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Proposed developments on floodplain
Extracts from a recent Residents' Association meeting and from letters to the Council and formal responses by the Association and the Enviroment Agency to planning applications
This Residents' Association was formed in 1928 as a result of concern about flooding in what is now the West Barnes Ward of the London Borough of Merton. Some 33% of the area is flood plain as identified by the Environment Agency (EA).
"The site lies within the modelled 1 in 100 year floodplain of the Pyl Brook and any development will reduce flood storage, obstruct overland flow routes and increase the risk of flooding elsewhere. Housing on the site will also place further residents within the Borough at risk of flooding. Such a proposal is in direct contravention of Merton's Unitary Development Plan policy and government guidance. The entire site is within the floodplain and as such there will be no scope for flood mitigation measures. The EA will therefore oppose all proposals to develop the site."
The Residents' Association have also expressed their opposition to any change to the designation of this site as Metropolitan Open Land, particularly in the light of the recent sale of Prince George's Playing Field and proposals to develop other local playing fields.
King's College School
The school have put in a planning application in relation to their sports ground at Kingsway, where they want to move a classroom and erect a temporary tea-room. The EA are not opposed to the proposal in principle, but want improvements to reduce the flood risk from Pyl Brook.
Recent history of development on the floodplain in West Barnes
1988 : All-weather pitch granted permission without statutory consultation. Subsequent complaint letter from National Rivers Authority.
1989 and 1994 : Extra school buildings granted permission without statutory consultation. Deemed regrettable by EA.
1995 : Planning application to redevelop residential home with 26 houses. Statutory consultation sought after planning application published, following resident's enquiries. Permission was granted in 1996, overriding the EA's objection with officers' opinion. The local authority was the vendor of the land.
July 1999 : Proposals for the re-organization of Borough schools published. These involved piecemeal development on this and other parts of the local (built) floodplain accompanied by declaring the largest school site surplus to requirements. Local government electors made Statutory Objection on grounds of increased overall development. Informed EA. DfEE approved proposals.
May 2000 : Planning brief published for housing on part of land due to be released as a result of the above proposals. EA not consulted on brief, but objected after being notified by the Residents' Association. Local Authority is landowner of 3 ha of the 4.9 ha to be sold.