Alexpo and Network Rail have had a good working relationship with Hampton Court Palace since we bought the site in 2014, and have met regularly and engaged positively and constructively with this important consultee. The Palace's main objection to the Gladedale scheme has been overcome.
As a result, the public square will remain open space forever, we are using new bricks for part of the development, windows that do not reflect the glare, different materials on the balconies, and entering into a legal commitment on the height of buildings.
Network Rail have reiterated that, whilst the current car park is hardly used - with usage typically at less than 50%, the car park is private and for use of rail passengers, and may be restricted by the rail operator during the flower show and other times of high demand.
We have discussed the six issues of concern to the Palace, and addressed them as follows:
1. The public square will remain as public open space in perpetuity, which will be agreed with the council as part of the planning application.
2. We will now be using yellow/buff bricks for the three villas that border Cigarette Park, to ensure the view from the Palace is broken up and not seen as a uniform block. Our architects, Allies and Morrison, believe these new materials, along with the red brick for the frontage building, reflect the local character of the area, given they are used in buildings in the surrounding area.
3. We are happy to confirm that a height restrictive covenant will be placed on the site, preventing any future higher development. This will sit alongside the current legislation in the Railways Act 1913.
4. A further ten trees will be planted in Cigarette Park to reinforce the tree screen from the Palace. The location and species of these trees will be agreed with the council and the Palace.
5. All the windows throughout the development will have a lower reflective index, to reduce any glint in the sun from the Palace.
6. On parking, it needs to be recognised that this car park is not provided for the benefit of Historic Royal Palaces. The car park now has a usage of less than 50% on a typical day, and whilst non-railway passengers may park there currently, Network Rail has no commitment to non-rail passengers. The operator, Network Rail and Southwestern Railways, may decide to restrict use of non-rail passengers parking, for instance in periods of high demand such as the Flower Show.
In addition to these changes, we have amended the materials on the Hampton Court Way buildings. Alexpo and Network Rail are continuing to work to try and meet everyone’s concerns in a professional manner.