Many residents have been asking for updates on what is happening at Beddington Farmlands.
On 24 November, the community representatives of the NDG, along with Cllr Dave Tchil attended the Conservation and Access Management Committee.
Change of members
Although the AGM was held on 21 July and members of the committee confirmed, we found out that Cllr Jillian Green (Beddington North) has been replaced by Cllr Barry Lewis (Wallington North). This is not a political committee and there was no-one at the meeting who was able to provide the reason for the change and we have requested clarification for this, as an action.
Progress on site
- Concerns on future management of sludge habitats for lapwings. Thames Water (TW) is due to take on the management in May 2023 during the main breeding season. If the habitat isn’t right, the chance of them recolonising is very slim. TW are committed to working together with Valencia and if the figures work out, they intend to keep the existing sludge bed management team, currently employed by Valencia.
- TW are determined to get the water sorted, but the request for an abstraction licence to take water from the effluent carrier is still sitting with the EA.
- After hearing Valencia’s concerns regarding the acidification of the soil to create acid grassland, TW stated that they also wouldn’t support it and thinks the Environment Agency and Natural England won’t allow it either. Interestingly it was TW who first proposed the acid grassland 26 years ago!
- On the wet grassland, seeding and hedge planting needs to take place this Winter, by February 2023, otherwise it will be delayed until next year. Valencia confirmed that this will be taking place, despite the fact that their own plan for the site will not be ready until late January, at the earliest.
Update from Valencia
Spencer Palmer (Strategic Director of Environment, Housing and Neighbourhoods for Sutton Council) sent a letter and report to Valencia with concerns about completion of the restoration on time. Andy Stokes, Technical Director for Valencia said on record that they are fully committed to delivering it and appreciated the work of the CAMC over the years, but there were concerns:-
- Is the existing scheme climate resilient?
- Availability of water supply
- Compatibility of scheme with surrounding site, especially acid grassland
Valencia have appointed Stantec Consulting to undertake a viability assessment and remaster the plan for the site, look at what remains on the timeline and what variables there are. A workshop with the CAMC is to be planned for the end of January 2023. An application to change existing planning conditions is inevitable.
We have asked for all minutes to be put on the website and for Valencia to provide a statement of intent that we could share with residents, but are still waiting for this.