Seething Wells The Pump House: application 23/01636

The Planning Application:
The conversion and change of use of the former Pump House building and associated land to Class E(g)(i) office use; and ancillary works including landscaping
The Pump House: links
This the largest structure at Seething Wells, and is designated a Building of Townscape Merit. An application for statutory listed failed during 2001.
It has a pyramidal slate roof, used by roosting bats from time to time. There is no roof void and the slates are backed by wooden planks and plasterboard. Internally, there was one main room, partitioned into 6 small rooms and a larger operational area, now stripped out. 
There is a deep shaft containing two wells below the building and four wells between the building and the Portsmouth Road. In the literature they are known as’ deep wells’ and sometimes ‘deep chambers’ of which there are 24 on site. 

The Ecology report
states that the building 'has no hibernation potential'.
not suitable for roosts
not Open Mosaic Habitat

The Facts
Documentation indicating some of the different types of roosts at the Pump House has been sent to the ecological consultants cc'd to the Council Biodiversity Officer. Only information already in the public domain has been sent for obvious reasons.

The Open Mosaic Habitat
Information on the validation of Open Mosaic Habitat has been sent to the latter so that they can inform the consultants of this fact.
The photo below is within the small red line area drawn, which will have a big impact on the surrounding ecology. Close up photos reveal that the vegetation at this aspect is Wild Carrot, Hop Trefoil, Restharrow, and not 'sealed surface'.

The Plants
Glyphosate does not kill seeds so when the bulldozers came, scraping off the soil surface, drenching the FB's with weedkiller they actually assisted the recolonisation of the chalk grassland plants. 100m of Small and Field Scabious (below) and 200m of Ox-eye Daisy interspersed with Salad Burnet and Ladies Bedstraw.


Restharrow location Pump House
Restharrow the only site in the borough and Notable plant in London (Burton 1983) appearing in only 15% of tetrads.

The frequent draining
 when the FB's are drained they produced acres of reedbed and Purple Loosetrife, so they look like this:

The Birds:

And they become attractive to a different set of birds such as these Shelduck

 The Impacts
The report draws a small red line area in a much larger blue line (the area under the applicant's ownership) without commenting on effect of the scheme on the Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.
It states that the 'development will not lead to significant impacts on the important habitat features within the SINC site and be restricted to the Pumphouse building itself and its immediate surroundings'.
'The scheme includes some soft landscaping that will enhance the value of the site by improving the greenspace around the building.'
The Denial?
The planting scheme contains some invasive and troublesome grasses, which will impact on the FB's. A  list is not provided except many non- native species are pictured.
Don't start me on the lighting. 
Five minutes to make an objection
The Council's Biodiversity officer has been furnished with details of the bat roosts including hibernation roosts at the Pump House. 

He has also been furnished with details of the Open Mosaic Habitat at the site which is no longer in draft form. If you allow this application then you will be allowing the destruction of the UK's Priority Habitat. The landscaping proposed has invasive grasses which will invade the FB's

This application requires a European Protected Species Mitigation Licence and a proper landscaping plan, which allows the recovery of the habitat and not the imposition of non- native plants and plants that are not part of the existing plant community.


  1. Please leave this site alone , leave the important bio diverse site to be this . There are plenty of places to use in the are that need filling and developing , there are also plenty of empty office spaces that can be utilised . Humans seem happy in destruction of beauty . Shame on us


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