Last month we ran a piece on the state of the parking problems at Shepperton Lock and the ridiculously empty Hamhaugh Islander’ car park at Stadbury Meadow, between The Folly and Lock View on the Towpath. The car park has been blocked with a bollard by Spelthorne Borough Council, which is demanding thousands of pounds a year to remove its blockade of the “ransom strip”, despite the Council’s lease of the parking strip being conditioned on providing and maintaining vehicular access to properties to the north.

The Council may soon be forced to remove its bollard none the richer as the resourceful Islanders have reached an agreement with the Environment Agency, which owns the freehold and access rights of the land at the lock. The agreement is that the Environment Agency will not object to the Islanders’ vehicular access rights being recorded as a matter of legal title on the Land Registry if the Islanders can evidence that the access drive and land at Stadbury Meadow Car Park was used for residents’ parking for more than 20 years before Islanders bought the land in 1986 from the Davy brothers who owned Dunton’s Boat Yard, now Nauticalia.

The Islanders have been gathering witness statements from people who lived on the Island or Towpath, or were members of the Weybridge Mariners Club or Shepperton Slalom Canoe Club. Local residents now in their 80s and 90s have come forward who remember cars, caravans, campers, boats and trailers parked at Stadbury Meadow from the mid-1950s.

Children who grew up on the Island or Towpath have also been contacted about what they remember. The effort has been helped by Nauticalia, which maintains an archive of local maps, leases, deeds and photographs of Shepperton Lock as it has developed from vacant land in the 1800s to the thriving residential, boating and water sports community we have today. The Sunbury and Shepperton Local History Society also provided maps and photographs to the Islanders from their collections.

This great community effort is now close to being successful, but if you or anyone you know could help, you are still invited to contact Kathleen Tyson by email at ThamesAndTown@gmail.com. She will take a 1 or 2 page witness statement and meet with you to have it signed. Getting the information for the statement will take about a half hour and can be done by phone in most cases. If you are hard of hearing and live locally Kathleen will come to meet you to take the statement.

If you have photographs of the land north of the lock from the 1950s to the 1980s, these will be scanned and then returned to you. She is looking for people who can say they remember:

  • what the land above the lock looked like,
  • what the driveway looked like,
  • whether the entrance was open, had a chain or a gate,
  • whether there were residents cars, boats, trailers, campers or caravans on the land,
  • whether the land was used for overflow residents’ parking during Slalom, flotillas, parties, and summer when the public parking was congested,
  • anything else about the use of the land by residents along Towpath and on Hamhaugh Island.

The sooner we get the Council to live up to its public and resident parking obligations and remove the bollard from the drive to Stadbury Meadow, the better for all the residents, clubs and businesses around Shepperton Lock!