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Bid to block controversial Hampton Court scheme rejected

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A bid to block plans for a new hotel and other development close to Hampton Court Palace, designed by Allies and Morrison and Quinlan & Francis Terry, has been rejected by the High Court

Keith Garner, an architect and ‘admirer’ of the Tudor palace - one of England’s most internationally important historic sites, led the legal challenge claiming the contentious scheme would harm the setting of the historic landmark.

He asked Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting at London’s High Court, to quash the decision of Elmbridge Borough Council, Surrey, to approve the mixed development on land surrounding Hampton Court railway station beside the River Thames, on the opposite bank to the palace.

Garner, a former employee of Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), the registered charity responsible for looking after Hampton Court, argued the scheme threatened the palace’s parkland setting as well as breaching planning rules for development in a flood plain.

Dismissing the case, the judge ruled there there was nothing in these or any of the other grounds of challenge to justify quashing permission.

Permission was granted to developer Gladedale Group and Network Rail in June 2009 for the comprehensive redevelopment of the site.

As well as a refurbished railway station, it included 66 new homes, retail and commercial units and a 46-bedroom hotel, plus a 61-bedroom care home originally intended for the Royal Star and Garter Home, which withdrew because of the ‘continuing uncertainty’ over the scheme (AJ 12.07.10).

The judge said the hotel proposal “created the greatest controversy since it was closest to the Thames”.

Historian David Starkey condemned the plans as not only “a national scandal but an international scandal”, while local resident and Steptoe And Son writer Ray Galton donated to Mr Garner’s legal fund.

Mr Garner, from Battersea, south London, argued that the development would be “immensely damaging” and urbanise the parkland, blocking important views, particularly on the railway approach from Waterloo, which brings the majority of the attraction’s annual half-million visitors.

The scheme, originally penned by Allies & Morrison alone, won the backing of Cabe and English Heritage after Quinlan and Francis Terry were brought in to redesign the facade for the hotel building closest to the historic palace (pictured top).

Previous story (AJ 05.01.10)

High Court throws out Hampton Court challenge

The High Court has rejected a legal challenge to block a controversial mixed-use scheme by Allies and Morrison and Quinlan & Francis Terry close to Hampton Court Palace

A deputy High Court judge threw out calls for a judicial review into the decision by Elmbridge Council in October 2008 to allow permission for the Jolly Boatman scheme but acknowledged the authority ‘may have failed’ in their obligation to preserve the setting of the palace.

Judge George Bartlett QC said:‘[T]he council were required to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the setting of Hampton Court Palace and, in view of this duty, an important issue was whether the river frontage of this site should be kept free of substantial development.

‘There is in any view a clearly arguable case […] that, while detailed consideration was given to the design of the proposed buildings, the council failed to apply the statutory requirement […] and failed to address this important issue’.

But the application for a judicial review was rejected because the applicant failed to register his objections prior to the planning permission being granted and was deemed to lack ‘standing’.

The scheme, which features a 61 bedroom hotel, 66 residential units, a Royal Star & Garter care home and refurbishment to buildings at Hampton Court Station, is now expected to go-ahead. But the man who brought the legal challenge, Keith Garner – a former Royal Historic Palaces employee and conservationist architect – says he will not give up yet.

‘It’s a question about where buildings should go and their simply should not be buildings at this site,’ said Garner, who added: ‘I will apply for a permission hearing in the High Courts to consider the issue of standing’.

The scheme, originally by Allies & Morrison alone, won the backing of CABE and English Heritage after Quinlan and Francis Terry were brought in to redesign the facade for the hotel building closest to the historic palace (pictured top).

Paul Lemar, land and planning director at developer Gladedale said they were ‘delighted that hopefully the scheme will start to move forward’.

But asked when work was expected to commence on site, Lemar said:  ‘We will ensure that we have an implementable planning permission before commencing with pre-commencement conditions, such as detailed working drawings’.

Royal Historic Palaces have consistently opposed the scheme and have been joined by a chorus of dissenters including historian David Starkey.

‘We believe that the size, scale and density of the proposed scheme will have a detrimental and irreversible effect on the historic setting of Hampton Court Palace,’ said John Barnes, Director of Conservation and Learning at Historic Royal Palaces.

‘Historic Royal Palaces was supportive of the application to the High Court and naturally we are disappointed at the decision. However, we are pleased to note that the judge concluded that the council had failed to take sufficient account of the importance of preserving the setting of the palace.’

Previous Story (AJ 28.10.08)

Classicism set to beat Modernism at Hampton Court

Allies and Morrison looks set to lose out in the Modernist v Classicist ‘battle of the styles’ at Hampton Court later tonight (28 October)

Back in August, developer Gladedale announced it would let local authority Elmsbridge Borough Council decide between two rival hotel schemes for its controversial Jolly Boatman redevelopment – one a ‘Modern’ weatherboarded scheme by Allies and Morrison, and the other a Georgian-style alternative by Quinlan Terry.

Now it appears the council’s planning officers have made their choice, recommending that the authority’s planning committee approve Quinlan’s designs.

In addition, the council is also urging the committee to reject Allies and Morrison’s hotel scheme claiming it would ‘adversely impact’ on the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

The decision would not affect the larger masterplan, drawn up Allies and Morrison for the entire site for the Gladedale consortium, which includes Network Rail and Royal Star & Garter Homes.

Interestingly, the authority’s recommendation falls in line with a public consultation which found that 582 of those commenting on their preferred design supported the Classical design, while only 101 wanted the Modernist scheme.

Neither option has appeased the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign (HCRC), which believes the site is being overdeveloped and branded the recent style debate over the central hotel building a ‘red herring’.

Previous Story (AJ 14.08.08)

Developer pits Allies and Morrison against Quinlan & Francis Terry in clash of styles

Modernist firm Allies and Morrison has been pitched into an extraordinary battle against Classicist Quinlan & Francis Terry for a key scheme outside Hampton Court Palace, Surrey.  


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