Statement from the MRA about the Jolly Boatman/Hampton Court Station site
Molesey Residents Association wish to state our views on the indicative development proposals for the Jolly Boatman/Hampton Court Station site.
Whilst the developer says he is consulting on options, the consultation is not based on any planning application or specific figures. There does not appear to be any real options presented other than one of massive residential development. Only three vague figures are given, that the buildings will more or less not exceed 50 feet in height and there could be 90 to 130 flats and/or one hotel instead of some of the flats. At the same time the emotional story is being pushed that this is an expensive site to develop and therefore massive residential development is needed to fund it. However, significantly, no financial figures of cost are given although it is clear to any layman that the sales value of the proposed buildings is between 55 and £60 million.
In 1999 Elmbridge Borough Council revised the 1986 Planning Brief for the overall site. Against our opposition, the council inserted the possibility of 25% residential development on the Station site into the Brief on the basis that, to quote……’the levels of development provided for would be financially viable’. The Brief allows no residential development on the Jolly Boatman site but specifies ‘Leisure/Tourist’ uses, meaning pub, hotel, restaurant, or heritage facilities. The developer’s response on the present plans is to ignore the Brief completely and go for some 85% residential coverage including the Jolly Boatman site.
The Council writes very few Planning Briefs, only about 5 in the last 30 years, so one must expect that this Planning Brief has significant status, particularly as it was designed by able consultants, given full public consultation and passed at all levels of the Council.
The Brief calls for an environmentally sensitive development with heritage, tourist and transport interchange facilities as prime requirements. The 25% residential development on the Station site was added in, because the owners and their prospective developers said it was necessay to make the site viable financially against the other less remunerative requirements of the Brief. So what has changed? No downsides but a plus for any developer, since in the meantime the increase in sales value of any residential development is more than the relative cost of building.
The Molesey Residents Association emphatically rejects the present proposals which simply seek to rape the overall site for whatever financial value can be got out of it. The indicative proposals have not the slightest regard for the principles of the Planning Brief or the local environment, which in any case, is supposed to have Conservation Area protection.
Published on Tuesday, August 29th, 2006
in General Interest