Jun 13 2011 By James Cracknell
VEHICLES at a new Ruislip Lido car park could float away if water levels were also raised, a meeting of local residents has heard.
An engineering expert from Friends of Ruislip Lido (FORL) was invited to talks between the Environment Agency (EA) and Hillingdon Council's consultants. He said flooding concerns had delayed the authority's £1.5million 'improvement programme'.
Pat Taverner told the annual FORL meeting last Thursday (June 9) that proposals for the car park and the reintroduction of boating and swimming, requiring higher water levels, had been held up over fears of the impact of a 1-in-100-year flooding event.
"What we pointed out to EA was that there was not a sufficient water control method in place," Mr Taverner explained. "EA said they were not accepting additional risk to housing downstream of the lido and the level would have to remain as it is. If it was any higher, in a 1-in-100-year storm there would be 18 inches of water in the [new] car park. The council were told to put trees in to stop cars floating away."
The council said in December that its plans for the car park on Willow Lawn were postponed to allow further public consultation. It has not been resubmitted since.
A government watchdog has now ordered publication of a scoping report on water levels, conducted by council consultants Halcrow last year, before June 23.
In other news, Vicky Brownlee, FORL chairman, said that this season's frog spawn had been huge.
"For many years the lido was reducing height at just the wrong time and we pleaded with the council to maintain it to allow the frog spawn to survive," she said. "Now we have had so much, everyone thought it was pollution."
Mrs Brownlee also said the council had agreed to an additional rain shelter and were considering 'bear-proof' bins to prevent rubbish being strewn about by the lido's wildlife. But she criticised the withdrawal of a permanent lido ranger. "If you work here day to day, you take ownership of it.
"We have said please give us permanent staff but the council said no."