Vista across Hurst Park
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

Elmbridge Borough Council has issued enforcement notices to clear the Thames Path of gates, fences, sheds, etc., along the towpath at Molesey Reservoirs. This "shanty town" has been erected by occupants of unauthorised live-aboard boats moored there. Users of Hurst Park who want to walk on upstream find this reach has become a no-go area with illegal encampments springing up on our public land alongside the river.
See more information about the measures Elmbridge intend to take on our News Page.

Meanwhile, Hurst Park itself continues to be sorely blighted by unauthorised multi-occupation barges (see below), all four of which have now coalesced at Sadlers Ride and each of which has something like ten little cabins rented out by the owner. We will continue to press for action through our MP, councillors, the Environment Agency and the Councils - a frustrating business when so little is achieved to clean up our once-lovely riverbank.

Stay safe and healthy, and protect the environment

Let's all enjoy our wonderful Hurst Park and Meadows through the summer weather, with consideration for our own safety, the well-being of other park users and for the environment. More information on this page


slumboats at hurst park
A third lodgings vessel (slumboat) arrived at Hurst Park on 30 April 2019 and a fourth arrived at the end of July 2019 to add to those that arrived in June 2018, and they're still there.

The persistent, vexed issue of long-term unauthorised mooring is something that this group, working with others, has been focused on for years - but with little success, with the authorities unwilling or unable to take meaningful action and apparently paralysed.

As we all can see, unauthorised live aboard and lodgings vessels (tramp boats and slum boats) pervade our river banks and damage the landscape and environment. Many of those upstream of Hurst Park are also staking a claim to the land nearest their boats, all along the Thames Path, erecting fences with locked gates and setting up a shanty town.

Along with other resident and river-related orgnisations - notably Reclaim Our Riverside2 and the River Users' Group - we raised the problem with MPs at the All Party Parliamentary Group for the River Thames on 30 April 2019. Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton and our stretch of theThames through Molesey, is a member of the parliamentary group and has been kept fully informed.

Speaking under an agenda item entitled "Abuse of the Public Right of Navigation", Mr Raab made it clear he wanted to see meaningful action to rid our river of this blight along Molesey's riverbanks. He commented: "The problem has got worse and will keep getting worse."

He urged the Environment Agency to apply its powers robustly and rigorously and, if there was challenge, to test them. "It worries me that we will still talk about this in a year's time and things will remain unchanged. I can't take a lax approach and let the problem manifest itself in this particular area."

In another approach, Elmbridge Borough Council is issuing planning enforcement notices to a total of 18 boats along the Thames Path near Molesey Wetlands that have erected structures. Another approach under consideration is Public Space Protection Orders. EBC is working with Spelthorne and Runnymede and will report in June. We will keep you posted.

For the Agency, officers said that they did not believe they needed additional powers. However, they also said there was no quick remedy and there were no plans to update old byelaws with derisory penalties. The Agency added that they did not have police powers or a cost-effective way of disposing of boats if they removed them from the riverbank. Keeping them secure had to be at tax-payer expense.

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.