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Royal barge Gloriana sparks row over where to call home.

Brentford built vessel first took to the water in Isleworth but could be heading for a permanent mooring in Richmond upon Thames.

Gloriana on the river at Isleworth.

Plans to give a royal barge built in Brentford a permanent home in Richmond are in danger of being sunk by local residents.

Back in June 2012 Gloriana had the noble task of leading the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in honour of Her Majesty the Queen's 60 years on the British throne.

Since then the 28.6 metre long vessel which was launched from Isleworth has appeared at various functions and currently finds itself the focus of a consultation over its future.

Richmond Council has teamed up with Lord Sterling - who commissioned the barge and paid the £500,000 construction costs - and together have identified Orleans Park in Twickenham as the ideal site for a boathouse and museum.

There would also be a cafe and visitors centre with the cost being covered by a heritage lottery fund grant, private donations and around £1million of public money.

At 5pm today (Tuesday) a document will be launched on the council's website inviting members of the public to examine the project and have their say.

However, news of the proposals leaked a few days ago and have already drawn strong criticism from locals who are not happy at the potential damage building the new structures will cause.

They also fear an increase in tourism will turn a once quiet area into something resembling a Disney attraction.

 

Gloriana was built in secret at a warehouse on the West Cross Centre, in Amalgamated Drive, Brentford by master boat builder Mark Edwards MBE and transported by lorry to Church Street, beside the London Apprentice in Isleworth, where it was launched on April 19.

There was also controversy a year later when Gloriana got stuck under Kew Bridge

Richard Norris who lives in Isleworth and attended the launch event feels Hounslow has a legitimate claim to house the barge within its borough.

He said: "It was designed, built and launched here, this is it's spiritual home and it seems only natural to bring it back if they are looking for somewhere to keep it permanently."

However, Hounslow Chronicle historian and getwestlondon columnist Eddie Menday feels on balance Richmond is a more appropriate choice.

He said: "Obviously it would be lovely to have it here, but I can't see it fitting on the Longford River sadly!

"Richmond has royal connections and sits both sides of the Thames so mooring it there is a splendid idea."

Lord Nicholas True leader of Richmond Council said: "This is a once-off opportunity. Other boroughs were keen to secure the privilege of hosting Gloriana. But as the only borough straddling the Thames, with centuries old royal connections I believe Richmond upon Thames is uniquely equipped to be the home of this remarkable piece of British craftsmanship.

“The proposal is, of course, subject to funding and planning permission; however I hope that residents agree that the new Gloriana boat house in Orleans Park, with its inventive architectural design, together with a brand new play area and state of the art café – will benefit not only those visiting the vessel, but also the hundreds of existing park users .

"She is surely a vessel of which the whole country can be proud."

Lord Sterling, added:

“Since having built Gloriana we’ve had the experience of operating both down river and up river and it seems to us having had many discussions with Lord True and his colleagues that the geographical position of Richmond and its magnificent history and royal connections suggests this is the natural home for her.

“All generations, foreign cultural visitors and perhaps most important our children will have opportunity in the generations to come of enjoying the wonderful timeless history of this area, a gem in these islands.”

The consultation runs until July 29 on the council's website and there are drop in sessions planned at Orleans House on July 18-20 from 10am-4pm.

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