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Horton Water Tower Could Be Demolished

September 28, 2010 6:00 PM
Horton Tower - Agreement to demolish

Cllr Taylor (left) and Cllr Buxton - delighted that the Water Tower may well be demolished at long last!

L&Q (London & Quadrant Housing Association) have confirmed that they are looking at ways of demolishing Horton Water Tower and have appointed a planning consultant to help.

Epsom & Ewell Lib Dem councillors have been sending weekly emails pressing L&Q to respond to the residents' questionnaire sent out some months ago. Plans to stage a protest at L&Q headquarters were being finalised, when although the deadline had passed, the following response was received from an L&Q spokesperson: "L&Q are investigating the possibilities to demolish the water tower and replace with soft landscaping. This was by far the most favourable option based on the returned questionnaires completed by the local residents living in close proximity to the Water Tower on what they would like for the future of the Water Tower. We have appointed a planning consultant."

"After a long campaign by local Lib Dem councillors and the Water Tower Action Group, this is absolutely brilliant news", said Cllr David Buxton who represents the ward. "This is the light at the end of the tunnel that residents have wanted for such a long time, but we won't assume it's all over until the residents get what they need, so we'll be keeping up the pressure on L&Q."

"I think the council has learned it's lesson on this one - the water towers on the other estates need to be restored and developed BEFORE the surrounding houses are built, or else demolished straight away." County Cllr Colin Taylor added "When the master plan for Livingstone Park was approved some years ago, I queried whether the council's plan to retain this water tower was viable. At the time mine was a lone voice, but it seems I may be about to be proved right."

Horton Water Tower has a long history: built in 1902 as part of Horton Hospital, it then continued to supply the hospital through its name changes to Horton Asylum, to Horton Mental Hospital and back again to Horton Hospital in recent times.

Various planning applications to extend the tower as part of a block of high-rise flats have been submitted to the borough council in recent years. The most recent one was rejected by the planning committee last year. Residents new to the estate, now named Livingstone Park, have campaigned against its development declaring it a blot on the landscape.

Last month youngsters broke into the tower and climbed up inside. The Police were forced to treat the incident, at least initially, as a potential suicide attempt. Nearby residents have also complained about loss of light and shadowing to their properties, particularly in winter.

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