Agenda item

Questions from members of the public

The Leader, or their nominee, to answer any questions raised by members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 13.


Two questions have been received from members of the public.



The Mayor reported that, under Standing Order 14, two questions had been received from a member of the public.


Question from Alderman Robin Sider:


“In this years South and South East in Bloom competition, both the Sunbury Walled Garden and the Cemetries of Ashford, Sunbury and Staines each received a Gold Award in this fiercely contested and prestigious competition.


Will the Leader of the Council join me in congratulating Neighbourhood Services on these magnificent achievements and share my view that such awards clearly demonstrate the pride and commitment that council employees have to our Borough”


Response from the Leader:


“Alderman Sider, I would like to thank you for your question.


Yes, I would join you in congratulating Neighbourhood Services on their success in the South and South East in Bloom Competition. Such a great achievement and I know that the residents value the beautiful communal places that we have in our Borough. It is testament to our officers’ dedication and pride that they take in maintaining these areas and I am pleased that they have been given the recognition that they deserve”.



Question from Emma Pattinson:


“Having read the consultation report which was commissioned to support the Bathing Water Designation application to DEFRA for Shepperton Open Water Swim, will Spelthorne Council write a letter in support of that application?"



Response from Councillor Beecher, Chair of Environment & Sustainability Committee


“Thank you for your question, Ms Pattinson 


This Council appreciates the benefits that open water swimming can bring to individuals and Shepperton Open Water Swim’s desire to designate Ferris Meadow Lake as bathing water for that purpose.  Any such designation cannot, however, be separated from the River Thames Scheme which, as Councillors know, is a vital flood alleviation project aimed at protecting thousands of Spelthorne’s residents and businesses, from Staines to Sunbury.  That Scheme will also be a significant green infrastructure project bringing leisure and biodiversity benefits to the Borough along its length.  The Scheme is now fully funded and is moving towards a Development Consent Order Process (for planning permission) as it is deemed to be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.


Earlier this year, the River Thames Scheme was made aware of concerns regarding the proposed flow of the Spelthorne flood alleviation channel through Ferris Meadow Lake before entering the River Thames, and the effect this would have on open water swimming which has greatly expanded since the COVID pandemic.  Whilst the number swimming in the lake has increased, it is our understanding that just 6.5% of those people live in our Borough, with other users coming from areas such as Elmbridge, London Boroughs and as far away as Portsmouth.  In view of the concerns raised, the Scheme is currently undertaking a feasibility study to investigate the possibility of re-routing the Spelthorne section of the flood alleviation channel to avoid fully or partially connecting through Ferris Meadow Lake. 


Until the results of the feasibility study are known we not in a position to know how any such diversion could affect our wider Borough and whether this would result in any significant additional costs to the Scheme.  If Spelthorne was to support the designation of the lake as bathing water prior to the outcome of that study, there is a risk that partners might look to this Council to increase its contribution to cover any additional costs of any associated diversion route needed.  Taking this into account, together with the vital importance of the wider Scheme to protect this Borough’s residents from flooding, it would be prudent for this Council to wait for the outcome of the feasibility study (which is expected in the first quarter of 2024) and a full assessment of the proposals for a Bathing Water Designation before we make any formal comment on whether we would support any such proposal.  Once this information is received Councillors in this chamber will be in possession of all the information needed to debate this issue and respond more effectively to any application to DEFRA in relation to the Bathing Water Directive and whether we can offer support for such an application”.




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