Residents dream up alternatives for Surbiton Filter Beds site

Surrey Comet: Alex Ritson, from Friends of Seething Wells, addresses the meeting Alex Ritson, from Friends of Seething Wells, addresses the meeting

Surbiton filter beds could be home to a wild lido, tai chi classes or old-English carolling.

That, at least, were a few of the suggestions at a public meeting last night, as campaign group the Friends of Seething Wells (FOSW) asked residents to come up with their own ideas for the former waterworks site.

With Hydro Properties' appeal against Kingston Council's decision to turn down its floating homes proposal imminent, FOSW wanted opponents of the scheme to draw up solutions.

Among the audience at St Andrews's and St Mark's School in Maple Road on Friday were Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey, and deputy Kingston Council leader Liz Green.

Several residents reiterated their opposition to Hydro's plans.

Among them was Surbiton resident Andrew Loftus, who said: “This area has not got the facilities to take any more volume of people.

"The infrastructure is cracking. We do not need more unnecessary development, we need more open space.”

Meanwhile Kate Sabey, 33, from Porton Court, was impressed with the turnout.

She said: “I am really impressed, actually blown away at the support.

"I like the idea of outdoor classes, it would be great for the community and the children, and teaching them.”

Other proposals included school visits, bat walks and sports, with the central idea being to create an accessible area that harked back to the site's original use as filter beds, as well as creating a haven for wildlife and fauna.

Residents suggested full-scale models of the old structures, with educational tours and gadgets such as mobile phone apps that will give a history of the site.

But Holly Morris, 19, from Richmond Road in Kingston, said it was essntial young people got on board with the plans.

She said: “Whenever you get people from the 16 to 19 bracket behind something they are such a big voice, with social networking for example.

“You’ve got to give them incentive, what they would gain from it. And get people to broadcast it to them, go into schools and talk about it.”

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