Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Reason for decision:
The decision recommended by this report will contribute to enabling the Council, in partnership with the Environment Agency, to progress the River Thames Scheme – a major infrastructure project that will reduce the risk of flooding from the Thames for communities in Runnymede and Spelthorne. It will achieve this through the construction of two new channel sections to divert water away from the Thames and additional capacity improvements to Sunbury, Molesey and Teddington weirs.
To construct the channel sections, it will be necessary to purchase land and to formalise agreements with third party landowners.
A forward purchase of land, in advance of submission of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application provides the opportunity for Surrey County Council and the Environment Agency to obtain land through agreement for the scheme. Forward purchasing also averts the risk of land disposal by current landowners possibly into small parcels that would make future purchase potentially more complex and expensive.
In addition, the purchase of this land provides an opportunity to provide green infrastructure for the enjoyment of residents in Spelthorne, which is underserved by the Council’s Countryside Estate which provides 10,000 acres of high-quality landscape and recreational space across the county but in Spelthorne, is limited to Sheepwalk Lake. The area known as Chertsey Meads on the opposite side of the river, complements the site linked on both sides to the Thames Path, a 184 mile long national walking trail, which provides an opportunity for a circular route within the site and an additional attraction for visitors to explore along the river.
Since the landscape quality of the site is currently low, there is a high net biodiversity value to be gained from managing the site to maximise value delivered by new wetland, woodland and grasslands.
Approving the purchase of the land will allow Surrey County Council to support both the River Thames Scheme project and the Greener Futures priority objective.
[The decisions on this item can be called in by the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee]
Publication date: 27/04/2021
Date of decision: 27/04/2021
Decided at meeting: 27/04/2021 - Cabinet