Statement on activity at the Seething Wells site
Seething Wells is privately owned land. It is designated as Metropolitan Open Land. The council is the planning authority.
A Kingston Council spokesperson said:
“The council is committed to making sure all work on the Seething Wells site, which is designated as Metropolitan Open Land, is carried out in the correct manner and that the site is closely monitored to ensure there are no breaches of planning control.
“In September 2018, the council immediately alerted the Metropolitan Police after receiving reports of a mechanical excavator on the site, with a police officer attending within the hour. Council officers went to the site straight afterwards to check whether the works required planning permission. They found the work to be maintenance-focused, with the purpose of preserving the integrity of the river wall.
“The contractors said they had been told not to remove any trees, only smaller vegetation such as shrubs which do not require planning permission. As a result, the council did not find sufficient evidence that established trees had been removed.
“The council continued to closely monitor the situation and received a notification from the owner before Christmas saying they intended to remove certain trees. The council issued a Tree Preservation Order, and thereafter a formal application took place in late February, with a structural engineer’s report saying that the trees in question either have caused, or will cause, damage to the site, including the river wall and the boundary wall and railings. This could have serious safety consequences. Based on the report and evidence provided, the council permitted the removal of these trees.
“Any evidence of the habitats of protected species of wildlife being destroyed on the site is a matter for the Metropolitan Police as, if this is the case, it is illegal. We would advise any residents who believe this to be the case to contact the force.”
View the Seething Wells application’s supporting statement here