Last night Ed Davey presided over a hall packed with >100 people as we came together to discuss a vision for the filter beds that we would like to see going forward. After presentations, the audience was split into 5 groups to discuss heritage, access, funding etc., each with a facilitator. This will be followed through by a survey monkey.
There was overwhelming opinion that the developers had been allowed to get away with too much for too long regarding their wanton neglect of the site. Cllr. George kicked off with comments regarding the state of the listed blue railings, stating that they were an eyesore. Cllr. Green said that the council officers did not feel the neglect was currently sufficient to undertake enforcement action at present even though they were aware that the roots of trees were undermining the wall.
During the 1990's the Building Conservation Team were exercised by a red pipe that was installed in front of the Chelsea tunnel portal. This has appeared in a previous post see chelsea-tunnel red pipe Thus enforcement action was discussed on what now seems to be a very minor infringement in the light of the current gross neglect. This was a theme around the groups, with one suggesting an on-line petition to protest at the litter, railings etc.
As I went around the groups it was very interesting to hear comments and I found everyone very sympathetic. Some were concerned about the late arrival of swifts this year. People living along the river roads are lucky to have them breeding in their eaves, although they said their arrival was about 5 days later than usual this year and nesting had been reduced in one instance from 5 pairs to three! One resident remembered the house martins that used to nest along Prospect Road, of which there is now no sign.
Others were worried about the affect access would have on wildlife and we described measures that we had discussed with members of the Surbiton and District Birdwatching Society to prevent disturbance at sensitive times of the year. One person suggested there should be access at night so that we could watch bats...well I would hardly disagree with that!
As we are coming up to June and the best time for flowering plants, I would be delighted to show people the beautiful drifts of field scabious and other plants that exist across the whole site (not just the margins). Send me an email if interested and I will let you know the date. Thanks everyone for such wonderful feedback it is great to know there are so many people who care for the wildlife at Seething Wells. see www.surreycomet.co.uk/