Earlier this year, following a feasibility study which considered various sites in the Borough, Richmond Council opened a consultation on a possible site for a home for The Queen’s Rowbarge, Gloriana, on the site of the former Orleans House boatyard and dock.
Though results of the consultation have not yet been fully analysed it is clear a substantial majority of respondents were opposed to Gloriana’s permanent home at this site.
It has therefore been agreed between the Council and the Gloriana trustees not to proceed any further with this project. The Heritage Lottery Fund application has been withdrawn. No planning application will be presented by either party. No other site is being offered or considered by the Council.
Speaking after the announcement, Cllr Pamela Fleming, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:
“It is a pity that this beautiful craft, which was conceived on our river, will not find a home here. She could have been a great asset to future generations in Twickenham and the whole Borough. However, as the Cabinet Report in July showed, we always acknowledged the significant issues to address on this site, notably in terms of preservation of character, access and the construction period. While we believe that with goodwill most, if not all, of those could have been addressed in a pre-planning and planning phase, the controversy that has been aroused does not create the conditions in which that could be done. We have decided therefore to let the matter rest.”
Cllr Lord True, Leader of the Council, added:
“Gloriana deserves to – and I am sure will – find a home where she is welcome and can be cherished for what she is, a working vessel serving charitable causes, a triumph of Borough craftsmanship, a future part of our national heritage and a tangible monument in centuries to come to the Diamond Jubilee of a great Queen. We wish her well.
“Given that our own master boat builder, Mark Edwards, created her, it was natural to explore the possibility of a home here in the Borough. I would like to thank Lord Sterling, Foster + Partners, the Gloriana team and all those who worked to bring forward an idea for public discussion and consultation. Many local people did support the idea of Gloriana’s coming to the Borough, but, sadly, in hosting such a unique and specialised craft, a number of technical issues arise, which limit the number of practical sites and require compromise. The Council has no current plans to conduct any further studies.”
Speaking on behalf of Gloriana Lord Sterling stated: “We were kindly invited to work with Richmond Council on a study to assess the feasibility of building a permanent home for The Queen’s Rowbarge, Gloriana, in Richmond. Sadly, the consultation carried out following the feasibility study showed that there is opposition to using this particular site. We have therefore decided to explore further locations along the river.”
— from a Richmond Council press release – 11 September 2014