The 1st Molesey (Jaguar) Sea Scout Group in Molesey, along with Surrey Search & Rescue, are planning on building a community water activity centre and search and rescue training facility at Hurst Park.
The proposal is for a water activity centre to help develop and increase ‘on-water’ opportunities provided by the scouts and according to the group, “will enable the Scout Group to reach all members of the community regardless of social background, ability or additional needs.”
Additionally, the proposed centre will provide a training facility for Surrey Search & Rescue and storage for their rescue equipment.
Following consultation with the public, Environment Agency, the Thames Landscape Strategy, potential users and planning officers, the scheme has been updated considerably to address initial concerns relating to the size of the building, design, access and landscaping.
The project consists of two key elements:
A building providing secure, internal storage and welfare facilities for participants of activities
Improved riverside access via a Riverbank Naturalisation Scheme
The proposal has gathered a considerable amount of support and objections from both sides of the river. Objections have mostly been raised concerning the increased river traffic, effects to the environment and the risk of the future of the Hampton Ferry itself, which has operated on the river for nearly 500 years.
Michael Douglas, co-owner of the Hampton Ferry, says;
“The provision of ‘beaches’ to enable access to the water would make it almost impossible to safely bring the Ferry into the Molesey bank”, and raises concerns in regards to the increased river traffic, which”will surely be dangerous to the young children that this is proposing to add to the river”.
William Weisblatt, on behalf of the Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare Trust, commented on the size of the proposed development and potential environmental impact;
“As well as caring for the Temple and Lawn we are as part of the riverside community very concerned about the potentially damaging effect, both immediately and in the long term, that such a structure, and the activities that would be carried on in it and on the surrounding area and on the river itself, would have on the wildlife and trees and vegetation of this relatively unspoilt natural environment”