We did it! We persuaded the council that the concrete plant scheme due for decision at this week’s planning committee was based on unreliable, unrepresentative traffic data and as a result it has been deferred pending further studies.
Many thanks to everyone who helped us get to this point, including our team of volunteers who took part in the informal traffic survey of HGV movements in Waterside Way, those who lobbied councillors, and those who provided support and expertise.
Thanks also to constituency MP Stephen Hammond who took the time to inform himself of the isssues, visit the site and then take the unusual step of writing a last-minute letter urging the council to delay a decision due to inconsistencies in evidence regarding the site, which our efforts had highlighted.
Another huge thank you to everyone across Wimbledon who donated money to help pay for the top-notch environmental lawyer Richard Buxton. We are absolutely certain that the analysis and subsequent letter from his practice to the council pressing our case clinched the matter on this occasion.
You may not be aware that resident groups and individuals across the borough donated significant funds to pay for this legal advice. Neither was it the result of an official crowdfunding website, nor an online campaign. It was all raised via word of mouth and via connections between resident associations.
Their and your willingness to donate to help fund this cause demonstrates how the dangers of a potentially vast increase in HGV traffic on Merton roads is not just a local issue, but a borough-wide one. Trucks coming out of Waterside Way onto Plough Lane pass onto Durnsford Road, Gap Road, Haydons Road, Alexandra Road, Worple Road, through Raynes Park, Kingston Road, Merton High Street, into Colliers Wood, Morden, Mitcham and beyond.
Yes these roads are already busy, but an extra 100 or so HGVs a day would make a difference not just to road safety but also to pollution and air quality and therefore the health of us all. Residents and resident groups through Merton recognise this.
There will be no decision made this week on the concrete batching plant scheme, but it has not been rejected. We understand that it has been deferred for further transport assessments to take place. So this is not yet the end of the matter. Further legal advice may be necessary. Scrutiny of the plans will continue.
More offers of funds have already been made, for which we are grateful. All donations (of all sizes) are being held in a third-party account overseen by one of the local residents’ associations.
So far they have paid for the equipment we used to film traffic movements in Waterside Way (this proved critical to getting this scheme halted) plus the legal advice and letter from the leading environmental law firm Richard Buxton.
Analysis of further documentation on this scheme may well require further expert input. We are ready.