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

Vista across Hurst Park

A habitat plan is leaving unmanaged margins to encourage hedgehogs into Hurst Park and Meadows and to give them safer routes, shelter and cover to move around. This followed a meeting with local community representatives and the council's Green Spaces Development officer in late January 2022. Hedgehogs have been seen in Hurst Park Estate.

An increasing body of evidence is building about health risks from swimming in our river water.

Unuthorised mooring STILL blighting our Molesey Riverbank

slumboats at hurst park

The local community will not give up! There is now a dedicated organisation, Molesey Riverside Action Group (MRAG), bringing organistions from both sides of the river together, fighting the blight of unuthorised mooring throughout Molesey Reach. Legal actions continue, and they will reported here from Staines County Court when a case is heard for trespass against several long-term live-aboard boats moored upstream at Molesey Reservoirs. These vessels occupy the public navigtion and some occupants illegally enclose public land alongside the Thames Path right of way. Water and land are our common assets where public access dates back time immemorial.

There have been successes: a court case, brought in Staines Magistrates' Court, against Alistair Trotman, then owner of the unsightly accommodation barges (pictured), moored without authorisation for years at Sadlers Ride carpark, in the Arcadian view from Hampton. The EA was pleased to achieve on 7 October 2021 convictions on four charges - two each for obstruction of the river and failing to comply with the Harbourmaster's Direction. These incidents were at Molesey Lock in March 2019. However, the boats are still there (July 2023)!

Alistair Trotman appeared at Staines Magistrates Court on 19 Janury 2022 for sentencing and
was fined £200 on each of the four offences, with a total of £21,471.40 costs (to be paid off at £200 a month). This is unlikely to meet Environment Agency expenditure, following four and a half days in court with lawyers and officers, investigations, paperwork, etc. The Environment Agency barrister commented to the court on the prolonged process, which might normally occupy a hearing of, say, a morning and that this was why costs were somewhat disproportionate to the fines levied.

Trotman repeatedly asked to have the sentencing proceedings recorded and when this was refused, as the court does not make recordings, he attempted to to set up his own. The clerk responded that this would be asking for something illegal and he would not agree to it. The judge further pointed out that it was a summary court, not a court of record. Those attending would have to take notes.

Report of the case on the Environment Agency website: press release on the case is here.

For the community, it is good to know that the authorities continue with efforts to rid our river banks of long-term unauthorised, unregulated and unmonitored residential boats and accommodation barges, commonly known as "trampboats" and "slumboats". From Elmbridge Council,. there are updates here.

Elmbridge Council has made it clear that any development on the public open land, flood plain and Green Space of Hurst Park and Meadows is unlikely to be permitted.

See more here.

You can find the background and history to both applications from 2018 and from 2016 for a Water Activities Centre at Hurst Meadows Riverside, starting here.