Tide turns on Surbiton floating homes

Simon Tyrrell, Ed Davey, Liz Green and Yogan Yoganathan

Simon Tyrrell, Ed Davey, Liz Green and Yogan Yoganathan

First published in News Exclusive by

Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey has told developers planning to build floating homes on Surbiton Filter Beds to “give up”.

The Energy Secretary was cautiously receptive to the application from Hydro Properties when it was unveiled in April last year, claiming it was “worlds apart” from previous proposals.

But he has now urged residents to back the campaign organised by the Friends of Seething Wells opposing the plans.

Mr Davey, who has spearheaded previous campaigns against development on the riverside site, said the Surbiton Filter Beds were “too special” to sacrifice to flats, car parks and a restaurant.

He said the application had failed to meet the “special circumstance” necessary for planning permission and he backed the “engaged” community of Surbiton to come up with an alternative plan for the site.

He said: “The Surbiton Filter Beds are a ‘blue lung’ for our riverside, with precious birds and bats and a unique and world important history.

“The developers have tried, but failed to recognise this, and I would urge them to give up now.”

Appearing to rule out similar future development, he said: “We have a duty to reflect very carefully before we allow any more riverside development that will last for decades to come.”

Mr Davey was joined by Kingston Council deputy leader Liz Green, and her fellow St Marks ward councillors, mayor Mary Heathcote and Yogan Yoganathan.

Friends of Seething Wells said they were delighted Mr Davey had got behind their campaign and hoped for a “fitting future” for the Filter Beds.

Spokesman Simon Tyrrell said: “Hydro has undermined its own credibility, and tarnished its own reputation by name-calling and making so many dubious claims.”

But Philip Wallis of Hydro Properties said: “Mr Davey says he will make national decisions on our energy sector based on evidence, it is a shame he does not do the same in Surbiton.”

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