Thanks to the WEHRA, which forwarded us a copy of their letter to Merton planners regarding the application to site a concrete batching plant in Waterside Way. We print it in full here.

Remember too that all documents relating to the planning application can be viewed on the council’s website.

“Dear Sir/Madam:
This provides further concerns about the above application, from the Wimbledon East Hillside Residents’ Association. We understand this application has been deferred, to allow time for further consideration of the many dimensions this application may have on the surrounding community of businesses, homes, schools and the natural environment.

1) Floodplain
Where are any mitigation measures to address the critical drainage area, and flooding, and look risk to future occupiers and the neighbouring community. The applicant seems to have ignored this issue and this is a 3b floodplain, with groundwater levels already too high. The risk of river pollution with this business proposal is very high, and we are not satisfied the applicant’s business operation can guarantee the Wandle – located less than 6 meters from the site boundary – would be free from pollution from waste, dust, spills and run off. What about when we have a tremendous, continuous heavy rainstorm? This happened just last year. The ‘ingredients’ to make concrete will find their way into the river, and this is simply not acceptable.

2) Air Pollution
The applicant has a duty to protect the amenity of residential properties in the vicinity with regard to air emissions. There is no way this business can guarantee a pollution free environment. We understand the land does not at present have any permission for diesel transport vehicles, so this would represent a huge increase in vehicles and vehicular movements, not just here, but throughout the area this plant would serve. This not acceptable to Wimbledon residents. Already we have Cappagh drivers aggressively commuting on both our distributor and RESIDENTIAL roads. They regularly use residential roads as cut-through roads, even though this isn’t allowed. We will suffer even greater pollution and disturbance, and our safety will be compromised, should this application be approved. It is unlikely, with such a large fleet of diesel vehicles, that this business proposal will ever be satisfactory for this address.

3) Metropolitan Open Land
There is no respect shown whatsoever to the adjacent Metropolitan Open Land and nature conservation areas. I believe the Wandle Valley Regional Trust have addressed this issue in their Representation.

4) Archeological Heritage
There is no guarantee provided that the archaeological heritage of the area will be preserved, should this application be approved. Wimbledon/Tooting’s rich archaeological heritage must be respected and protected. Where is the proposal for such protection? Where is there a CIL for archaeological inspection and possible preservation, should this application be approved? Until this is done, the application must be deferred.

5) Wandle River Regeneration Plan
There is a great effort to regenerate the Lea River Valley that is meeting with much success. This is a model that can be readily coped for Merton and the Wandle River Valley Trust. Meanwhile this application is sited at the ‘fork’ of the Wandle and the end of the Graveney, a major tributary to the Wandle. What a short-sighted idea, to give this important junction to a concrete batching business, instead of working a bit harder and turning the area into a nature preserve, a world class pedestrian and cycle path, providing what is TfL’s number one means of transportation in their own hierarchy: WALKING.

To that end, here’s a weblink to Future Merton’s own plans for ‘Wandle Riverside’ in Colliers Wood, about a mile from this site: . The Council surely must allocate CIL funds from local planning applications to link up the various stretches of the Wandle throughout the Borough, not ‘kill off’ bits of it as the river meanders along. CIL money must improve the immediate local environment, restoring the Wandle, adding walkways, cycle paths and green spaces of quality, and reducing pollution. Funds should not be given to other parts of the borough, at the expense of our good health and well being.

5) Weir Rd/Plough Lane Masterplan
Finally the Council is negligent in preparing a proper Masterplan for this aged Industrial Corridor. As the Council are freeholders of this vast acreage, there is a fine opportunity for Merton to develop a Community Serving, Sustainable new town that incorporates some light industrial use, but primarily would provide affordable housing, sustainable transportive infrastructure and a place of safety and wellbeing for anyone who passes through, be it by car, lorry, cycle or on foot.

In our view, if the haste with which the Council has pushed on with this application is because of their football stadium, then any ‘concrete batching’ should be done in situ, at the Stadium site. It is wrong to allow a Concrete Batching Business of any kind in Waterside Way, right next to the Wandle. Thank you for REFUSING PERMISSION.”