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Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith joins campaign against floating homes on Surbiton’s filter beds
Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith has joined the campaign against floating homes on Surbiton’s filter beds.
With the decision looming, the environmentalist joins Kingston and Surbiton MP and Energy Secretary Edward Davey in the fight against the development.
Hydro Properties first unveiled plans for the floating homes in April 2011 and received more than 170 letters of objection by the end of that year.
Phillip Wallis, managing director at Hydro Properties, said: “I am bitterly disappointed.
"I would have felt with his green credentials this would have met all the objectives he would be looking for in a sustainable development.
"I am surprised – taken aback and very disappointed.”
Mr Goldsmith said: “Surbiton’s filter beds are special and deserve protection.
"From an ecological point of view, they provide important habitat for bats and birds and from a historical perspective, they are an important surviving example of innovative Victorian civil engineering.
“Before losing this heritage forever the community deserves a truly impressive proposal and in my view that is not what they have been offered.”
Alex Ritson, a spokesman for the Friends of Seething Wells, said: “This development has caused the country’s leading environmentalist, Zac Goldsmith, to speak out, along with local MP Edward Davey.
“They both recognise it is simply wrong to build luxury homes on what is effectively a nature reserve.
“This is the riverside equivalent of concreting over school playing fields. The fact hundreds of people have come to our public meetings shows people care.”
He urged objectors to write to the council ahead of this month’s development control meeting.
Councillors will make a decision on the filter beds at the Guildhall on Tuesday, January 22.