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Council Makes Application to Secretary of State for Allotments

August 2, 2010 4:18 PM
Neglected SSSI site

The main pond at Stones Road which is barely visible for most of the year

The borough council will make an application to the Secretary of State for permission to restore to use the currently abandoned Stones Road allotments and will work with Lower Mole Countryside Management Project, Natural England, Surrey County Council and others to ensure the future of both the Stones Road allotments and Stones Road Pond which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The allotments fell into disuse because of constant incursions from the nearby Travellers' Site and elsewhere. It is hoped to link management of both the allotments area and the SSSI (which is where protected Great Crested Newts live), create a buffer zone within the allotments in order to secure the site, reduce anti-social behaviour and create a small second pond and a hibernacula for the newts. The proposals are complex because of the number of organisations involved (in addition to those above, there is also the Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group) and the number of landowners (Epsom & Ewell BC, Surrey CC and Thames Water - the latter currently refusing to acknowledge ownership).

Epsom and Ewell Lib Dems began a campaign some years ago to restore these allotments. A public meeting was held. Surrey CC failed in its duty to secure the Travellers' Site and problems continued. Only now, with legislation concerning biodiversity, allotments and the management of SSSIs, have all parties agreed a way forward.

Full details of the proposals can be found on the borough council's website. A meeting of the Leisure Committee on 5th July refers, and the report and map can be found as item 3 within this document.