Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Hampton Court Rescue Campaign backs Steve

Today I have received the endorsement of the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign. This is a major boost to my campaign and to say I am thrilled and delighted is an understatement! It shows my campaign themes of protecting Molesey from the parking problems likely to be made worse by building at the Jolly Boatman and station site, and fighting for the best outcomes for Molesey regarding the JB site, are hugely important to the people of Molesey!

Below is the announcement, my thoughts to follow after I've gathered them!

This email is for HCRC supporters living in the Molesey East Ward but may also be of interest to other supporters.

As a supporter of our fight to stop the enormous development that includes the Jolly Boatman site next to Hampton Court station, you will be aware that Hampton Court Rescue Campaign seeks to have the Jolly Boatman area landscaped to enhance the heritage views of the Palace from our side of the river.

We would like to make it absolutely clear that HCRC is a non-political, single issue, pressure group. Its only role is to fight against the Jolly Boatman development and the adverse impact the currently approved scheme will have on Hampton Court Palace and the local community of Molesey.

Being non-political, HCRC is able to support any person or organisation it feels will fight against this dreadful development - its financial and practical support of Keith Garner’s High Court action is an example of this.

HCRC will fight this development anywhere and everywhere so the future of the Jolly Boatman site will continue to be the hottest local issue in Molesey long after the coming May elections.
Molesey will be kept busy this summer. The Hampton Court Flower Show, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games will focus the world’s attention on our precious local heritage.

Parking and traffic will be pressure points in residential roads during this time, but will offer residents and businesses a foretaste of what Molesey’s streets will be like when construction of the Jolly Boatman development starts and the Station car park has to close.

The local Elections offer us the opportunity to have better community representation and a louder lobby in Elmbridge's Council Chamber, so identifying the strongest candidate for Councillor of Molesey East, has been high on the HCRC agenda.

HCRC committee is truly non-political - we include MRA supporters, Liberal Democrats, Labour supporters, Conservatives - but as a Group we will support any political candidate who will properly and openly represent our interests and the Molesey Community.

There are only two credible candidates: Steve Bax Conservative and Nigel Cooper Molesey Residents Association.

HCRC has read the messages that the two candidates have published in their pre-election newsletters and more importantly, we have now had the opportunity to study both manifestos. Steve Bax has enthusiastically grasped the issues that concern HCRC. At the top of his list of manifesto pledges is to fight against the huge impact the Jolly Boatman development will have on Molesey. By contrast, HCRC cannot find even a small mention of the JB development in Nigel Cooper’s manifesto – no short term commitment to push for the site to be cleaned up ahead of the 2012 summer events, nor a pledge to fight the development in the longer term.
Read both candidate’s newsletters and manifestos, speak to them on the doorstep during canvassing, and judge for yourself.

HCRC believes Steve Bax to be the strongest candidate to represent Molesey East Ward in the forthcoming elections. We are certainly not endorsing the EBC Conservative Group as a whole, but are persuaded that Steve Bax will do the best job for Molesey in the difficult times ahead.

Your vote for Steve on Thursday 3rd May will be crucial in the fight against the Jolly Boatman development.

If your neighbours are not on our database, please share this email.
Hampton Court Rescue Campaign


  1. This is hilarious. Like mice voting for a new cat just because it purrs. Your party forced through this horrible development! Where were you?! How exactly do you propose to reverse the damage your party has done to the Boatman site?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the comment Bluebird. You are correct that Conservative votes allowed this scheme to go ahead, but it was never supported by Tories in Molesey. Many quit the party in disgust, including I believe the co-chairman of the HCRC Mr Rusbridge.
    You asked where I was: I was a member of the local media at the time and my papers The Herald & Informer covered the issue extensively. Had I been a Conservative councillor I would have voted against it, but crucially I would have tried to influence Conservative colleagues to vote against it too. Some of them thought on balance the scheme was worth backing (to clear up the site and because it would have brought the Star & Garter serviceman's charity to the borough) but may have been persuadable.
    If the developer is unable to commence building by June 16th 2013 it must renew its planning permission, and if that happens Molesey will need a voice within the Conservative majority to get a different outcome next time. This is where I can be most useful to the HCRC.
    I want to see the station revamped, and the Boatman site become a community garden and will support any credible plan to purchase it from the developer.
    If I am the 'purring cat' my opponent could well be the ostrich with his head in the sand. Molesey is being deluged with commuter cars as railway users avoid the station car park charges and park all day in our residential streets. If the JB development goes ahead it will mean the loss of the 204-space station car park during the building work and eject still more cars into Molesey.
    We need to get our defences in place and I have proposed a one hour restriction on parking in commuter-hit streets. During the hour residents can park in their drives or we can issue permits. Afterwards normal service resumes and people will be able to visit householders or park up and frequent the local shops.
    The MRA opposes parking restrictions and would presumably be content to see Molesey drown under the onslaught of commuter cars. My opponent at this election makes no mention of this important issue or even the Jolly Boatman scheme itself.
    The HCRC is not backing the Conservative Party, but has endorsed me personally as the candidate who it believes best understands the issues at stake and is going to do something about them.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Appears someone was pulling a fast one. Here is a definitive statement today from the HCRC, which has for a long time done a brave job in the face of Consrvative determination to get the Gladedale scheme through, and (in the case of former MP Ian Taylor, Conservative, Esher & Walton) prevent the issue being taken at the national level it deserves: I quote:

    "In HCRC’s battle to preserve and protect this precious piece of our heritage we have received strong support from many quarters, locally, nationally and internationally, as well as from the Molesey Residents’ Association and a Surrey County Councillor.....

    ....Some HCRC supporters reviewed the contents of each of the respective manifestos and, unsurprisingly, questioned the absence of any policy about the secure future of the Jolly Boatman site in one of them. Unfortunately, this observation was then published. "

    I think it is important not to play party politics with this matter, so that all can pull together to get a better outcome for this site, which all can feel good about. I know that the Conservatives have had qualms about their decision, and quite right too. They should join the consensus, not split it.

    - Keith

  5. Hi Keith,
    I have seen this latest communication and am a little baffled by it. It is my understanding that the HCRC Committee - the people who run the campaign - approved the decision to endorse me and the first official email. It is not and I am sure would never, backing the Conservative Party, it is simply saying that I am its preferred candidate based on my consistent stance on the JB and related issues, and the lack of any manifesto commitments from my MRA opponent.
    My position has not altered and nobody from the HCRC has been in touch to say that it is withdrawing its endorsement. So as far as I am concerned the first statement still stands until I hear otherwise.
    We are in an election campaign and the JB is a very much a live issue in the ward. People quite reasonably will want to know the position of the candidates on this important issue. I have made my position clear on this website and on doorsteps. My opponent has avoided any mention of it.
    I don't know on what basis you claim the Conservatives are trying to split the consensus. I am simply reacting as any good would-be ward councillor should, to a major issue in the area and taking a stand on what I believe to be the side of the people. If it means working with the MRA councillors I am happy to do that - this sounds like a Conservative joining the consensus to me!