England

London 2012: Jolly Boatman 'bomb site' to get makeover

View from the cycle route, over the Jolly Boatman site to the palace
Image caption The Jolly Boatman site opposite Hampton Court Palace has been described as a "bomb site"

Derelict land on the route of the 2012 Olympic cycling road race opposite Hampton Court Palace is to receive a makeover in time for the Games.

Developer Gladedale, which plans to start building on the Jolly Boatman pub site next year, has agreed Historic Royal Palaces can carry out the work.

The site, which has planning permission for a hotel and flats, will be landscaped with turf, trees and plants.

The Hampton Court Rescue Campaign welcomed the decision.

"The Jolly Boatman site sits immediately across the river from Hampton Court Palace and in any sane world it would have been a permanent garden already but it's not - it's a bomb site," said spokesman Ray Townsend.

"At the moment it has huge chunks of concrete and fly-tipped materials that have arrived over the years.

"It can't be good for anybody in Surrey to have this mess there during one of the most high-profile summers that we have ever had."

The development, which also includes land surrounding Hampton Court railway station, was the subject of a long-running campaign by protesters.

An attempt to block it in the High Court was rejected last year.

The plans include a refurbished railway station, 66 new homes, retail and commercial units, a 46-bedroom hotel and a care home.

The 2012 Olympic cycling road race will cross over the River Thames into Surrey at Hampton Court and take cyclists through Walton on Thames, Weybridge, West Byfleet, West Horsley, Dorking, Box Hill, Leatherhead and Esher.

Gladedale said in a statement it had decided to work in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces to improve the appearance of the site in readiness for the Olympic celebrations.

"Works will include the laying of turf, importing trees and plants and erecting a low level perimeter fence," it said.

"The plans, which are still being prepared, will be provided to Elmbridge Borough Council for informal comments in the next few days."

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