Shire Horses in Hurst Meadows - photo ©Mick Rock
RARE  Great Burnet Autumn Squill - a rare plant now confirmed growing in Hurst Park and nowhere else in Surrey RARE Bee Orchid in Hurst Meadows The Hurst Marker RARE Hybrid Duck at Hurst Park Lady's Smock (Cuckoo Flower) Hurst Park signpost

Click photos to enlarge


The aftermath of the regatta 2018

Hampton Head, held at Hurst Park on 3 February 2018, left a legacy of mud - but organisers are pledging this will not be repeated. They have stated that the size of this February regatta, for fours and eights, may be reviewed, and they will be looking at other measures to limit damage to the Hurst and reduce traffic around the Hurst Park Estate. This will involve Elmbridge Council, local organisations and local people.

Meanwhile, the organisers have promised they will reinstate the ground as quickly as possible. After a site meeting with organisers and groundsmen from Hampton School there is a plan of action to chain-drag the area to level it, and to seed it. This will happen once the ground has dried out so the process can break up the mud.

Molesey Veterans' Head will take place on the Thames at Hurst Park on Saturday 17 February.

Following withdrawal of an application for a large building and enclosure on the Thames Path at Hurst Meadows last year, 1st Molesey Seascouts have a further proposal for something very much the same: a building more than 30m x 20m x 7.55m high, alongside the towpath.

The earlier application in 2016 received unequivocal objections from all the statutory consultees: Environment Agency, Elmbridge Borough Council, conservation organisations, the Thames Landscape Strategy Community Group, all local residents' organisations and hundreds of individuals who use Hurst Park and Meadows..

You can see the earlier application in full on these pages here and here and also here.


Slumboat at Hurst Park
Slumboat at Hurst Park, with tug

Latest - Reply from the Minister (October 2017)

It was in August that the Slumboat which had taken so many years to get moved from Hurst Park was replaced by another much the same, owned by the same person. It was moved by the owner from unauthorized mooring at Thames Water in Hampton to the previous unauthorized position on Hurst Park.

It has since moved again - these large vessels are now far more mobile, since the owner acquired a small tug, "Buster". This can keep these short-term onboard lodgings on the move, occupying different parts of the riverbank upstream and downstream of Molesey Lock and making enforcement difficult. Local residents are active working with the Environment Agency and other authorities, and also working with our MPs..

Molesey MP Dominic Raab agrees with the Friends that better and stronger enforcement is needed against all this unauthorised mooring of live-aboard and derelict vessels, and wrote on our behalf to DEFRA to say so. Mr Raab wants to see a review of the enforcement powers available, but the response from Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, favours a local solution. However, the reply to Mr Raab tells us that DEFRA is working with the Department of Comunities and local Government and the Environment Agency, which indicates involvement at a higher level too.

Mr Gove stated in his letter to Mr Raab: "I understand from the EA that this particular matter with slum boats is on the increase as people move to live on the waterways as a cheaper alternative to housing. The government is supportive of local level discussions to take place between the key parties affected to work together and find an appropriate solution. My officials will liaise directly with the DCLG and the EA to find the appropriate contacts for these discussions...."

The slumboat, also described by some as a "floating dosshouse", is one of a number of similar vessels on the Thames owned by Mr Alastair Trotman. It contains up to 10 sleeping compartments rented out at around £30-£40 a night. The vessels themselves are unpowered and usually moored to trees, almost always exceeding the 24 hours allowed by the Environment Agency for legitimate "mooring in passing" by many weeks or months..

These slumboats moor up on the Thames without paying mooring fees and have featured on BBC London television news where, not surprisingly, they were declared to be a fire hazard by safety experts. There is also the concern that many of these unauthorised live-aboard boats are unsanitary and pollute the river as they have no access to mains sewage or services of any kind. This reach of the Thames is where Thames Water extracts much of London's drinking water at Hampton Waterworks.

Previously users of the park have complained about finding human excrement and toilet paper amongst the trees near the slumboat. The Environment Agency has taken Mr Trotman to court on several occasions but civil courts appear limited when it comes to long term enforcement powers..

The following media links provide more information about the slumboats:

Our previous Slumboat Stories

Slumboat in Wikipedia

From the Guardian 23 Feb 2014

Reclaim our Riverbank - 2014

EA Impose fines on Slumboat owners Nov 2015

BBC report Fire Risk - video 23 March 2016

Fines for illegal mooring January 2017

Court confirms no long term mooring 23 November 2016

Slumboats removed by EA - Local Guardian 28 Feb 2017

A planning application has been submitted to Elmbridge Borough Council by Hurst Park Residents' Association for a board illustrating some of the wildlife species to be found at Hurst Park, with opportunity for public comment. To see proposal please tap here.

Elmbridge Borough Council is drawing up its revised Local Development Plan - the blueprint for planning in the borough into the future - and it includes a recommendation to designate Hurst Park and Meadows as Local Green Space. This is something all Friends can back, and many of us have through the consultation. Our MP, Dominic Raab, has written in support of the designation which now also has the backing of the Molesey Residents' Association and its councillors..

Is the area demonstrably special to the local community? This is the important question for us, and Hurst Park and Meadows meet all the requirements for the designation. LGS will confer further protections on this cherished public open space, natural floodplain and nature conservation area.

Read why it is being proposed for Local Green Space in the supplementary detail.

You can always write direct to the planning department with everything you want to say about what Hurst Park and Meadows mean to you.

Tap here for the Local Development Plan consultation document. (Q22 relates to Local Green Space)

Autumn squill bloomd have reappeared on the park this year (2017) in some numbers. This rare little wildflower is found nowhere else in Surrey, but was recorded in the Hurst Park area as long ago as the mid 19th century.

Major proposals with the objective of managing floodrisk in unprotected flood plain from Teddington to Datchet are something we should know more about. Catch up on the latest on the website here.

Surrey County Council, as Lead Local Flood Authority, has been running a consultation on its new flood risk management strategy. It is important this document includes protections for our natural flood plain of Hurst Park and Meadows, and the Friends has submitted a response.

Tap here for the flood risk management proposals

Following objections from the statutory consultees, most notably the Environment Agency, application 2016/2760 for a large boathouse and activities hub by the river in Hurst Meadows, with launch area on the riverbank, has been withdrawn by the 1st Molesey (Jaguar) Sea Scouts. The Friends always stand ready to help with finding an appropriate waterside location for a replacement boatshed for this scout group.

Tap here to see the withdrawal notice.

For the full history of this proposal, see our archive pages here.