Proposed Water Activity Centre ©Jaguar Sea Scouts
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What you think about the Water Activity Centre proposal?


Click here to see the latest modifications to the proposal.

Click here to see comments on the Jaguar Sea Scout website

The following comments have been sent to the Friends of Hurst Park in response to the proposal. We have used initials to indicate the contributors to preserve their privacy. We have encouraged a cross section of opinion from people who feel they are affected, but have called a halt to publishing comment as our volunteers have been subjected to some rude and aggressive messages.

We suggest future comments should be sent by email directly to:

August 2015:
Whilst Jaguar Sea Scouts and scouts in general are activities which deserve support, I cannot support this proposal. The open space at Hurst Park should be maintained for everyone to enjoy. It is too valuable an asset in this crowded part of the country to be given up for special interest groups - no matter how worthy they are. It seems we have constantly to be on the alert to prevent the open space being given away. In the recent past we have lost some of it to the boat club (which appeared to have been handed over without any proper public consultation) and, had we not resisted attempts by the cricket club to fence off an area of the Meadows, we would have lost that too.
’The proposal by the Jaguar Scouts is particularly unsatisfactory because it involves restricted access to the towpath by the general public as well as the construction of buildings and the removal of established trees.
I believe the Jaguar Sea Scouts previously had a base on the Thames near Apps Farm but that the (French) firm redeveloping the area into wetlands reneged on the agreement to re-establish the base on completion of the works. Hence the need for the Sea Scouts to find a new home. Rather than taking over part of Hurst Park for this purpose, and thereby denying use of this area to the public, it would be far preferable if our local councillors and Elmbridge Council could be asked to bring pressure to bear on the firm to honour the agreement for the Sea Scouts to retain their existing base in its current location.

For the above reasons, I strongly oppose the proposal for a Water Activities Centre on Hurst Park. - PA

I agree to the comments with regard toi the support of the Scouts in developing an activity center but it needs to be located in the right location. The access to use the facilities should be made available more generally, as with the ability to rent boats near Hampton court bridge, I would love the opportunity through a new public centre to canoe etc from Hurst park with friends and family. The creation of such a facility should not result in a closed of access to the river bank, diverting the walking path around a fenced off private area. The access should be retained identical to Molesey boat club where the public retains uninterrupted access along the river bank whilst the club house has access to pontoons and the river. - DB

I am shocked to see this proposal to build a river activities centre on our Hurst Park riverside. No matter how worthy the Sea Scout cause it should be obvious to anyone of any sensitivity that this building is the wrong place. How much wildlife will be destroyed to make it. No, no, no is my response. - MT

The Hurst Park School is shortly to move to new premises and be replaced by a secondary school. Has anyone suggested that the school site would be an ideal location for the sea scout centre instead of destroying our precious, natural riverside. The secondary school could probably share the facilities too. - HG

Rowing is difficult enough on the river now with obstacles like the illegal Hucks boatyard development but to have children in the river at this point near Ducks Eyot is just asking for accidents. One has to wonder if the Sea Scouts safety advisors know what they are doing. - FK

Why is Elmbridge Council so keen to give our open land away? First Molesey Boat Club were given a large chunk then, four years ago, the Cricket Club wanted to have a cricket pitch in the centre of the meadows. Now we have the sea scouts wanting to build a huge water activity centre on the only part of Hurst Park that is not overlooked by rows of houses. If we let this happen which bit will be next? This is a unique area. We must not lose it. - AJ

I believe this is a completely inappropriate site for such a large development and it would completely alter the area of Hurst Park between the cricket club and the slipway. The project would involve a large amount of construction traffic and the towpath is quite unsuitable to carry it, so a temporary road would be needed for hundreds of yards across the open grass. It is easy to see that this road would become permanent since it's hard to imagine that pedestrian-only access would be enough for such an ambitious activity centre. - PB

Everyone talks about child protection, but it just isn't safe for inexperienced children and young people to be messing about in canoes and on rafts in a busy navigation channel. You get long narrow boats, big cabin cruisers and dutch barges in both directions in this channel and we often see people in hire motor boats swerving about all over the place. Many of them haven't got a clue and theyre not in control (sometimes the worse for drink). This happens a lot in nice weather. This kind of activity should be on a lake or in a pool. - RS

Thanks for the information.  I am very much against rooting up trees or messing about with the river bank. Apart from flood problems this is not the place for it.  We have enough building in wrong places already along the river.  I’m all for rowing but not this  idea.  - HO

Until recently there was a notice on this land to say it was given to the people of Molesey as public open space and no buildings could be put on it. Mysteriously the sign seems to have been taken away. Can amyone else remember it? - JH

Like everyone else I think the suggested building is too large and in the wrong place. How about putting it on Platt's Eyot and maybe utilize some of those old boathouses over there? - DM

We are horrified by this proposal. There is nowhere appropriate on the riverbank of Hurst Park Open Space for the Sea Scouts' activity centre. The towpath should be protected for public use: it is already one of the busiest stretches of the Thames towpath with cyclists, walkers and sponsored charity events. The erection of a building on this beautiful riverside is totally against the ethos of the open space: the clue is in the name. The river along this stretch is already crowded and dangerous with rowers, sailing boats and motor cruisers and is just not safe for youngsters learning water skills.
It is appalling to think that they would even consider cutting down trees and shrubs on this green natural stretch of riverside. We should also think that the residents of Hampton would be completely against a development of this kind ruining their view.

The Sea Scouts would almost certainly hire out the Centre for daytime and evening events, which would create even more disturbance on this quiet riverside path.
This project also seems to contravene the policy of the Thames Landscape Strategy to conserve landscapes and
the natural environment.
Apps Court seems to be a much more suitable location or perhaps close to the Excel Leisure Centre? - AC

Jim and I would love to see the Molesey sea-scouts have a hut closer to the river, but does it have to be so large and in a place where it will do so much harm to our riverside? We do not like it I'm afraid. - BR

I agree in principle that a base for the Sea Scouts is probably a good idea but do not think that the proposed location is at all suitable. The stretch as you mention is widely used by walkers, like myself, cyclists. It is not a quiet area from a residents point of view. It is an attractive piece of land and there is little to recommend this utility building - it certainly will not enhance the area. I cannot understand why the Sea Scouts cannot have a closer link with the Rowing Club who were recently awarded a very large grant to fund a rowing tank and given extra land (Elmbridge Council) for boat storage. When they applied for the grant. it was stated that they would encourage partners to use the new facility - why not the Scouts? One would assume that a Sea Scout is relatively local yet the Boat Club is likely to attract members from a far wider area - certainly outside Molesey.
A more suitable place would possibly be further along the riverbank, possibly somewhere where the water gypsies seem to have taken hold in often scruffy almost derelict boats. Such a development would surely curb such moorings, make the area busier at times and thus safer for lone walkers and cyclists.
My husband has written to Mike Axton raising concerns and so also agrees with your sentiments. I also talked to Friends at the Molesey Library Coffee Morning yesterday and the feeling was that the location is not appropriate. - PM and FM

I am very much against this development. The riverside and towpath are very important as community facilities for all, not simply for closed societies. I have used the riverside here on an almost daily basis for the last 30+ years. The proposed development would destroy natural habitat for a host of animals and birds that currently are free to use the riverside. The area should be preserved as a public facility and not assigned, at the whim of the powers that be, to a select few.
Why is it that there is a succession of attempted land-grabs along this section of the river? If there was a workable plan to develop the previous facility, I would much prefer this to the current proposal. - DJ

This looks like the thin end of a very thick wedge. Once one building is allowed on the park riverside it will be just a matter of time before the whole riverside is developed as the value of riverside property is now astronomically high. The process is irreversible. Pressure on the landowner, that is the council, to allow more and more development will be enormous. We should look at what has happened in downstream areas along the Thames and take heed before its too late to save Hurst Park. - GG

The island Ducks Ait and the riverside at this point is an SNCI, a site of Special Nature Conservation Importance and a nature reserve. It is outrageous that any organisation should suggest destroying trees and riverside plants to develop a River Centre and equally outrageous that the nesting wild fowl on Ducks Ait should be subjected to this disturbance. I strongly object to this insensitive proposal. - RR

I fully support this project but never never on this site. This is the longest piece of undisturbed riverbank along this stretch of the river and must remain as such for the many reasons given by others in their comments.
Dozens of scouts of all ages interacting with the towpath users and in a busy river channel is very unwise and dangerous.
Jaguar Sea Scouts please don't waste your time and money on this doomed project. I hope you find another site more appropriate to your needs. Have the reservoirs been considered? - JF

Is it just my reading of the plans or are the Sea Scouts suggesting they build their center on the part of the park which was gifted to Molesey for Public Open Space. I remember there used to be a notice there to that effect. Surely they must have already found this in their legal research so I would be interested to know how they will get around these covenants. The Sea Scouts are after all spending substantial amounts MRA money on the proposal so they must have some plan to get round this? - GF

I agree with all the comments, it is a wholly unacceptable proposal and apart from spoiling a particularly nice stretch of the river, I have particular concerns that they intend to build on flood plain, are our memories so short that we don't remember the floods of 2014 when the fact that the flood plain had been left intact probably saved many houses on Hurst Park from the ravages of the water.

It is very unfortunate that such a worthy organisation should have chosen such an insensitive site. The whole point of the Meadows is to combine an open green space accessible to all with unimpeded views of the river. We have spent 2 years being deprived of this particular view of the Thames and the Jaguar proposal is, effectively, to prolong this indefinitely. I can understand the logic which says that since we did not object to the space as a builders yard, why should we now oppose its use as a worthy project to benefit a particular group. The fact is that the cases are very different and I am not sure that we had any say in the Environment Agency's plan. We certainly suffered from it.
There must be an alternative along the river bank between Hurst Park and Walton which is less disruptive and more in tune with the general open enjoyment of the river bank along one of its most attractive stretches. - ACH

When the housing developments were completed, I understood that the Council said that the rest of the open land of Hurst Park should remain as a public park with no more building allowed ever. I am appalled that Elmbridge Council would even consider allowing such a large building to be built right on the water's edge, involving the felling of a considerable number of trees. This is a flood plain and indeed the river flooded over it last year.
Also it is a dangerous site for water borne activities as it is on the main navigation channel where boats large and small hurtle up and down to and from Molesey Lock. As a resident of Taggs Island this is particularly apparent to me on summer weekends. Last Saturday the traffic was continuous with even a very large barge turning round next to Ducks Ait. Hurst Park should remain as a public park with no more building allowed on it. - SB

Thank you for bringing this proposal to my attention as I was unaware. I am simply horrified by the proposal and agree with every single sentiment that has already been made about protecting our very limited riverside open spaces. - GH

The Water Activities Centre could not be in a worst place. The trees are precious. Other possible and more sensible locations are Hurst Park School, where the land is for educational purposes or the site in the Cricket Club car park or integrated in the Rowing Club Swing park complex. Hurst Park is already under to much pressure - we don't need any other buildings along the tow path or the last shred of a once delightful river walk in a rural location close to London will vanish. - JS

I strongly object to the above development being in this proposed area. This is a very beautiful part of the river and is used by a multitude of people not to mention the wildlife occupants. I object to public land being used for this facility and the disruption it will cause to the existing wildlife. There must be a much better site available. Why cant this facility be sited on one of the reservoirs?
I have a great admiration for the work of the scouts and think its an admirable way to instruct youngsters but not at the expense of others or of creatures unable to fend for themselves. Our wildlife habitat is shrinking all the time and I feel we should vigorously support the little we have left. - PH

Further to my previous comment, I have just found out the from the Sea Scouts that it is Councillor Farmer Mallett who has suggested the River Activity Centre should go at this location. Well I think the Mallett Activity Center should go somewhere else, almost anywhere would be preferable to this awful position which will do so much harm to the park and create a danger for river users and sea scouts alike. Plenty of intelligent alternatives have been suggested in these comments. Was it not Farmer Mallett who proposed the second Cricket pitch should be on the meadows, and look how far that got? - GF

The sea scouts used to have a site further up river just past the houses, which back on to the river, in Cherry Orchard Rd .It was on reservoir land and there is still a concrete ''jetty '' there on the tow path. Why not revamp that?
It would be sacrilege to build anything on the river bank at Hurst Park. It is a lovely open space- why spoil it with a building? - MD

Although I am not in any way opposed to the provision of a Water Activities Centre for the local Sea Scouts, I am totally against the currently proposed siting for this structure. I find it staggering that this is being proposed on the site opposite Duck's Ait - especially when there are far more suitable positions only slightly upstream: For example, couldn't the rough piece of riverbank by the Sadlers Rise car park (recently abandoned by the Environment Agency workers who were repairing Molesey Lock) be used instead? Apart from anything else, there is already vehicular access and a public car park there, with no need for further roads to be constructed...
And what is the point of designating an area as SNCI (a site of Special Nature Conservation Importance), if this affords no protection from development- whether 'for a good cause' or otherwise?
Despite the aerial photos presented, the foliage along the riverbank near Duck's Ait is surprisingly quite dense and attracts a myriad of species(take a boat along the Thames at this point and have a good look) - and as such this section is priceless (or, at least, it should be so). There is no excuse for proposing to decimate this section of flora & associated fauna - especially when it is totally unnecessary: As I say, there is an open area of ground (at the end of Sadlers Rise), with a ready-made road and car park, which is only a very short distance upstream; this would be far more suitable to such a building.
Alternatively, Hurst Park has plenty of open land yet further upstream (to the west of Garrick's Ait), where comparatively little environmental damage would be caused by such an enterprise.
Incidentally, I am very saddened to see the highly misleading 'How it might look' pictures presented in the Molesey Sea Scout Group's proposal document, in which it is made to appear as though this part of the river is open parkland, with a few sparsely populated trees dotted at intervals along the bank: This, as we all know, is very far from the truth. This is (at best) a case of 'artistic licence' gone too far; else one could suspect something rather more sinister afoot...
PLEASE don't allow this construction to take place in the currently proposed location.
PLEASE THINK this one through, before it's too late...
Thankyou - MF.

Once again the Friends of Hurst Park have to prepare to defend the area against further development for minority interests at the cost to the environment and the ecology, and the loss of a substantial portion of the amenity to the general users of this much loved open space. In this case this proposal is also an architectural eyesore. No one would deny that the scouts need access to the river but the necessity for an enormous purpose built, two-storey structure to extend 20 meters into Hurst Park and 45 metres along the river bank cannot be substantiated. The loss of trees, and the concomitant need for access roads/paths would completely degrade the natural beauty of the area. With an understandable degree of cynicism one might ask, should this application go ahead, how long would it be before they ask to 'lease' yet more land for their purposes.
Is it not possible for the scouts to share the facilities of Molesey Rowing Club or Hampton Sailing Club? Given that the rowing club has already managed to negotiate such a substantial part of the open space originally intended for the general public to enjoy, it might be considered to be part of their responsibility to open their facilities to the scouts. It is also bizarre to contemplate three water activity centres within such a short stretch of the river.

I hope the Molesey Residents Association will also regard this application as damaging to the area and oppose it. - GK

The Mallett Activity Centre cannot go in the proposed position because that land is protected against any development by restrictive covenants. Period! - Why don't they know this? - JK

I can only echo the comments made above. Whilst the Sea Scouts may be a worthy organisation they could not have come up with a more inappropriate proposal.
The location is completely wrong, the volume of river traffic of all sizes in this stretch of the river is considerable, increased river use, especially by children, at this busy point on the main channel will, I fear, prove lethal. The destruction of mature trees in an area designated a SNCI is indefensible and the impact on local wildfowl will be considerable. The visual impact of this building from both land and the river cannot be understated, the building is too large, too long, and one must question the intended use of the extensive terraces. I can see nothing to recommend it at all. - KB

A few years ago I was at a talk given by Jason Debney, the Strategy Co-ordinator of the Thames Landscape Strategy. He emphasised that at the heart of the strategy was the concept of the Arcadian Thames, which extends from Weybridge to Kew and includes Hurst Park.
Arcadian Thames refers to a vision of pastoral, restful tranquillity in harmony with nature. The Hurst Park riverside is a perfect example of this fragile environment. This concept must be preserved with vigour for those green parts of the land by the Thames not yet built upon which are under constant threat from development proposals – however worthy the cause.
Although we might struggle to maintain the concept of Arcadian Thames in our busy, crowded neighbourhood, our paramount aim must be to preserve the unique character of the Hurst Park riverside landscape. For these reasons we are utterly opposed to these proposals. - D.&J.L

The site proposed seems to me to a very dangerous place to introduce another water activity. The channel is not wide and it is busy not only from boat club boats but also normal cruiser and narrow boat and passenger boat traffic. The idea of using the derelict warehouse site on Platts Eyot seems a very good one to me. - TB

I suffer from health problems and have been walking along the river bank several times a week, and nearly everyday in the summer, for the past five years. There is ample evidence that access to green space and wildlife improves people's mental health and stress levels. Not everyone is able to participate in active sports such as rowing, yet less able people have just as much right to be able to enjoy nature. The area for the proposed development is one of the areas in which I most enjoy to simply sit and watch the river. One of the great attractions of Molesey to me as a place of residence is the fact that wild green spaces can be easily and quickly accessed by foot, so I don't have to be able drive or travel long distances to get my fix of the peace and tranquility that nature brings. I have seen some people in mobility scooters using the riverside path in the park, which demonstrates that this stretch of riverbank is an accessible way for all to be able to enjoy a natural environment. Please protect the little natural haven that is Hurst Park so all can enjoy it. - HS

I am strongly in favour of the sea scouts having a river based activity centre. We have a wonderful asset having the river on our doorstep but only have Molesey Rowing Club for local older children to use at a high cost. Of course the siting of such a proposal would need to meet all environmental and safety concerns. It would be great if it could be made available for public use at a rate that the majority could afford. The area next to the Sadlers Ride car park where the recent water works have taken place would seem ideal not where the current proposal is sited.
I have lived here for over 65 years and , now retired , walk along the riverside to Hampton Court every day. Apart from the constant fouling of Thames Meadow by often out of control dogs it is a glorious place to walk and must be protected. I welcome activities for our youngsters that encourage them to act responsibly around water and also learn to respect and take care of our environment. - KB

It came to my attention that a proposal has been made by Molesey Sea Scout Group for the Jaguar Water Activity Centre. My family live in Rivermead for over 20 years and enjoy taking walks along the Thames towpath. I would not support this proposal as the Activity Centre will destroy the open space of Hurst Park; once gone it will never be replaced. It is also an eye sore for the surrounding area as many matures trees will be destroyed. - WSC

September 2015

As a resident on Hurst Lane I am pleased to protect hurst park. Protect it, that is, for the residents, which includes the young people of the area, who I see more and more attracted into unsavoury pastimes. The 1st Molesey sea scouts have been operating safely on the river for some 60 years, and this water activity centre will allow them to open access to the river to more children, both affiliated to the scouts, and beyond, including less able individuals. 
Access to the tow path will be far improved from the slip way at saddlers rise where the boats accumulate all over the walkways. I feel they nay sayers are not thinking about the youngsters, who we want to set on the right path in life.  I am a working mother, my husband works, and the sea scouts provide my daughter with a great outlet, as she builds community skills. I fully support this investment in the community. - FR

In response to FR who is the parent of a sea scout, I absolutely agree. I am not a nay sayer just a practical person with the children's interests foremost in my heart. The Sea Scouts are a great organisation and deserve an activity centre which is an inspired idea and I think most people commenting here seem to agree with that. However from the public response we can see it is the wrong building in the wrong place. I think an ideal place for this Activity Centre would be upstream by the Molesey reservoirs where the river is safer and much wider and where less wildlife will be disturbed. - GF

In response to GF and writing in support of the Sea Scouts. The Sea Scouts has been running water activities safely at this location for more than 20 years and as a Royal Navy recognised group have regular 'on-water' inspections to ensure they meet their rigorous safety standards.
All of the scout instructors are qualified to a very high standard and hold National Governing Body instructor qualifications as well as additional scout boating permits. This proposed site is the safest location in the locality. GF's proposed 'ideal' upstream location near the reservoirs would not be safe for the following reasons:
1. - The bank is considerably higher, making launching hazardous
2. - There is a reservoir water intake causing strong sideways currents
3. - The river is not wider at this location.
Additionally, the land where you propose the centre is built has recently been turned into a nature reserve and so it is untrue to say less wildlife will be disturbed here. I fully support the water activities centre being located on the proposed site near Sadler Ride. - TH

Whilst I appreciate that many Friends of Hurst Park are rightly concerned about development on Hurst Meadows, I feel the Sea Scout proposal will make the river accessible to children and young people as well as those with disabilities, and it will be a great addition to the community. At present there are shamefully few (non-elite) options for Molesey people to actually enjoy and explore the river on our doorstep and I believe this centre will go some way to rectify that. - PH

In response to TH, I believe the nature reserve is actually within the old Molesey reservoirs not along the towpath. But more to the point is that the area the Sea Scouts are proposing to use is both a Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Nature Conservation Importance which means far more damage would be done there than by the reservoirs - GF

Nobody opposes the sea scouts, but we can't support such a big warehouse building in this location for the many reasons already given. Surely the best place for an activity centre is at the old Hurst Park School, now part of Cobham Free School. It would be on land owned by Surrey County Council for education, it would be fenced and secure, it would have access to road and river, it would have all services, and it would not take away from public open space. The proposed location is at such a green and pretty site and its loss is something everyone who uses this park really objects to. - KP

I am a Scout leader for 9th & 15th Reigate Scouts (aged 10-14 years old), I, like other Scout leaders do not get paid financially for my work as a Scout Leader but through the joy of making a serious difference to children's lives. Challenging and exposing them to new experiences in the hope that a spark will be ignited within them so that they will grow to be responsible, happy, enriched adults that add value to a community rather than bored, uninspired street urchins that cause a blight on a community.
We had the pleasure of spending a day with Molesey Sea Scouts this summer giving our Scouts an opportunity to experience many different water sports under qualified and skilled instruction. My groups contain a large quantity of socially deprived Scouts so being given an opportunity like this is priceless, something they have never done before. They all had a fantastic day - In fact words cannot express how much they enjoyed the day and would be absolutely overjoyed to do this again. (I hope the below photo helps to express how much fun they had).
As a result of the day with Molesey Scouts one of our Scouts has taken up canoeing, I cannot express how proud I am of them, they have found a hobby that allows them to direct their energy into something constructive - this is what Scouting is about - inspiring young people to have a go and discover new things. If only Molesey had better facilities to open this up to other groups as well, their current set up causes a barrier to opportunities outside of the group, something that is a shame, a new water activities centre would give a true identity to this fantastic Scout Group that they truly deserve.
As I am sure you will of guessed by now, I would like to passionately offer my support to the proposal by 1st Molesey Sea Scouts for a new Water Activities Centre because I have proof that they make a real difference to our young people, our future generations, something that should be encouraged. - ZC

Supporters of the water activity centre are ignoring many important points here, raised by the frequent users to Hurst Park. I volunteer at school conservation clubs because I believe the most important thing for our children is to foster a love for and an understanding of the natural world at an early age. The world will be theirs in the future so if they don't understand the value and benefits of nature what hope is there for it? I love to watch the delight of little children feeding the waterfowl, seeing chicks and cygnets, running after butterflies, discovering wild flowers and they might be lucky enough to catch that magical grebe courting dance shown on TV. It happens here!
This huge water activity centre would take another big chunk out of our local natural environment and fence off valuable space the public have enjoyed for decades. The introduction of noise and disturbance along the river will put an end to birds courting, nesting and raising their young. This is a rare and precious place for our children.. Parents and grandparents share it too.
There will be a less damaging site for this proposal and the sea scouts should work on it. - GS

TH, that is all very well although can you explain to me how you will get over the restrictive covenants which expressly forbid any development on this piece of open land. - JK

I am really excited to hear news of the proposed water activity centre in Hurst Park. 
I have 2 boys in the 1st Molesey Scout group (one in cubs, one in beavers), but I believe the centre is aimed at providing water-based activities for the whole community.
We live in Hurst park (Sadlers Ride), and so I am even more in support of having this facility just at the end of our road :)  It’s a wonderful idea; there is so much space in Hurst Park that can be used for the benefit of our community in a positive way such as this. Water based activities also develop children’s confidence and general water safety, so an all-round winner for everyone! 
I look forward to hearing more about it over the coming months, but do keep me in mind if you need to share information amongst the Sadlers Ride residents. - RK

I have been a resident of Molesey for 25 years and have within this time seen many changes. My two oldest boys have been going to Jaguar Sea Scouts for a number of years and I am very grateful for the existence of this voluntary group.
It is therefore no surprise that I am a huge fan of the Scouting organisation in general; it has given my children something different to the standard football in the park activity which none of them have shown much interest in. They actually look forward to going to Cubs and Scouts and enjoy learning new skills and responsibilities that just aren't taught in such a well co-ordinated structured environment elsewhere.
As we are surrounded by rivers (The Thames, Ember and Mole), it was important to me for my children to learn respect for the water and familiarise themselves with any dangers and the correct safety precautions. For my children to learn from the amazing group of trained volunteers that make the Scout Groups possible has been a fantastic opportunity which I have really enjoyed being a part of.
This group of local community volunteers that give up evenings in their weeks and many weekends to run the Scouts is quite incredible. What is now particularly encouraging is that I can see some of the Explorer Scouts coming through to a stage where they are volunteering their time to keep the groups running.
I have occasionally done my bit for the group and can say that putting the Cubs on the river from the Scout hut base off Walton Road is quite a logistical nightmare. It runs relatively smoothly but again only because volunteers give up countless hours to bring this facility to the children of Molesey. Having a facility by the riverside would be a triumph for the community that I would be proud of, enabling even more children from the area to develop these skills and benefit in a safe environment.
There is clearly strong demand for a group such as this. Once the children join the Scout group they never leave and there is a 2 year waiting list to join. If this facility gives the opportunity for more Molesey children to join this fantastic group it can only be a good thing.
Whilst I understand there is resistance to any development on Hurst Park, with regards to location for a community group, it would make most sense in my opinion to have this within the community it serves. - JL

How strange that the few comments here which claim to support the proposal are actually instead supporting the Sea Scouts and Water Activity Center both of which I strongly support too. I have not read a single comment on here which is not supportive of the Scouts or the concept that they should have a Water Activity Centre. It is putting it in the proposed location, a local nature reserve and designated site of nature importance, which is causing this response from all of us park users. One gets the impression that the supporters of the project have not actually read the objections properly, they are not listening. If they put the Water Activity Centre in a less sensitive location it would have my support and I suspect that of most other local people commenting here. - DM

I have just seen the points raised by TH and I take issue with them all. I have been a user of this stretch of the Thames for much of my life and know it well.
1. The bank may be higher by the Molesey reservoirs than by Hurst Meadows, although not by much, and if so this means a sea scout hut on the riverside there would be much less likely to flood. The site they have selected for their development is very low, often underwater in winter and sometimes wet even in the Summer.
2. I am surprised to hear there is a reservoir water intake causing strong currents by the Molesey reservoirs. I thought these reservoirs were both decommissioned many years ago and are now nature reserves so I can't imagine why there is a dangerous water intake, in fact there shouldn't be! The Aquarius Sailing Club use the same water on Sundays, do they know about these "strong sideways currents"? They call it a safe and friendly environment.
3. According to Google maps the river between Ducks Eyot and the site is about 30 meters wide and this takes both the upstream and downstream navigation traffic. The river by the Molesey reservoirs which carries the same two navigation channels is 65 meters wide and therefore has more room for river activities and in my opinion would be much safer for the children. - SB


As a regular river user I can hardly believe that any organisation would suggest putting a river facility for children right in the navigation channel and at a point where both upstream and downstream channels are so squeezed together between Ducks island and Hurst Park. Its just plain daft! - FD

The one thing you shouldn't do on the river in a wildlife nature reserve, surrounded by water fowl, their nests and their young, is Make A Splash! which ironically is the Sea Scout's insensitive slogan for this project. - TF

I am a parent helper at 1st Molesey sea scouts and my daughter regularly attends water activities with 1st molesey jaguars at saddlers ride. My son is also looking to start. My daughter has attended rowing, coxed the gig, uses the kayaks, taken part in regattas and qualified to use the power boat. Activities occur weekly in the summer. At the moment all the equipment needs to be trailored to the site and one of the trailers was donated by a parent. This is a very good community organisation with parents helping out where they can it is a very good community organisation which has been in existence since 1909 and is supported, funded for equipment by the Royal Navy. Being a sea scout organisation it really needs a location for use at saddlers ride and with a proposal to help activities for the disabled this seems to me to be a brilliant opportunity for Molesey. It has also been proposed that activities could be opened up not just to scouting.
My comments to making a splash committee are as below:
Making a splash" activity. I think it is a very exciting opportunity for the local community and for 1st Molesey Jaguars.
I think it will be a real benefit to water activities in the area and for disabled users. It can only be +Ve in the long run. - GS

I am a user of Hurst Park, I walk regularly with my dog, enjoy the wildlife and appreciate the open space. On the water, I am an experienced rower and boater and have enjoyed this stretch for a number of years. I cannot comment on the issue of endangered species but I can add my thoughts on the proposed location of the activity centre from a water user's point of view.
The plans clearly show that the centre is NOT opposite Duck Ait. Google Maps indicates a channel width of at least 100m here.
From a rower's point of view, the old Hurst Park School is not a safe alternative. This site is opposite Thorneycroft Island and so is less than half the width of the proposed downstream location.
For the benefit of SB, who believes that it only takes the downstream traffic, you are incorrect. The HSBC rowing club is on the opposite side and many craft travelling in the upstream direction take the Surrey side of the island to avoid congestion.
SB, you are also incorrect about the water intake. The water intake supplies the two large reservoirs on the other side of Hurst Road and is regularly operational.
There is nowhere upstream of Hurst Park with a navigation as wide as it is where the Sea Scouts propose the building. Many comments here mention 'alternative sites', but I fail to see exactly where they refer to. The reservoirs are a nature reserve and unless they put it on the towpath, where else would it go?
I understand why some may be upset, but I don't think the Sea Scouts have any other options here. If it's a decision between no centre (which would be a great shame) and building on the "less than 0.3% (850m2) of land that is not regularly used and heavily overgrown in places" they have my full support. - SE

In response to SE, he says the Molesey reservoirs are Nature Reserves but of course the site proposed is not only in a Nature Reserve but also a site of Special Nature Conservation Importance. The land was gifted to the people of Molesey for use as Public Open Space on condition there is no building on it for any purpose. The Sea Scouts should have checked the deeds before embarking on the proposal. If this goes as far as the planning stage how will they get round that? Its a waste of time and money to take it further at this site. Probably the best locations for the Activity Centre in my opinion are either at the former Hurst Park School or back at their original location at Molesey Reservoirs. It seems the scouts had to leave while the reservoirs were an operational site for mineral extraction and then it was Surrey County Council that prevented their return. So Surrey County Council should offer education land at the former Hurst Park school site on the riverside. It would be fair to the Sea Scouts and to the thousands of users of Hurst Park and Meadows. It's win-win and Cobham Free School on the site would benefit from a wonderful facility for the next two years. There is already a Sea Scout hut on the upstream end of Thames Court which is almost opposite the marker. - HT

October 2015

I am interested to know in which ways if any, the proposed riverside base will benefit the wider community (i.e. outside of 1st Molesey Sea Scouts). I am a daily user of the public riverside space and I do not think that its use should be significantly restricted just for the benefit of what may just be a limited few. - DJ


In October we requested that all futher comments on this subject should be sent to the Sea Scouts website because of the enormous amount of time it was taking us to put so many comments online, most of them duplicates of those already appearing on the Sea Scouts comments page which we link to.
So we closed the comments section. Despite this we have received the following:

December 2015


My daughter goes to Cubs in Molesey (not with the Jaguars sea scouts group) and so I was interested to find out more when I read about it and saw the article in "The Molesey News".

My initial reaction to hearing of development on the meadows was of concern but I do support this project in as the sea scouts (as far as I know) is the only 'non-competitive/elite) way for kids to get on the water safely and that if the building was designed nicely it would be a really good thing for all the Molesey community - my daughter would love the opportunity to be on the water.

On facebook the Sea Scouts published a post in the Schools Group (yesterday) saying that they had produced an updated proposal to the one you are currently circulating.

I looked at the proposal on the sea scouts site and I must admit it is impressive and all though some land is lost it would definitely be worth it.

The sea scouts have claimed that as the document on your website is out of date that it is misleading people and I agree here.

I feel that you ought to update the text on your website as the statements make you look very NIMBY as they aren't true i.e. saying that wildlife hasn't been considered

The sea scouts also say that the building will reduce activity across the towpath as it has been "built into the design", you claim the opposite but cannot see the reasons you believe this

I am neither for or against this building design really as I can see both the positives and negatives to it. I did think it would be worth letting you know however that your website doe come across a bit off and silly now I've seen full proposal and realised that all lot of conserdation has gone into it

happy for you to put my comments on both websites - CE


As this comment already appears on the Sea Scouts comments page we pointed out to CE that we already link to it so all visitors to our site can read it anyway. We just received this response from CE:


You state on your website that "We encourage a cross section of opinion from people who feel they are affected by this proposal so all views are welcome,"
I have sent you my views and you are probably reluctant to put them up because they remind people of the selfish way your organisation must operate....
Did you ask your nimby members for comments, put them on your website and then close the page for further comments?
If views of others are not welcome, dont ask for them Censoring comments that question the way you have approached this worthy project is appalling, you should be ashamed.
I am not the only park user that thinks of you in this way, i suggest you change your tactics

Maybe you should remove the text saying all views are welcome?
appalling really and a real shame that such a selfish, bigoted organisation exists in our wonderful townmy point remains, your website makes you appear very NIMBY.
now I know you censor comments I have even more reason to voice my concerns about "The Friends of Hurst Park" elsewhere


We link to the Sea Scouts current proposal on their website and always have. The Friends of Hurst Park attempts to reflect the views of ALL regular park users on this issue. It neither censors comments nor restricts the views expressed. We are an entirely voluntary organisation and deal with many issues, the Activity Centre being just one. I think some respect for the volunteers who spend so much time looking after our park would not go amiss. - Chair, Friends of Hurst Park.