Are they deliberately making life difficult on Richmond Green?

When I stood up at the second planning meeting about Richmond Green, I thought that they may review the position as the London Borough of Sutton  had applied to themselves for Planning Permission using the incorrect documentation.

When I took the matter forward to the Local Government Ombudsman I brought their attention to the fact that the Flood Prevention Plan presented to the Committee was prefaced with the warning that the following report should not be used to support a planning application.

The London Borough of Sutton defended themselves against my deposition with a legal opinion that they expressly forbade the Ombudsman to share with me.  The Ombudsman found in favour of the London Borough of Sutton but in spite of Freedom of Information requests I am still not aware how they managed to wriggle out of their responsibilities.

But of course, there were conditions applied to the planning permission but those have been persistently ignored – for example condition 18 that specifically demands the protection of the verges on the green to the South side of Richmond Green.  When these were pointed out – there were platitudes about re-instatement.  No effort at protection and you can see from the photographs a typical delivery and the damage caused.

As if to rub the residents’ noses in it, next to the main site entrance a sign has been erected asking people not to drive on the verge and it isn’t even the one they are contracted to protect!  You see, everyone seems to forget that people live here – they walk their children to school – they walk their dogs.  The building site is supposed to be behind the hoardings but instead they are destroying the road – currently deemed a footpath – the verges and the lives of residents.

Within the last 10 days, I wrote an email to the Director responsible with copies to the Project Director of the contractors and the Chief Executive of the London Borough of Sutton.  At the time, I pointed out continuing contraventions of planning conditions as well as security factors which included the fact that one of the security bollards was broken meaning that vehicular access was possible to Richmond  Green.

That remains unrepaired and around 10 metres away is green heras fencing leaning unsecured against a hedge.  It still has the warning “Danger of Death” and given the collective weight of these panels and the Easter holidays with children playing – it is dangerously prophetic.

But the final irony is reserved for that Flood Prevention Plan – in spite of everything, before the London Borough of Sutton entered their defence to the Local Government Ombudsman, a new Plan was submitted.  This involved the creation of a “Balancing Pond” on the green south of Richmond Green to route surface water from the new development via a hydrobrake directly into the Wandle.  The problem is that what they have created is a flood creation plan – amply illustrated during its current construction phase where without any connection to the drainage of surface water from the site, after an averagely showery day in South London, she is filling up nicely.

Where the blame is apportioned, I have to leave to the local people – I know what I think and it is one of the reasons I have stuck my neck out to represent this ward because we residents do not have full representation.  One Councillor, however noisy, is hard pressed against the apathy of the others – three of us have a chance!


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