Gloriana in Twickenham: Where Are We Now? (with UPDATES)

For the second time in this saga it’s time to say goodbye to one Gloriana boathouse item and hello to a new one. You can still find our previous two items and their 600+ comments on the links below but we felt it was time to take stock of where this almighty rumpus has got to and launch a fresh article.

And with less than a week of consultation time left, we’ve even added a few more RECENT UPDATES below.

It really does appear that if Orleans Gardens is going to play host to Gloriana and her bargehouse then it’s not going to happen quietly. There are a lot of vocal locals out there expressing their disapproval. Some might call them nimbys (and that may be true in part) but it does feel like a very clear majority of the people who know and use the park are opposed to the plan. The question then is whether the views of those who don’t know it or don’t use it should be given priority? Should Twickenham locals have to “take one for the team”? And if so, who’s team is it?

Proposed site as seen from Ham

Proposed site as seen from Ham

So where are we now?

The drop in sessions at Orleans House Gallery have been and gone with Richmond Council doing a good selling job on Lord True’s grand vision. It certainly was a lucky co-incidence that Gloriana was moored up at Hammerton’s pier over that weekend to woo the undecided. It obviously didn’t work on Twickenham MP Vince Cable who has since declared his opposition to hosting the boat on this particular piece of green space.

What did we learn at the drop in session?

We learned that the park site will not be ‘industrialised’ as part of the development, any significant maintenance work on the boat will be done elsewhere. In fact, the skipper of the Gloriana was at pains to point out to one objector that he needed little more than a chamois leather for his maintenance routine on the boat. We mean him cleaning the boat, not his own personal hygiene routine, of course – the squabbling hasn’t reached that level yet!

We also learned from the LBRuT project manager that this plan was not being kept in the dark until after the election and that it was actually well known and in the Conservative’s manifesto. Really? We’re not convinced.

We also learned that a secure, covered home is a prime consideration although we’re not aware of many other purpose built boathouses for newly launched craft. We’re probably wrong on that score.

And lastly, we enjoyed overhearing an exchange about the scale of the building between the “antis” and the Gloriana’s skipper after which he called over to them something along the lines of, “And where’s the petition to support the Gloriana, eh?” We thought that was an excellent question.

Richmond Council’s Gloriana consultation is due to continue until the end of August.

Meanwhile the boathouse bashers have been battling away on all fronts. In response to requests (both at Council meetings and under the Freedom of Information Act) we are now enlightened on the following points:

The boathouse could be in the region of 36 metres long, 12 metres wide and 7 metres high. It might even be higher. It is not a small building. Add the ‘canal’ into the equation and it’s a big construction project.

The 2013 feasibility study which led to Orleans Gardens being selected as the preferred site of the Gloriana boathouse looked at just three, pre-selected sites. Two along the river at Richmond and the Orleans Gardens site (although that started off as a more generic ‘Marble Hill / Orleans Gardens’ so maybe that’s four?).

An FOI request reveals emails showing that the idea for housing it in the Twickenham area dates back as far as April 2012. On 1st May, Lord True, the Blue Baron gives Marble Hill a mention in the context of it being “all forlorn”. He then refers to the boathouse idea as “a Crystal Palace for a fairy craft”. Eh? We can’t resist a little diversionary anecdote at this point… When discussing the plan at a twickerati editorial dinner, this “crystal palace for a fairy craft” phrase was mentioned. One of the very junior members of staff, who’d only been half listening, made his solitary contribution to the debate with a simple: “What a lame ass!” That seems a little harsh – no Pulitzer Prizes here – and it’s not necessarily a view we’d seek to promote, but it did entertain the rest of the team. Despite that, it’s clear from the correspondence that Lord True is passionate about the Gloriana plan and the whole heritage connection which might assuage some people’s fears of the boathouse being a foot in the door for wider development of the site.

Anyway, given that discussions between Lord True, Lord Sterling and others have been running for over two years and that assorted council officials have been involved in the plans, we still find it a very strange state of affairs that Twickenham’s councillors appear not to have known about it until after the election. Would it have made a difference? Perhaps not, but then again there are some fairly slender majorities in local wards. Should they have known about it? Surely that is the more interesting question. Two years of discussions and planning about a proposal to house a boat owned by a Trust on public parkland? We think that’s something that local councillors ought to have known about and ought to want to know about. As we said in our first article on this saga, we can’t help but wonder if anyone else’s plans to build on the site would have met with the same level of enthusiasm but we suppose that throwing some council money into the pot is a bit of a game changer on that front.

The feasibility study includes outlining some of the risks associated with the proposal. We can’t see local opposition to the idea among them although there are lots of positive assertions about attracting visitors and the like.

Lord True has said he has no plans to change anything until the consultation is over. As to why there is no Yes/No option on the consultation, the EL Brute Q&A fact sheet says that it’s not necessary because there are plenty of ways to express views as part of the process.

So, we’re still scratching our heads over the many mysteries around the proposal – the way it came about, the focus on just three sites all on prime Council owned land, the expectation that local taxpayers contribute £1m to a private-yet-charitable project, the giving up of a well-loved, undeveloped, protected section of park for a substantial construction. Are we looking at a case of “group think” here? Having said that, we do like Gloriana – she’s a fine looking boat – and we’d be happy to see the Trust that owns her find and pay for a suitable home for their boat in the local area, possibly even with some kind of encouragement from the Council. There are many moorings and possible locations to choose from along the Thames. Perhaps they should conduct a feasibility study to find the best site?

By way of conclusion, we’ll leave you mulling over that “crystal” analogy and, as you do so, ask you to think of yet another lord, Lord Jim of Morrison, and The Doors’ 1967 classic, The Crystal Ship.

“The Crystal Ship is being filled; A thousand girls, a thousand thrills; A million ways to spend your time; When we get back, I’ll drop a line”.

SOME BRIEF UPDATES (18th & 26th August)

With just a few days to go until the consultation closes we thought we’d have a quick update on developments…

* As we mentioned a few weeks ago, Vince Cable has come out against the proposals in their current form. He’s not at all convinced that Orleans Gardens is the right home for old Gloriana and he’s deigned to get involved in the issue to say so. We have to say that he seemed to get a bit confused on some aspects by referring to the boat as old… someone had better tell him that 2 is not actually that old.

* The Richmond & Twickenham Times reported the following: “Councillor Pamela Fleming, council cabinet member for environment, said the majority of people in Twickenham “would love to see the Gloriana”. She said: “It is a minority of people voicing their opposition to the proposals, we respect their views and do want to work with them””. Fair play to Cllr Fleming for doing her own research and surveys. Here at twickerati we’d love to see the results of that survey and a bit of detail into what prompted her to make that quote. Or was it perhaps wishful thinking? The only surveys or polls we’ve seen are the one on this site and the one of the RTT site, both of which showed a clear majority against the plans. We’ll let you know asap when Cllr Fleming shares her research.  Did we say ‘when’? We meant ‘if’.  The same article refers to a referendum idea but we can’t see that happening.

* A quick look at our poll shows that with over 1,600 votes cast, 75% say no to the big boathouse plan for Orleans Gardens with just 13% in favour.

* Meanwhile a site as Platts Eyott, Hampton has been discussed (see comments below on where this came from and why it might not be a likely contender) and there’s also an Eel Pie Island option for consideration… or rather the owner of the Phoenix Wharf boathouse on the island has said he’s willing to discuss options. And after all, why wouldn’t he be? We have to say that Eel Pie Island sounds like a decent shout.

* Lobbying for Brentford continues apace with Hounslow Council, Brentford Chamber of Commerce and the Brentford & Isleworth MP Mary McLeod all getting behind their campaign.

* We also heard a rumour that one of the drivers of the whole plan is an attempt to turn Richmond into a Royal Borough. Woo! Just think of the kudos. Would you like that, eh? Wouldn’t you just love to be able to stick ‘Royal Borough’ on your address? Tell you what, perhaps residents could add it to their email addresses and twitter names too. Now that would really be a mighty fine thing. Wouldn’t it??

* The ‘no’ campaign has further developed its web presence with its Save Orleans Riverside website (previously Friends of Orleans Riverside). And they’ve even published a guide on how to fill in the Council’s consultation which, let’s be honest, is loaded in such a way as to help drive a ‘yes please’ outcome. We assume they’re just trying to redress the balance a bit.  And now they’ve  even produced a video about it all which you can see on YouTube or on their Facebook page.

* And finally, if you haven’t had your say in the El Brute Consultation yet, then you should get on with it. You’ve got less than a week left in which to do it. Chop chop!


* The LBRuT Gloriana Consultation Page  (closing date: 31 August 2014)

* LBRuT Feasibility study (August 2013)

* FOI Information requested by Sasha Katarina

* El Brute press release

* Facebook page: Twickenham vs The Gloriana

* Articles in The Guardian & The Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph and the BBC.

* Articles in GetWestLondon and on BrentfordTW8

* The Orleans Gardens Blog – a blog supporting the campaign not to develop the park

* Save Orleans Riverside website (was Friends of Orleans Riverside)

* Save Orleans Riverside video

Previously on twickerati (all now closed to new comments)

* twickerati #1: The Twickenham Gloriana Experience

* twickerati #2: Gloriana in Twickenham – The Great Boat House Bust Up

* twickerati #3: Pic of the week – a Lego boathouse


Filed under Council, Gloriana boathouse, Local Issues & News

100 responses to “Gloriana in Twickenham: Where Are We Now? (with UPDATES)

  1. Rescued from the recycling bin: the Richmond Borough Chronicle with the Conservative manifesto for the next 4 years. Item 5: Protecting the Character of the Borough. Quote: “We will not tolerate any developers that flout planning rules and regulations and we will put the wishes of local people first.” And in bold: “We believe in planning WITH local people, for local people.” Surely our councillors say this with hand on heart. They would not lie to us. With 4,500 local people signing the petition against the Gloriana proposal, and many of those people are living nearby the site, all the council needs to do on September 18 is keep their word. Even if they are, in this case, the developer. No flouting, please.

  2. sazzy

    Alexis comments are right and to the point and it is pretty obvious that the thumbs down she gets are from some politically motivated people who have a ‘policy’ of infiltrating local groups and organisations for their own purposes. It is very clear the vast majority of local people are against, it has to be said, the Conservative plans for the Riverside, and it is disingenuous at best of both them and the Lib Dems to spout their positions on this. Dr Cable refused to get involved with Lourie’s plans to sell of Twickenham Riverside stating he doesnt get involved in Council affairs. More likely he wasnt prepared to contradict his, and Mr Squire’s, Lib Dem pals at the Council. The Conservatives who won the election on the Riverside issue now plan to do similar damage themselves to Orleans Riverside! Both are as bad as each other. No wonder, as others have said, that people are so disillusioned by politics and politicians. Where are the voices of the Riverside Councillors? Deafeningly silent. If they really had no idea about the plans prior to the election they should resign in protest. However it would seem that personal ambition , a lack of integrity, and a tendency to sycophantic behaviour means they wont.

  3. twickerman

    Does anyone know when El Brute will publish the results on their ‘how much do you love gloriana’ con-sultation?

    Can’t wait for a good laugh!

    • Sally

      I don’t know, and wish I did! As no councillor will give an idea of just how much dissent would cause them to cancel the scheme, I fear even if Lord True and his mother are the only ones in favor it will be hailed as a victory.
      Ah, and don’t forget to await whatever survey Councillor Flemming has used to assert that only a small minority of Twickenham residents are against the hangar in question.

    • anonymouse

      Interesting news that Lord True has a mother, but alas no mention of a father!

      I very much doubt we’ll ever see Cllr Lemming’s secret study, even with a FOI request.

    • boanerges

      This type of tasteless and hurtful remark is demeaning to the writer, and totally out of place in this discussion. Lord True’s mother died very recently.
      If you haven’t anything useful to say, I suggest you keep quiet

    • Sally

      I’m sorry, didn’t know. However, I think the point-that all concerned refuse to say how much dissent would cause the scheme to be abanoned-IS useful.

    • Consultation results are with the ‘independent’ research company and ‘outcome will be announced in the lead up to the Council meeting on 18 September’.

    • michelangelo

      Council is 16th, Cabinet 18th

    • Council calendar:

      What happens next depends on the outcome of the Council’s bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £1 mn. towards the total cost of £3 mn. this will be decided around on September 17:

      If they get the funding the Friends will kick up one hell of a stink to get the decision reversed but LBRuT will decide to press ahead. If they don’t, the scheme will be kicked into the deep water and quietly abandoned.

      The consultation will not affect the outcome either way.

    • Apologies for technical error. The date given to me for announcing the results was the run up to the 18th. Afraid I was referring to a ‘council meeting’ generically! Must learn my local council terminology…..

    • Walkinthepark

      According to the Save Orleans Riverside Facebook page “Well ladies and gentlemen, the consultation is now over and is being sent “to an external analysis company for review” and will be announced at the Cabinet Meeting on 18th September. In the meantime it’s still important to keep the pressure up, you can still write to your councilors, your MP and others, you can still get people to sign our petition in the cafe or online – all contacts and links here:

      The only previous consultation to achieve a grudging U turn, Lord True’s proposal to sell Heatham House for development as a boutique hotel and place youth provision in the middle of “Brewery Wharf” a swish new housing development with no brewery whose residents would have been very understanding I am sure of our noisy youth, received expressions of opposition from over 70% of respondents. That is presumably why they made it so difficult to express outright opposition in the questions they will use to quantify responses to this consultation……..

      I am preparing myself to explode with indignation at the twisted analysis……

  4. Pingback: Letter to the Editor, Richmond & Twickenham Times,15/08/14 – The Orleans Gardens Blog

  5. dellboy

    I’ve tried to find where the £50K mentioned in the June council/cabinet meeting, it was being uncapped.
    There is a contingency fund for kick starting feasibility projects already allocated (£260K ish); trying to find how the money was transferred has proved impossible. If it went through a committee around March- May 2012 I have missed it.
    This money would normally needed to be approved and minuted somewhere. If this has not happened, then an explanation is required.
    Looking at Adams infrastructure planning Ltd. there is an e-mail quoting not the gloriana but queens row barge and in reference to planning; all the FIO’s on the threads have been for gloriana and in council, maybe a broader spread for an FIO is required?
    In the Adams e-mail it says all the hurdles that planning has to satisfy to get approval, also the two other sites were blocked because of being in MOL.
    The Adams infrastructure and gloriana I found by googling, it’s on the thread somewhere as well.

    • Carole

      I wrote to Eric Pickles on 12 July (by Recorded Delivery) on the specific point of whether the initial spending was approved and, if not, whether Lord True was acting outside his remit. No reply so far but I won’t let the matter drop…..

    • Have submitted a FOI request asking for minutes of any meeting where the £50k was uncapped. Awaiting response.

    • dellboy

      there will only be one, for the uncapped money I worded it badly, it is the approval to move the £50K from the contingency to the gloriana feasibility study I am looking for. In that is the possibility of incorrect procedure. It could be in any meeting.

    • Response thus far is that the uncapping mentioned in 3 June project board minutes occurred at the July Cabinet meeting. We’ve got no chance. They have a tardis.

    • dellboy

      Cabinet meeting July 2013 agenda reports pack, page 27,
      Discretionary reserves currently earmarked,
      Twickenham riverside/uplift projects.
      this is the only reference i can find which might be the approval of the £50k talked about in the june committee meeting to uncap the money.
      If this is so it is disingenuous to say the least.

  6. Eurgain

    Sorry if this has already been dealt with but who actually owns Gloriana? The Gloriana website is not very clear and implies it is Lord Sterling and the Maritime Heritage Trust. However the latter’s website does not mention it.

    And the Gloriana website’s listing of Gloriana’s engagements ends in September 2013. Has it been in use this year?

    • Well spotted.

      It is mentioned in the Trust’s Winter 2014 Newsletter: ‘ . . the rowbarge has now emerged from its “chrysalis”, having been built, named by HM The Queen on 25th April 2012, led the Jubilee flotilla some six weeks later and then carried the Olympic torch down the Thames during its final journey to the Olympic Park . . ‘ – but that is all.

      My guess is that MHT have said that they will only take Gloriana if it comes with an endowment and a home. At present it has neither, so it remains in the hands of those who had it built.

    • Alexis

      Mr Squire has had a letter published in the R&TT which he has chosen to post here as well. This iteration is full of his usual links, one of which caught my interest.
      He says: “The strength of feeling is extraordinary, far greater than that which the Lib Dems aroused when they tried to develop the pool site,”
      A simple click on his link and you will see that he refers to a meeting which took place on Nov 30th 2001! The ill-judged scheme to sell off the Riverside was finally ditched in May 2010 by which time the “strength of feeling” resulted in a 93.5% NO vote in the RUG referendum and all 3 LibDem Riverside councillors losing their seats – did any of them stand up to Lourie on behalf of their constituents? Of course they didn’t. Perhaps Mr Squire should have remembered that before castigating the current Tory councillors.

      I do find this sort of LibDem puff irritating. Mr Squire really should have learnt his lesson, since, as ex- webmaster for the LibDems, whatever he says will forever be tarnished by the “Liar, Liar, Pants on fire!” slur. I still have a cutting from the Informer dated October 30th 2009 if Twickerati would like to publish it.

      Sorry about this to those who are running THE campaign so well. Letters to royalty eh! Good for you. Unfortunately every campaign is infiltrated by those who have different agendas.

      Perhaps I could close by paraphrasing Upend thus:
      “Now I want you to take a good long look at yourself Chris and come back when you realise that you’ve let me down, you’ve let the rest of the posters down, but most of all you’ve let yourself down.”

    • dellboy

      yes Alexis, you are the infiltrator with a different agenda, your consistent attack on lib dems

    • Alexis

      Aah! – thats where you are wrong Mr dellboy. How can I be an infiltrator when I am not a member or activist in THE campaign? I am simply a supporter and reserve the right to comment in this forum whether well or ill informed, as I see fit.
      If Mr Squire chooses to make everything a bit of LibDem propaganda he must accept the risk of a counter argument. Perhaps that is what Mr dellboy doesn’t like, after all the LibDems like dishing the dirt but hate getting anything back. Could that be why he is upset?

    • Thanks for the offer Alexis but that pre-dates this site and the ‘famous’ photograph was all over the internet at the time being used in a myriad of different ways. In some of them the poor child’s shirt had been Photoshopped to change it from its original Feyenoord colours to those of other clubs. The indignity of it all. If we’re not careful we’ll all soon be reminiscing about the endless ‘comedy’ You Tube videos with altered sub-titles in that Hitler rant clip from Downfall.

    • Anonymous

      Well said Alexis!

    • Anonymous

      i read in a newspaper recently (unfortunately I can’t remember which one – probably Evening Standard, Metro or Daily Mail) that Lord Stirling has given the Gloriana to the Queen, as a present.

      It may or may not be true. As you are most likely aware, they don’t always get their facts right.

    • It’s true but the Queen gave it back to him to look after.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for that! I didn’t know that..

  7. twickerman

    And now we have a proposal from Eel Pie Islanders to house Gloriana in one of the existing Eel Pie boatsheds.
    The proposal comes from Henry Harrison (Phoenix Wharf, boathouse etc etc owner) and John Perry (round the world sailor and big cat owner).

    It seems sooo much more appropriate to house Gloriana in an existing boatyard, amongst boatpeople and next to Twickenham Rowing Club rather than plonked in the middle of a lovely park.

    This will be an additional improvement & attraction in the redevelopment of Twickenham Embankment and town centre.

    I find it amazing that Lord True & co didn’t include this rather obvious option in their feasibility study.

    It seems to me there’s a hell of a lot to commend this proposal., and none of the issues that will sink the Orleans Gardens plan.

    • Walkinthepark

      Why on earth would you thumbs down that comment? What on earth could you see wrong with the suggestion? Do please enlighten us?

    • twickerman

      Oops, I forgot to mention that the Eel Pie option shouldn’t cost us residents the £1million or so estimated by the Council.

      And maybe Lord Sterling could invest his £1million in a new visitors bridge so as to not disturb Eel Pie Island residents if there really are going to be 50,000 visitors/year (as claimed in the Council’s Heritage Lottery Fund application).

    • michelangelo

      The feasibility study was done for sites belonging to the Council. If the Eel Pie option were taken up, there would be a substantial cost for the acquisition of the site (might easily be £1million)

    • twickerman

      There’s no need to acquire a boathouse.
      Lord Sterling can rent it just as he’s rented boatsheds and moorings in past two years.
      Why should WE pay to house HIS boat.

  8. Sascha

    So, the latest FOI request reveals that the Heritage Lottery Fund have identified a suitable site:

    Its a derelict boathouse on Platts Eyott, Hampton and on the English Heritage “at risk” register:

    A big shed, with a canal already in place. Looks perfect to me.

    But not for the True / Sterling cronies apparently because they want to want to create a 50,000 visitor p.a. tourist attraction at the end of Orleans Road.

    • Alexis

      I wonder if Sascha has actually visited Platts Eyot.
      I have. I used to row past both sides of it and was fascinated by the crumbling boathouse where WW1 and 2 MTB’s were built and launched. Sadly the listed boathouse, no:4 has been falling down for years despite the sturdy Belfast trusses, which, by the way, supported many wartime aircraft hangars – four of which still stand today at Duxford, built during WW1
      There is a narrow bridge onto the Eyot from the road to Lower Sunbury which precludes easy access.
      It is privately owned and there have been plans for a “Port Hampton”, however I believe that the local councillors are firmly opposed to the proposed development.
      Perhaps a site visit by the Friends and a meet with the owners might be worthwhile? I suspect it will quickly rule the Eyot in or out as an option.

    • Sascha

      I never have Alexis, but I’m intrigued and will try and visit.

      Do the local Councillors opposed to the “Port Hampton” development include the pompous old one from Hampton who is so keen to develop Twickenham Riverside despite the nimbys?

    • Alexis

      Sascha, Platts Eyot is well worth an explore because its quite odd, as am I, since I like old industrial and military buildings. I’m not sure if you need permission, I didn’t a few years ago, so, since there are commercial offices on the Eyot it should still be OK. The car park is on the left just before the Lady Eleanor Holles school boathouse going towards Lower Sunbury. Otherwise google it.
      As to the Councillors – no, its not him! They are; LibDem joint deputy leader Gareth Roberts, quite why they need two deputy leaders and a Leader when there are only 15 of them beats me; LibDem Suzette Nicholson and Tory Petra Sale – a local florist who was newly elected in May.

  9. upend

    does anyone else’s heart sink when yet another party political comment comes onto these threads? I suspect all most of us want is for this oversized shed not to be built (as I also suspect most didn’t want the apartment block in the former swimming pool). Every other comment is some smartarse “I believe this was why the Torylabourcrats got voted out of Purbright in 1926 mwah mwah mwah”.

    no wonder support for the major parties is at an all time low (19% of the electorate voted tory/lib/lab in the Euros)

    Now I want you to take a good long look at yourselves and come back when you realise that you’ve let me down, you’ve let the rest of the posters down, but most of all you’ve let yourselves down.

    • Anonymous

      If you don’t think you can keep politics out of this issue then you are mistaken.
      The whole thing is about politics.
      Patronising and sarcastic remarks like yours offer nothing constructive either.

    • upend

      fair point Anon – it is inherently politics. I wasn’t being entirely serious of course – it probably read better in my head (yes, with the headmasterly voice), than it does on the page.

      Patronising – no wasn’t meant to be. Hand up for the sarcastic bit, I suppose.

      Lastly fair point – I think what I was trying to say was to keep on subject, find a way of mobilising the incredible passion there is around this and don’t get lost in the infighting. You are quite right though, I didn’t offer my own solutions which if I know my quotes makes me part of the problem :).

    • Purple Haze

      Does anyone else’s heart sink when yet another patronising and pompous comment comes onto these threads?
      We’ve obviously been very naughty (political) boys and girls… 😉

    • dellboy

      you sound like a headmaster at assembly saying that some of you here have been naughty, i’ll give the culprits an hour to come forward and apologise!!
      grow up.

    • upend

      no you grow up 🙂

    • dellboy

      OK, i was wading through the council spending declarations, should stayed with the cup of tea during by break.

    • upend

      Probably.. sorry Dellboy couldn’t resist the infantile reference. Please return to your numbers & if you can find out how much has been wasted on this project so far all the better 🙂

    • Purple Haze

      I think this is just a sign of the debate sometimes getting a bit tedious and ending up in circular discussions.
      Mind you, a bit of banter always livens things up and often gets people to focus better. 🙂
      If folk are against the development the main emphasis must be challenging it on planning, loss of amenity and environmental grounds.
      The Council and the Gloriana’s vested interests are doing a very slick PR job at the moment, you can’t deny that.
      All the other alternative locations seem much more suitable than Orleans Park although Lord True seems absolutely determined to develop the Twickenham site.
      This is most certainly because the area was carefully identified and evaluated a long time ago, well before the public and perhaps any local councillors knew about it.

  10. twickerman

    It’s stating the bleeding obvious, but the Gloriana Consultation is as rigged as the Heathrow 3rd runway Con.

    We local turkeys are being Consulted on what stuffing we’d like for Christmas dinner.

    Go stuff your #bloodybigboathouse up some other canal Lordy Nicholas.

  11. Jonathan

    Can armchair auditors help save Orleans Park?

    Remember when the government wanted more transparency in Local Authorities? Making then reveal all spending over £500 – so they can be held responsible for the decisions they make? It also made councils publish data such as full property registers and the status of that holding, which the council only do in part.

    Here is the link to the data for our borough:

    Now compare this the governments “Transparency Code” and you will see the council is falling well short – not only in disclosing invoices, but other areas such as maintaining a full property register, fully itemised credit card spending (now that one is sure to turn up a few things).

    Its time Lord True’s spending was placed under the microscope.

  12. Deirdre

    We have a surfeit of beautiful open spaces, architecture and a stunning riverside all of which attract thousands of visitors to LBRuT. Might I suggest to Lord True that he swallows his pride, shows a little more Tory magnanimity and offers the Gloriana to Hounslow Council. Brentford has shown a desire to host and house the Gloriana and it seems only fair that since we have so much and the majority of Local residents here don’t want it, let others have a share of our very rich cake.

    If LBRuT has a million pounds to spare for a new boat house, Lord True-Blue should be considering spending it on affordable housing for people who are in desperate need for somewhere to live and not on a Norman Foster confection for a barge.

    • Can anybody help me with the rationale for not offering a yes or no option in the consultation document?I am beside myself with rage that we are all so insultingly told that it is not needed.
      Let us imagine there is a move to build a Supermarket at the bottom of Lord True,’s garden . There was once a small ice cream kiosk there, so it could be presented as a restoration. Lord True is handed a consultation document.It claims to be impartial, although it begins by describing the development as a done deal and a wonderful idea.
      A third of the questions ask him to comment on very broad and biased statements such as “British retail deserves every encouragement” or “The Borough deserves access to superb shopping.” The next third ask his opinion of details of the finished store. “Do you think that cycle spaces such as we plan, are important? “”How wonderful will the building be on a scale of one to ten.?”
      Lord True finds he is unable to say that he doesn’t not want the build using the document, indeed, no matter how he fills it out his answers can be presented as at least weak agreement.He is given a blank box to use to express his views, but this can be ignored in the input being collated. . Besides, those pushing the scheme have made it clear that the outcome of the consultation whatever it is will not be used as grounds to stop the build, merely to tinker with it.
      At the same time hundreds and thousands of pounds are used to present the scheme to the rest of the Borough as a wonderful thing, and the bottom of True’s garden as a neglected site which needs to be brightened up by a vast structure being put on it. It would test even his legendary humbleness to agree that a yes or no option was not required.

    • To the thumbs downers, I am mystified. Do you agree with the Local Authority that it was not necessary to give a yes or no option on the consultation document , and agree with the council it is a model of impartiality? Or do you think that Lord True would feel fine about not having the choice himself?

    • mike hine

      Excellent! The situation in a nutshell (if quite a big one).

    • dellboy

      Nic True dare not offer the yes/no option, if it is no there is no room to maneuver. This means he has to go against the will of those voters to get his way, not a good thing politically.
      All the thumbs downers are telling us is they won’t speak up for the scheme because there is not a lot to commend it.

  13. Observations


    Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there lived a Prince who gave his mother a beautiful golden boat. Very pretty dear, she said, but what shall I do with it? You can sit in it for your anniversary and wave at people. So she did – sort of.

    Well that’s that, said his mother, as she packed the party things away. Now what’s to be done with the boat – it’s not something one uses every day. Her wise advisers gave the question some thought – you can give it to someone else to look after they said – so she did.

    But, even if you are a rich man, boats can be expensive, especially a ‘fairy boat’ which needs special care and lots of willing oarsmen to row it up and down the river.

    So the person looking after the golden boat scratched his head and thought and thought and thought. I can give it to someone else to look after, he said, but who can I find who will build a shed big enough to store it in and dig a hole deep enough to float it in – and pay for the privilege. Along came a very humble man who liked doing favours for important people. It will be an honour to look after your boat, he said, I know of just the place for it and I will give you a million pounds to help you pay for everything. The person looking after the boat stared at the humble man. Do you own such a place and do you really have a million pounds? Not exactly, said the humble man, but that is a mere technicality. So it was all agreed.

    But, as we know, boats are expensive and even a million pounds is not enough to do the job. We will ask the people who take care of old and precious things to help us, said the person looking after the boat, they always have lots and lots of money to give away. They both knew that the golden boat was only three years old and not really all that precious but decided that was a mere technicality. So it was all agreed.

    The very humble man then set about the task. He invited lots of important people to sit in the golden boat and be rowed up and down the river working out what to do next. A very famous architect produced some pictures even though he lived a long way away and usually designed airports and things. It was all a very big and exciting secret because the very humble man enjoyed having big and exciting secrets.

    But then he told some of his special friends, and they told their friends and pretty soon everybody knew about it and lots of people started to make a dreadful fuss. That’s our land, they said, and we really, really like it the way it is. And it’s our one million pounds – who said you could use it to dig a big hole and build a big shed?

    The silent majority, said the very humble man, though he had not actually asked anybody. It was all already agreed.

    And so he got into the golden boat, waved to the people making the dreadful fuss, and was rowed away into the sunset – which is particularly pretty on that part of the river bank.

    THE END??

    • boanerges

      I,m sure this is a very clever satire/allegory/fable, but I don’t see how it advances the argument one iota. After more than 600 previous comments, perhaps the steam has come out of this thread?

    • dellboy

      it is a biting, barbed satire lord true et al, showing them as vain, selfish and out of touch.
      Lampooning politicians has gone on for ages,as for the steam going out of the thread, no it will be drawing breath for the next stage.
      check out the R&TT for Vince Cables’ concerns.

    • Walkinthepark

      Boanerges, Lord True didn’t give residents, or even the Councillors who represent us, the same advantage he has had in terms of time and money to get up steam in the first place. I would have thought these record breaking threads were more than enough evidence that the Twickerati are really rather cross about it all and perhaps they have moved on and are now directing their anger towards working hard to raise awareness of the reality of the plans with leaflets and posters for those who maybe do not frequent local websites however brilliantly webmastered, enlisting expert advice to counter the technical, legal and planning cases (and maybe even find that crucial bit of information that will derail the project completely) and to lobby all those who may have the influence to stop them putting the rest of the funding in place or even lean on the Lords to go elsewhere with their plans. Perhaps?

    • Alexis

      I’m pleased to see that Squire and Burningham seem to have been muzzled and that a referendum is a possibility. Also that personal attacks have stopped and a serious effort is being made to win public support. Thats what will win your campaign.
      I’m not sure how many Tory Councillors support Lord True but I suspect that most are a bit sore about being kept in the dark about his plans. Fortunately, unlike LibDem Lourie, he is a pragmatist, has probably already spotted the threat and won’t want to rock the boat prior to next years general election.
      PS: Vince is ever an opportunist – I wish he did something for us as well apart from popping up like this from time to time.

    • James B

      What’s the “your campaign” here ?

      Why not “our campaign” ?

      Are you with those who oppose this, or aren’t you ?

    • dellboy

      thanks for your approval, didn’t know it was required.

    • Sally

      The many comments do not seem to indicate that the whole issue has run out of steam, although I am sure True and Co devoutly wish this to be the case.
      The satire is brilliant, because it is not only funny but it sums up events with merciless and pithy clarity.
      It also presents the points which True et al try very hard to dodge.A deal has been struck behind our backs to spend millions building a hangar for a prop boat and it is presented as a great favour to us all.True does indeed and without irony describe himself as a humble and modest man…indeed as the most modest man he knows! And so on.I love this very funny satire because it is so accurate and I am sure True and Co will loathe it for the same reason.

    • Alexis

      Mr JB asks three simple questions and here are my answers:

      Q. “What’s the “your campaign” here ?”
      A. I’m not part of the campaign so cannot claim any credit for it, I’m simply an observer with experience of challenging and beating the LibDems who wanted to sell off Twickenham Riverside for luxury housing. I think your campaign has a better chance of success if reason and logic prevail rather than the early stridency of some of the campaigners. That’s understandable but I’m pleased to see that they seem to have been muzzled

      Q & A.”Why not “our campaign” ?” Ditto

      Q. Are you with those who oppose this, or aren’t you ?
      A1. Here’s what I wrote on Twickerati, is that clear enough for you JamesB?
      “Finally. I am firmly opposed to the scheme but opposed to the ways of some of those who are opposing it.” 13.07.14
      A2. 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.” 16. 07. 14

      In summary, I am firmly opposed to the Gloriana boathouse being built in Orleans Gardens but I am not averse to it being sited in a more suitable location in our or a neighouring borough. Far too many people sneer at it as a bit of kitsch. I don’t agree. Its a superb piece of craftsmanship which should be respected as such. Its also damned hard to row! Has anyone visited Uppark in West Sussex since it was restored following a disastrous fire? The restoration is superb. That project created vital jobs for apprentice restorers – I suspect that Gloriana created the same opportunities. Whats so wrong with that?

    • Alexis! There you go again! Paragraph two of your reply: “I think your campaign has a better chance of success if..”
      not “Our” not” The” but “Your”.

    • James B

      It seems to me that there are two issues here. The first is the placement of the boat hangar and the second is the merit or otherwise of the Gloriana herself.

      We seem in agreement on the first point.

      As for the merits of the Gloriana, it seems to me that the thing can be best likened to the sort of folly that was created by rich men (and they were usually men) in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. These follies were usually somewhat fanciful pastiches, made to look old although they were actually quite new. They had the merit of creating work and keeping skilled workers going – even of training others, in some cases. These pastiche follies persisted over time and now, of course, have actually become ‘old’ in their own right and notable visitor attractions in some, but not all, cases. I suppose the Gloriana might, eventually, achieve this status. Or it might not; no one notes the follies that fell by the wayside as time passed, of course.

    • Alexis

      Thank you Sally,
      You are quite right. If I post again will refer to THE campaign.
      It’s quite flattering that my words are pored over with so much interest.

      My thanks to JamesB. Each to their own.
      I quite enjoy pastiche follies. Gloriana may well become one even if it was commissioned and paid for by a rich man. Wouldn’t we be a poorer country if rich men hadn’t exercised their vanity over the centuries and created the sort of monuments and artefacts we plebs so admire?
      Perhaps JamesB is a latter day Cromwell?

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Yes Alexis we would be a poorer country without these follies as we would would be without science, medicine, engineering et al. The follies of previous ages were not however built on public land and nor did they require public money to be maintained.

    • dellboy

      so Alexis, you are against the scheme, yet won’t join in to defeat it. So why are you making comments at all?
      You are only interested in having a go at the lib dems, which has no real relevance to these threads, no matter what your personal distrust for them is.

    • Alexis

      Oh dear, yet again I seem to have ired Messrs Upend and dellboy. Apparently we are not supposed to make any political point for fear of offending Upend’s sensitivities, nor are we permitted to comment, or, dare I say it, offer advice, if we are not prepared to be an active participant in THE campaign – thats Dellboys somewhat narrow view.

      May I please remind these two self-appointed censors that this is a public forum very generously hosted by Twickerati and that in his or her words: “It contains news, comment, ill-informed opinion and occasional humour…”
      Mr Upend finishes his post with the following rather pompous statement:
      “Now I want you to take a good long look at yourselves and come back when you realise that you’ve let me down, you’ve let the rest of the posters down, but most of all you’ve let yourselves down.”
      Messrs Upend and dellboy are of course perfectly entitled to their ill-informed opinion as am I.

  14. odtaa

    I’ll do my Mystic Meg predictions on the future of the project>

    1) September. The festival season is over. The harder line environmental protesters will move into park.

    2) The protest will grow and as the Gloriana is associated with the Queen – the protesters will be joined by those protesting against royalty.

    The democratic process stitched up by two Lords and the apparent theft, (that’s how they’ll see it), of public land will make the republican cause stronger.

    3) The project goes ahead. There will be conflicts between squatters, protesters and the builders etc.

    Richmond taxpayers will have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for policing security etc. I’m assuming it will cost us at least another million.

    4) The shed gets built.

    Locals will be crowded out by visitors and the over priced new cafe. The atmosphere in the new playground will be lost.

    5) Everywhere that the Gloriana appears there will be protests.

    For the republican and other protesters the boat makes a perfect target. It’s hard to totally police the banks of the Thames.

    Sad because I quite like the boat.

  15. Purple Haze

    50,000 visitors a year? So nearly 1000 visitors a week? Unmitigated rubbish.
    It also looks like the Lords lined up their ducks well in advance of letting the public and even their councillors know what their intentions were.
    We appreciate that plans, costs and schedules must be drawn up so that they can be presented then analysed by the planning authorities and the public, but the whole scheme has been rolled out almost if it is a fait accompli by Lord True and the Conservatives.
    You can’t deny the political machinations and PR aspects of this project are being deftly handled by the vested interests. But it still looks a vanity project being railroaded through by a very determined group of self-aggrandising individuals, despite so many local residents not being in favour of it.
    A poll allowing anyone, anywhere, to determine whether the boathouse is to go ahead in Orleans Park, will by definition, probably favour the pro-voters too.
    So it looks as though the only way to firmly contest the proposal is on planning grounds. This can be done by questioning the appropriateness of the building, asking technical questions, quantifying the loss of amenity and the impact on the natural environment, assessing the disruption the building work might cause in the construction stage and the issues of traffic and parking when it is opened as a tourist attraction for the thousands of visitors.
    Moral issues such as the cost involved, the Council’s contribution towards it, the message it sends out during times of austerity for many folk, and the political motivation for the project have to be set aside.

    Staying with The Doors theme, how about ‘Ship of Fools’?
    ‘Yeah, along came Mr Goodtrips
    Looking for a new a ship
    Come on people better climb on board
    Come on baby, now we’re going home
    Ship of fools, ship of fools…’

    I’m just imagining the Gloriana in the early morning mists, with it’s Lordly passengers, gently moving upstream from Richmond into The Heart of Darkness that is Twickenham, or the ‘nam’ as Twickerati like to refer to it.
    ‘This is the end…’ 🙂

    • Good point, Purple Haze. In fact your humble correspondent has used ‘Kurtz’ as a username in the past. Not yet said, “exterminate all the brutes” on here though – a little harsh perhaps??

    • Purple Haze

      Are you a dark troubled figure like Kurtz, capable of unspeakable acts, operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct?
      Mind you we’ll probably start to worry when you say things in your editorials like ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’ and ‘this mission does not exist, nor will it ever exist’… 😉

  16. If you don’t already know, visitor projections for The Gloriana are 50,000 per year according to The Council’s application to The Heritage Lottery Fund. Ive posted sections 2-4 on the Facebook page

    Interestingly, when I requested the same information from The Council directly in an FOI they said they hadn’t made any projections at all Mmmmmmmm

    • Please send the HLF bid to me at so that I may pass it on to the Friends who are drafting a letter of objection to go to HLF – they have said that is what they wish to receive, plus the petition and references, etc.

      Sight of the whole bid would be invaluable in rebutting it, obviously. Or if you prefer convey to me at 316a Richmond Rd TW1 2PD.

    • Alexis

      The Friends of Orleans Park campaigning to stop the Gloriana boathouse being built there might like to think about the fact that over 41% of those who voted in Twickenham Riverside, nearly 57% in South Richmond and over 49% in South Twickenham voted for Lord True and his Tory candidates. I suspect that many are unhappy about the boathouse scheme but will object to the unpleasant personal attacks on Lord True and those Councillors who they voted for. Would it not be better to ditch the political/Lord/toff stuff as a bit passe and focus on planning issues and winning the hearts and minds of those who may well be prepared to support you if they have not already been put off and made to feel mugs by crass personal attacks?

      Mr Squire, ex LibDem “webmaster” seems to have become a sort of collator or “webmaster” for the Friends – be very wary and remember that those of us who dared to stand up to Lourie’s Riverside sell-off scheme were branded Liars – nice one Chris! Also, failed LibDem candidate, Dr Susan Burningham who seems to be a leading light, perhaps self-appointed, says that she would “sup with the devil to achieve her aim”. I don’t know why she was unsuccessful but that sort of statement probably goes a long way to explaining it.

      To the real Friends: By all means use them but please don’t let these sort of people hijack your entirely laudable campaign – they may well have a hidden agenda.

    • Sascha

      Have to disagree with you on this one Alexis. I have been in the past a supporter of the Tory candidates. I will not be as supporter of these individuals in the future.

      Frankly I am disgusted at the party’s cynical and crony-ist approach to getting the proposals to this stage and I feel miss-led. The emails that are now coming out expose this. The Riverside councillors were elected to represent the views of the residents in the ward and are clearly failing.

      I think it is entirely appropriate to focus on their individual actions. If they try to play at politics then they need to recognise this.

    • Alexis

      Thats fair enough Sascha and, whilst I respect your point of view, can I please remind you that it was the LibDems who sprung the surprise Co2/CPZ tax scam on us once they were safely elected in 2006. The only mention of that in their manifesto was “we will put the environment at the heart of everything we do”!
      I certainly felt “miss-led”. Perhaps the Tories have finally learnt to play the game every bit as dirty as the LibDems. Thats why I suggest you be very wary about political warriors motives.

      Lets not forget that the 3 LibDem Twickenham Riverside Councillors, Trigg, Carr and Wilson all supported Lourie’s plan to sell off the Riverside. Its also well worth remembering that Trigg was the fall guy tasked with forcing through the Co2/CPZ tax, Denise Carr came in for a great deal of stick for reducing services to the elderly – remember the meals on wheels debacle? Wilson won’t be remembered for much in Riverside other than his claim to fame as being the youngest Councillor ever elected. He was unsuccessful in Whitton. None of them are Councillors any more.

      If I were you, I wouldn’t rubbish the current Councillors although with Squire and Burningham publicly on side, you probably have a problem.
      Anyway; its your game, so, good luck

    • Alexis

      I’m sorry, I forgot to ask what and where are the emails you refer to.

    • dellboy

      what have the past activities of the lib dems got to do with the tory activity over the glorians? absolutely nothing!
      are you saying if the lib dems did nasty things,
      this gives those in power now to copy them?
      if you have anything genuine to contribute to the gloriana debate like how lord true changed “improving river parks” into the mess we have now i would be grateful.
      as to your dislike of the lib dems this is not the forum.

    • dellboy

      for glorians? please read gloriana?

    • Alexis

      Thank you for your interesting response Mr Dellboy, I have put it in my DNR file until 01.08.24. I hope thats acceptable.
      PS: Thank you also Mr Squire for the link to emails about Gloriana – those aren’t particularly interesting but the Council officers and contractors observations in the accompanying reports certainly are – I will read them.

  17. The barge house issue is not over by any means It has only just begun. Standby for more actions this week as we move into Stage Two of the Fight.

  18. Questions

    If the boat is going to be taken off site for the maintenance work and out and about elsewhere on the river in summer, when will it actually be in it’s £3million + house in our park?!!

  19. Checking info from the FOI request:
    Appropriation of public open space was considered. MA questioned whether the public can be charged for entry to land that was formerly public open space? PC said that land could be appropriated using powers in the Local Government Act 1972.
    Gloriana Board Meeting 3rd June 2014

  20. Jonathan

    Spot the Gloriana Boathouse proposal in the Tory manifesto:

    Maybe its written in micro-print, or invisible ink!

    • dellboy

      page 7 of the manifesto, create a new river park embracing twickenham and ham.
      the best is on page 8 Lord true defending neighbours against overbearing planning to the BBC

  21. Angelina Jolly

    Thanks for The Doors Crystal Ship Twickerati; lovely on a hot summers day. Cant say the boathouse will be equally lovely on a similar day in the future; as it will block out the sun.

    Can someone please remind me why the Gloriana needs a boathouse, as has been said, why it can’t be kept on the water at the end of a locked gangplank like other Thames historic craft?

  22. A boat park on brown-field land in Brentford sounds a better bet to me !