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Palace building scheme defended

6 November 08 16:24 GMT

Developers planning to build flats and a hotel on land in Surrey opposite Hampton Court Palace have hit back at claims the scheme is "inappropriate".

It follows calls for a public inquiry by the Historic Royal Palaces which said the hotel would be larger than the Tudor palace's west front.

Gladedale said local consultation had changed the plans "dramatically".

A spokeswoman said the development was no taller than any nearby buildings and the palace faced away from the site.

She said the Jolly Boatman site had been derelict for more than 20 years, and was voted one of Britain's Worst Wasted Spaces in 2003.

And she added that only 30% of the land would be developed, while 70% would remain open space.

"Hampton Court Palace, a quarter of a mile away on the other side of the river, faces away from the site towards parkland and mature trees," she added.

She said the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment had "applauded the sensitive design of the scheme", as well as English Heritage.

The development would also bring investment to Hampton Court Station.

Falklands veteran Simon Weston was promoting plans for a care home on the site for disabled ex-Service men and women, the spokeswoman added.

She said the home, run by The Royal Star and Garter charity, would provide a building in a "perfect location".

On Wednesday, palace conservation director John Barnes had said the development was "huge, urban and inappropriate".

He 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.

Elmbridge Borough Council has declined to comment while the planning process is under way.

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

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