of £180K; of course we know that Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance is the custodian of the public purse. It is to be hoped Cllr Samuel might have asked the reason for the expenditure, and if not, why not?

Whether the inner Cabinet, including Cllr Susan Chappell, Cabinet member for Community, Planning and the Voluntary Sector, and Councillor for the Twickenham Riverside Ward knew of the detail or not is beside the point, collectively all Councillors are responsible to ensure democratic accountability. As the Local Government Transparency Code 2014 makes clear ‘transparency is the foundation of local democracy’. One can only hope that the Conservative Councillors who claim ignorance of this plan are deeply embarrassed and are holding the Leader and Deputy Leader’s feet to the fire. It not enough to permit Lord True a few minutes of public grovelling, as per his display on Wednesday 9th July, where he gave a performance matched only by Eric Idle as insincere game-show host Timmy Williams, aided and abetted by 'concerned' Cllr Susan Chappell who far from representing her local residents, attempted to lay down smoke at the meeting by asking for an amendment to permit a traffic and parking survey. This is something which anyone with half a brain between their ears knows has to be done as part of a planning application. And ‘oh yes please could we have a budget for the children’s playground, because that seems to have been over-looked dear Leader’.

Let us all be very clear before the Conservatives get us bogged down in the detail of the concept (remember there is still no model let alone business plan), Lord True and his Conservative colleagues have collectively contravened the Localism Act of 2013. Not only have they failed to make public the scopying data, they have failed to reveal the cost to the tax payer.

It is an abuse of power and is quite simply a resignation issue.
While the arguments rage on about the concept of building an industrial size boathouse for the Gloriana in Orleans Gardens, we must not forget the manner in which the idea leaked into the public consciousness. It was all thanks to the sharp eyes of a couple of members of the public who asked questions when they saw workmen measuring up the gardens. The workmen had been told not to answer questions: the reason for their presence was they said ‘a secret’. So secret indeed that if we are to believe Lord True, no-one else knew. A faint suspicion hangs over this assertion because we do know a substantial amount of public money has been spent between January 2013 and May 2014. It is hoped that even Lord True would have needed a second signature on an authority to pay for the scoping and feasibility studies which have cost the tax payer to date in the region of £180K; of course we know that Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance is the custodian of the public purse. It is to be hoped Cllr Samuel might have asked the reason for the expenditure, and if not, why not? Whether the inner Cabinet, including Cllr Susan Chappell, Cabinet member for Community, Planning and the Voluntary Sector, and Councillor for the Twickenham Riverside Ward knew of the detail or not is beside the point, collectively all Councillors are responsible to ensure democratic accountability. As the Local Government Transparency Code 2014 makes clear ‘transparency is the foundation of local democracy’. One can only hope that the Conservative Councillors who claim ignorance of this plan are deeply embarrassed and are holding the Leader and Deputy Leader’s feet to the fire. It not enough to permit Lord True a few minutes of public grovelling, as per his display on Wednesday 9th July, where he gave a performance matched only by Eric Idle as insincere game-show host Timmy Williams, aided and abetted by 'concerned' Cllr Susan Chappell who far from representing her local residents, attempted to lay down smoke at the meeting by asking for an amendment to permit a traffic and parking survey. This is something which anyone with half a brain between their ears knows has to be done as part of a planning application. And ‘oh yes please could we have a budget for the children’s playground, because that seems to have been over-looked dear Leader’. Let us all be very clear before the Conservatives get us bogged down in the detail of the concept (remember there is still no model let alone business plan), Lord True and his Conservative colleagues have collectively contravened the Localism Act of 2013. Not only have they failed to make public the scopying data, they have failed to reveal the cost to the tax payer. It is an abuse of power and is quite simply a resignation issue. Susan Burningham
  • Score: 2

3:07pm Wed 16 Jul 14

alex twickenham says...

Lets put this in perspective.

Nowhere in this post has Susan Burningham declared that she was an unsuccessful LibDem candidate for election in Twickenham Riverside ward. Wouldn't that have given readers a balanced understanding of her motive? Where was she when RUG,TTRG etc were battling to stop LibDem Council Leader Serge Lourie selling off Twickenham Riverside? By the way, where were LibDem Councillors Carr, Trigg and Wison when Lourie was determined to sell off the Riverside. Firmly behind him, of course. It cost them their jobs and probably Burningham's chances of election. Trust counts for an awful lot and the LibDems seem to have squandered it.

I would take her post with a largish pinch of salt and take note of the campaign run by The Friends of Orleans Riverside instead.
None of this means that I don't think that this is a flawed project - it is. Sadly the campaign seems to have been taken over by the wrong people.
Alex
Lets put this in perspective. Nowhere in this post has Susan Burningham declared that she was an unsuccessful LibDem candidate for election in Twickenham Riverside ward. Wouldn't that have given readers a balanced understanding of her motive? Where was she when RUG,TTRG etc were battling to stop LibDem Council Leader Serge Lourie selling off Twickenham Riverside? By the way, where were LibDem Councillors Carr, Trigg and Wison when Lourie was determined to sell off the Riverside. Firmly behind him, of course. It cost them their jobs and probably Burningham's chances of election. Trust counts for an awful lot and the LibDems seem to have squandered it. I would take her post with a largish pinch of salt and take note of the campaign run by The Friends of Orleans Riverside instead. None of this means that I don't think that this is a flawed project - it is. Sadly the campaign seems to have been taken over by the wrong people. Alex alex twickenham
  • Score: 3

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