02/06/2016 23:15:00......Posted by Luke Clancy
Just returned from a meeting with residents and independent landscape consultants employed by Sutton & East Surrey Water who are to advise on landscape treatment of arable land known locally as Drakes field following installation by the water company of a lagoon which will be used to drain non-potable water into the aquifer below.
I have kept in touch with residents concerned at this development ever since it first surfaced more than a year ago. The land in question is a few yards over the border from Croydon into Surrey and actually falls under the jurisdiction of Reigate and Banstead Council, but as a neighbouring authority Croydon is also being involved in the discussions.
The Woodmansterne lagoon in planning terms is essentially regarded as a piece of necessary national infrastructure so there is little residents or local representatives could have done to prevent it from going ahead, but the water company is at least consulting residents on how its impact can be ameliorated, principally by sympathetic landscaping.
The paramount concern of local residents is the preservation of footpaths established across the site over many years. These are not currently recognised in law but, having been used over decades, requests to establish these as public rights of way have now been lodged with Surrey County Council.
Other local concerns include that the construction of the lagoon should not encroach into allotments owned by Croydon; the height of the fence protecting the lagoon from trespassers should allay security concerns but also not be so high as to appear unsightly; the fence colour and design should blend into the surrounding area; the entrance to the site should be sympathetically designed; and, very importantly, where possible hedgerows should be protected to encourage existing local wildlife such as field mice and slow worms.
The landscape architects discussed incorporating the use of hawthorne, blackthorn, holly, willow and birch to enhance the site. All in all it was positive meeting and we await with interest the final stage plans when they are presented to us.