Correspondance with LBH
On 4th October 2010 a group of concerned local residents wrote a letter to Lyn Summers, Project Manager for the proposed development. They received a reply dated 18th October from Alan Dalton, Interim Deputy Director, Planning, Environment and Community Service. Dissatisfied with the answers, they wrote again. These questions and answers are published below:
"We are writing to you on behalf of local residents who have concerns about the Council’s proposals and wish to ask the following questions -
1. Residents' question: In connection with its proposals to raise the water level at the Lido we understand that the Council has appointed consultants to undertake a Flood Risk Assessment of the Lido. Have the Council’s consultants been advised of previous flooding of properties downstream of the Lido and the Council’s decision in 1992 to restrict water levels at the Lido to provide flood protection?
Answer from Alan Dalton: The purpose of the Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) is to identify a level at which the water can be safely maintained. The consultants have been made fully aware of the background information in relation to the site.
Residents' response: We note the Council maintains its reluctance to engage in consultation with local residents and that in some cases you have not answered the questions asked. You have stated that the consultants have been made fully aware of the background information. However, for the avoidance of any doubt, can you please answer the question asked by confirming that they have been advised of previous flooding of properties downstream of the Lido and the Council’s decision in 1992 to restrict water levels at the Lido to provide flood protection?
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2. Has the Council informed residents of properties within the areas affected by previous flooding of its proposals to raise the water level of the Lido?
The outcome of the Flood Risk Assessment will determine proposals regarding the water levels. Consequently, at this stage there is no requirement to inform residents.
We note that the Council has not informed residents of properties within the areas affected by previous flooding of its proposals to raise the water level of the Lido.
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3. Residents noted with concern that earlier this year the Council had allowed the water level at the Lido to rise above levels previously recommended by the Council’s engineer. What is the Council’s current policy with regard to maintenance of a maximum water level at the Lido? If this is different to the level advised by the Council’s engineer can you please confirm on what further advice this has been based?
As previously stated the outcome of the FRA will identify a level at which the water can be safely maintained. In the interim, the Council will monitor water levels on a regular basis and take steps to mitigate risk accordingly.
You have not answered this question. We are dissatisfied with this response and wish this request for information to now be considered under the appeal process for requests made under the Freedom of Information Act and/or Environmental Information Regulations. What is the Council’s current policy with regard to maintenance of a maximum water level at the Lido? If this is different to the level advised by the Council’s engineer can you please confirm on what further advice this has been based.
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4. The Council has failed to respond to two large petitions requesting that its programme of improvements be subject to public consultation. In the Council’s report on a petition in April 2010 it was stated that when proposals had been firmed up Hillingdon residents would be advised through Hillingdon People. However, we note that the latest edition of Hillingdon People contains no reference to the Improvement Programme despite the recent submission by the Council of a planning application for a 160 space car park in the Lido Grounds. Why has nothing been published about this planning application or any of the other improvement proposals?
Details of the current car park planning application have been publicised extensively, through the local press and on the Council’s Ruislip Lido Enhancement Programme update web page. Regular updates about the council's proposed plans for the lido have been made to interested parties as well as through the local press, and future updates will feature in issues of Hillingdon People and on the council's website.
Much of the extensive publicity you refer to in the local press has been due to residents objections to the Council’s proposals rather than any deliberate policy of the Council to publicise its planning application other than under its legal requirements to do so. We note that now these issues have been raised the Council has updated its website entry and that the latest edition of Hillingdon People contains more information on the Council’s proposals. However, this article contains virtually no reference to the objections to the Council’s proposals from local residents. In the interests of balance are you prepared to agree to publish a letter from local residents putting these points in the next edition of Hillingdon People?
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5. The Council has repeatedly refused to answer questions on the funding of any increased revenue expenditure arising from the Council’s “improvements”. Has the Council undertaken any assessment of the future additional revenue costs?
Funding for improvements is Capital not Revenue and is determined on a project by project basis. Consequently, the impact of future costs is taken into account on each individual project.
Again, you have not answered the question. We are dissatisfied with this response and wish this request for information to now be considered under the appeal process for requests made under the Freedom of Information Act and/or Environmental Information Regulations. "Has the Council undertaken any assessment of the future additional revenue costs which may arise from its “improvements”?
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6. Has the Council carried out any car parking surveys during peak periods to identify the need for additional car parking? If so, can you please provide details of the dates and times when these surveys were carried out and their results?
Feedback on car parking during peak periods has been provided by Green Spaces staff on a regular basis and by the need for additional enforcement staff. It is clear from historical information, that we can anticipate peak periods and therefore the need for a survey is not required.
We note from your answer that the Council has not carried out any car parking surveys during peak periods to identify the need for additional car parking. You have however referred to feedback on car parking during peak periods provided by Green Spaces staff and that from this historical information you can anticipate peak periods. In this case, in line with our previous request, "can you please provide details of the dates and times when this information was collected and therefore the basis on which you have assessed that an additional 160 space car park is required despite the Council’s Climate Change and Car Parking Policies?" Please treat this as a request made under the Freedom of Information Act.
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7. The Council’s Climate Change and Car Parking Policies seek a reduction in car use through restraint based parking policies and the promotion of alternative transport modes. What alternative transport options for visitors to the Lido have been investigated? Have you prepared a Travel Plan to show how use of public transport may be maximised by visitors to the Lido?
There is a bus service serving the site (as you are aware the bus services are run by TfL not the Council, therefore it is not in the Councils control to alter the existing timetable). The Council has considered the use of a travel plan, however visitors to Ruislip Lido come from a London-wide area, (as identified in the recent petition), which would basically inhibit any form of travel plan activity. Travel plans are most successful where target users are undertaking trips at the same time; have geographical linkages and where there are a range of alternative transport options.
For a school for example it is possible to co-ordinate parents who live close together to suggest a car share as the children will always go to school at the same time and for the same days of the week. Visitors to the Lido, in contrast, come from across Hillingdon and London. They will make trips dependent on external factors such as the weather, the dynamics of visitors to the Lido does not make a travel plan a realistic option. In brief, significant numbers of people wish to visit the Lido by car; the Council can either seek to manage this demand, or remain with existing on-street parking arrangements.
Your response appears to dismiss the contribution of public transport despite the Council’s policies to encourage use of public transport. Does the Council not talk to TfL? For your information, there are two bus services, each operating at 20 minute intervals (half hourly at weekends) either directly to the site, or to a stop very close in Bury Street, which make connections with Ruislip, Northwood, Harefield, Denham, Uxbridge, Ruislip Manor, Eastcote, Pinner and Northwood Hills. Ruislip Lido is therefore already highly accessible by public transport.
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8. Residents are particularly concerned at suggestions the Council may start charging non borough residents for parking as this would be likely to lead to increased congestion and street parking not only in the vicinity of Reservoir Road but also residential roads with access through the woods to the Lido. What are the Council’s plans for management and charging of the new car park? Is it to be open throughout the year or only at peak times?
There are no definite proposals for charging non-borough residents to use the Lido at the present time. The plans for the management of the proposed new car park will be publicised if planning permission has been obtained.
You have not answered this question. It is a material consideration to the planning application for the car park how it is to be managed and whether charges will be introduced. Residents consider that the introduction of charges for parking would be likely to lead to increased congestion and street parking not only in the vicinity of Reservoir Road but also residential roads with access through the woods to the Lido. Why is the Council continuing to be secretive about its plans for management and charging of the new car park?
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9. Please provide details of the lease terms under which the existing car park is managed by Crown Carveries? How long is the term of the lease? Are there any break clauses under which the Council could regain possession? What are the terms relating to any charging for use of the car park by visitors to the Lido or Waters Edge Pub?
The car park is included in the lease of the Water’s Edge; there is no provision for charging, the lease is for 99 yrs from the 21st February 1996.
We note your confirmation that the existing car park is included in a 99 year lease of the Water’s Edge and that, in accordance with promises given to residents when this development was undertaken, that the existing car park is free.
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10. Previous surveys have shown that the Lido has significantly silted up since the 1970’s. With regard to the Council’s proposals for boating and swimming, has the Council investigated, as an alternative to raising water levels, de-silting the Lido?
As question 2, the outcome of the Flood Risk assessment will determine proposals regarding the water levels. De-silting has not at this stage been investigated but will be better informed once the consultants work has been completed.
We note that the Council has not investigated the possibility of de-silting the Lido.
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11. When are the consultants Flood Risk and Environmental Impact Assessments due to be completed and when will these be made available for public scrutiny?
The outcome of the Consultants findings has been submitted to the Environment Agency for consideration and comment. The final report will be published as soon as the process has been completed.
We understand that the Council has received a response from the Environment Agency and has resubmitted its proposals to the Environment Agency. As these are matters of very considerable public interest why is the Council still not willing to publish the consultants Flood Risk and Environmental Impact Assessments?
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12. If boating is reintroduced what measures does the Council propose to put into place to safeguard wildlife in sensitive areas of the Lido?
The proposals at the Lido will maintain the ‘look and feel’ of the Lido and will take conservation interests into consideration.
You have not answered the question. Perhaps the Council has not given any thought to this. However, if it has, can you please answer the question: If boating is reintroduced what measures does the Council propose to put into place to safeguard wildlife in sensitive areas of the Lido? Can you please be specific about how “conservation interests” are to be protected if the Council introduces boating on the Lido?