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Palace objects to riverside plans

5 November 08 14:49 GMT

Plans to build flats, a hotel and a car park opposite Hampton Court Palace in Surrey should go to a public inquiry, a conservationist has said.

John Barnes, conservation director at Hampton Court, said the riverside development was huge and inappropriate.

The proposal has already been approved by one committee at Elmbridge council, and will be considered again next week.

No-one was available to comment for the developers Gladedale. The council also declined to comment.

A spokeswoman for Elmbridge Borough Council said the authority could not comment while the planning process was under way.

Letter to government

Mr Barnes said: "We're angry and running out of options.

"We all agree that the eyesore which is around the station at the moment and the dereliction needs to end and a solution needs to be found.

"We also all agree that some kind of development is going to be necessary to make that happen.

"But what is on the table at the moment is just huge in scale. It's urban in nature. It halves the distance from the East Molesey conservation area to the palace and is just inappropriate in style."

He said the full frontage of the planned 46-bedroom hotel was "taller and wider" than the west front of the Tudor palace and would be "pretty obvious", and added that the plans should go to a public inquiry.

'Sensitive location'

Mr Barnes said a letter had also gone from the Historic Royal Palaces to the government with a request that the plans are called in to be considered by the Secretary of State.

Councillors on the planning committee have been recommended to approve the plans on 11 November.

Papers said the site was "highly sensitive" because of the location opposite the palace.

But they added the site had been run down for more than 20 years, no successful development scheme had emerged, and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment had said it was one of "Britain's Worst Wasted Spaces".

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