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London - Campaign to Protect Rural England

Orleans Riverside picnic

Orleans Riverside picnic

On Saturday 30th August, local MP Vince Cable and his wife joined CPRE London members for a picnic at the Orleans Park riverside in Twickenham. Latest update: Richmond Council have now withdrawn their plans.

The idea behind the picnic was to encourage people to respond to the local authority’s opinion survey on a proposal to build a boat house and dry dock within the park, near where the Ham House ferry embarks.

We talked with passing local residents, and some of these, along with our members, filled in the survey forms. These were later delivered to the Civic Centre.  

Most of the people we talked with had objections to the proposal to make a new home for the Queen’s Rowbarge Gloriana in this charming place.  The sponsors of the boat seem confident they will win through - it is being championed by Lord True, who is coincidentally leader of the local planning authority and chairman of the park’s trustees.  A formal proposal by Gloriana’s sponsors and business partners will go to the local authority later this year and when the details are known there will be a full public consultation.  Our small contribution to the council survey was just a curtain-raiser.

We were joined at the picnic by local residents, members of the council’s Liberal Democrat opposition group, and their colleague and local MP the Rt Hon Vince Cable. They told us they will oppose the project.  It was additionally encouraging to learn that these politicians were aware of CPRE London’s wider agenda, and we had a useful conversation with the Secretary of State about our “Campaign for a Liveable London”.

Members will know that our officers, sometimes accompanied by trustees, have visited many of the inner London boroughs to explore housing and neighbourhood design questions.  Our visit to the Borough of Richmond was informed by our awareness that we need to learn more about current issues in the outer boroughs, where so many green spaces deserve to be protected.  In due course we will do more outer London visits and events.  Suggestions welcome!

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