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Epsom & Ewell Liberal Democrats

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Horton Tower - The end is in sight

April 18, 2011 1:00 PM

Horton Tower - with scaffolding

Scaffolding going up around the old Horton Water Tower on the Livingstone Park estate, indicates that at last something is about to be done about this problem building, subject to formal planning approval. Residents have been concerned about the future of this tower ever since they moved in to their homes on this new estate.

When planning consent was originally given for housing on this former hospital site, the old water tower was indicated as one of the features to be retained. The original idea was to refurbish it and to try to incorporate it into some form of useful building, whilst retaining its traditional appearance.

Although various schemes were drawn up to build blocks of flats using the old tower as part of the structure, these were either rejected by the Planning Committee as not preserving the original features sufficiently, or not proceeded with by the developers for other reasons. Meanwhile the tower has been left derelict.

Cllr David Buxton has been campaigning for the last four years to get something done about the derelict tower, culminating in an announcement in Sept 2010 that the tower was likely to be demolished.

Horton Tower - Success

Working with the Livingstone Park Residents Association, the Horton Tower Action Group and his Lib Dem colleagues, he has been tirelessly lobbying the borough council, the original Livingstone Park developers and the current owners of the tower, London & Quadrant Housing to either refurbish the tower or else (and preferably) demolish it. David is delighted that his hard work may soon be bearing fruit.

Cllr Colin Taylor, who queried whether the council's plan to retain this water tower was viable when the master plan for Livingstone Park was approved some years ago, pointed out that the tower should either have been refurbished and redeveloped, or else demolished, before the surrounding houses were built.

He said "It is completely unacceptable that the nearby residents have had to suffer having this derelict shell towering over them, amidst so much uncertainty about its future, for such a long time. Now they will apparently have to face all the inevitable inconvenience of the demolition work and filling in the basement to make good the site as an amenity space."

"All this could have been avoided if the council had taken a more realistic attitude in the first place. This kind of muddle and drift is what we have come to expect from our RA-led borough council."