Seething Wells Filter Beds

Seething Wells All Party Working Group

At the Council committee meeting on 27 January 2022 the Council agreed to form an all party working group of six councillors. The Seething Wells All Party Working Group will investigate additional options available regarding the protection of the wildlife and diversity of the Seething Wells Filter Beds, taking evidence from stakeholders and interested parties. 

The working group has been set up and met for the first time on Friday 11 March 2022.

The webcast of the meeting can be viewed via this link and the meeting notes can be downloaded here.   

Recommendations from the working are being prepared for presented to the Place committee for consideration.

Updates will be shared on this page.

27 April 2022

Location, biodiversity and ownership

The Seething Wells Filter Beds are the site of 19th century waterworks located in Surbiton. At 13 hectares, Seething Wells supports the largest area of standing open water within the borough. This provides habitat for a range of species including wintering wildfowl, bats and reptiles, all which are legally protected within this area. 

To help protect Seething Wells, it is designated as both Metropolitan Open Land and a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation by the planning system (Policy G3 and Policy G6 of the London Plan). 

This site is privately owned. Kingston Council is not the land owner and therefore not able to designate Seething Wells as a Local Nature Reserve.

Planning protections

The council used its planning powers to protect Seething Wells Filter Beds from potential harm to local biodiversity.

A mechanism called an Article 4 Direction was introduced which removes the ability to erect fencing, gates and other means of enclosure on the site without planning permission.

The Article 4 Direction was introduced on 23 October 2020 for a temporary period of six months. On 17 March 2021 the Council's Culture, Housing, Environment and Planning Committee approved the recommendation to make the Article 4 Direction permanent. On 14 April 2021 the Article 4 Direction was made permanent.

The council will continue to protect the site from inappropriate development proposals and, where possible, encourage improvements to local biodiversity.

Section 215 Notice

Section 215 (s215) of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 provides a local planning authority (LPA) with the power, in certain circumstances, to take steps requiring land to be cleaned up when its condition adversely affects the amenity of the area. 

The use of s215 by LPAs is discretionary and it is therefore up to the LPA to decide whether a notice under these provisions would be appropriate in a particular case, taking into account all the local circumstances. 

The wall and railings forming the Portsmouth Road boundary of the Filter Beds site are of sufficient heritage value to be designated as a locally listed building. The Council has had lengthy discussions with the current landowners regarding the need to arrest the decline of the wall and railings, and address the adverse impact they have on the amenity of the local area. These discussions have included recognition of the difficulties that recent global and national events have had on the logistics of restoration works. 

Ultimately the Council has opted, in light of the landowners failure to act, to serve an enforcement notice requiring the restoration of the structure, and the removal of rubbish and waste from the land.

You can download the Section 215 Notice from our website

Wildlife crime

The council is aware that local residents have raised concerns about incidents of wildlife crime in Seething Wells and the surrounding area. Wildlife crime is a matter for the Police and the Metropolitan Police have confirmed the area is within their jurisdiction. 

If you have witnessed wildlife crime this should be reported by calling 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111. 

If a crime is happening or someone is in danger, always call 999.

Useful links

Last Modified: 27/04/2022 11:25:17