Campaigners and residents have expressed concern about the state of Seething Wells waterworks, after maintenance work began on its soil bunds last week.

Photos and videos taken on site last week show all four sides of the filter beds at Surbiton’s former Victorian waterworks on Portsmouth Road almost entirely cleared of trees.

Phil Renton, 68, of Balaclava Road, a retired Thames Water scientist, said: "It looks like a war zone. All the top soil of the horizontal and sloping banks has been stripped off to expose the original brickwork.

"They've just decimated the whole site. It's upsetting obviously. There was a colony of bats on the site.

"If that's maintenance I wouldn't want them to come to my garden. They'd dig it up. Maintenance, what a joke."

The Seething Wells waterworks was one of the first sites to supply London with clean water in the 19th century.

The filter beds at Seething Wells form part of the green corridor and are a wildlife habitat for 75 bird species and 11 bat species including the rare Daubentons, according to campaigners.

The Seething Wells site is a site of borough importance for nature conservation, a metropolitan open land and a conservation area with blanket tree protection orders.

Simon Tyrrell, of Friends of Seething Wells, said: “We’ve heard nothing that suggests the council fully appreciates the nature of the damage or the scale of the implications.

“There appears to be scant awareness of the clear breaches of protections and the rights available to the council in policing and enforcing those confidently.

“Too many fine people have worked too hard for too long on preventing such dereliction and on developing alternatives for community benefit, for this beautiful, historical and ecologically vivid site to be brutalised any more.”

A spokesperson for Kingston Council said: "The owners of the site are aware that it is a conservation area, in close proximity to a listed structure, and that the site has a high biodiversity value.

“The council are keeping a close eye."

Seething Wells Water works is owned by Cascina Limited, and the Surrey Comet has approached for comment Hydro Properties, which has acted on their behalf in the past.