These filter beds are a Site of Importance to Nature Conservation, located on Metropolitan Open Land in Surbiton’s Riverside South Conservation area. On our recent site visit we noted some of the historic filter beds had been forcefully drained, exposing the original filtering material sand, gravel and cockle shells. Unsightly heaps of gravel and pits dug by excavator early this year. Looks like concrete-sided ramps installed to facilitate the use of a mechanical digger.
The original pump house has been designated as a Building of Townscape Merit by RBK after the Planning Inspectorate’s Appeal Decision, 5 March 2014, APP/Z/5630/A/13/2197943. It is in a very poor state, currently windows are boarded-up and covered in graffiti.
Railings have been designated as a Building of Townscape Merit by RBK after the Planning Inspectorate’s Appeal Decision, 5 March 2014, APP/Z/5630/A/13/2197943. The associated brickwork and stonework are in ab extremely precarious condition and arguably in places could present a risk to users of the adjacent pavement.
Sadly, an intention to degrade the site is evident. RBK’s Heritage and Conservation Lead should immediately make a request to Historic England, supported with evidence, to statutorily list the Railings and the Pump House on the site. And the owners of the site must stop this environmental and heritage vandalism. RBK and the Environment Agency should note the dire consequences for wildlife in these beds.
Some local residents are campaigning to save the filter beds as a local nature, wildlife and national heritage asset, the best example of a Victorian water treatment facility that saved thousands of lives during a previous pandemic. More here: http://saveseethingwells.org/front/
On 27 January RBK agreed to form an all-party working group and at last they met on 11th March 2022. One of our committee members attended and spoke in the meeting. As far as we can see their aim is to investigate additional options available regarding the protection of the wildlife and diversity of the Seething Wells Filter Beds. Meeting was very poorly advertised and was at very short notice, Owners of the site were not there. Available stakeholders and interested parties discussed proposals for a way forward to be presented to the Place Committee for consideration.
Kingston Society continues to support the site being designated as MOL and a SINC. We are actively following the developments but extremely worried and saddened by the current state of the beds.