The constant assaults on what was meant to be a suburban wildlife sanctuary close to the Croydon borough boundary appear to be continuing.
It is not bad enough that Viridor is failing to fulfill its commitment to restore habitat as it cleans up after profiting from running the landfill site at Beddington Farmlands, nor that Sutton Council should give permission to build a rubbish-burning incinerator in the midst of what was supposed to become part of the Wandle Valley country park.
Now Network Rail wants to demolish a couple of Victorian bridges over the railway lines north of Hackbridge, even though the bridges can play a vital role in providing public access to the Farmlands, when it is eventually restored and opened.
Peter Alfrey, the naturalist who monitors the wildlife at Beddington Farmlands, said, “We understand Network Rail’s assessment shows it would be less expensive to maintain the bridges than demolish them.”
With the demolition scheduled for May, Alfrey calls the plans for the 100 Acre and Irrigation bridges as “short-term thinking”.
He said: “It risks squandering the vast environmental opportunity that this area of green space – three times the size of Hyde Park – presents right at the heart of the Wandle Valley Regional Park.”
The Hackbridge Neighbourhood Plan identifies the bridges as a “vital link with the past and also a necessary link to the future”. It is “concerned to ensure than none of the bridges are demolished and all are opened up for public use”.
There is, as there so often is these days, a petition seeking a long-term role for the bridges to be delivered by the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust and Sutton Council, to provide public access to Beddington Farmlands.
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