Plans to build a water activity centre for the Molesey sea scouts along the Thames have been temporarily shelved due to environmental concerns.
The 1st Molesey (JAGUAR) Sea Scouts had hoped to build their new base along the river in Hurst Park in West Molesey, but faced opposition from conservation group the Friends of Hurst Park, who despite supporting the a new base for the club, argued that the location would cause “profound and irreversible impacts” on the meadows.
It was planned to be named after PC Andrew Duncan, a 47-year-old father of two who lived in East Molesey, who was killed in Sutton by a hit-and-run driver in 2013.
It was also earmarked to be a new training centre and station for Surrey Search and Rescue.
But the group announced that they were withdrawing the plans on Tuesday, January 31 to “evaluate the comments and questions raised by the Environment Agency”, despite receiving 607 letters of support compared to 388 objections.
A group spokesman said: “Whilst we are doing this, we will also look at additional comments from consultees.
“The executive committee, leaders and skills instructors of 1st Molesey Scout Group are still committed to providing the best environment for our group to develop on the water.”
Jill Sanders, of the Friends of Hurst Park, said the group was ‘relieved’ that the plans were being rethought.
She said: “We have been working with seven other local groups over past months to protect Hurst Park and Meadows public open space, and to defend the natural flood plain.
“There is a general sense of relief that the area is no longer at risk of new major development.
“For the future, we urge all local people to take part in the Local Development Plan consultation with Elmbridge Borough Council, and Surrey County Council’s new flood risk management plan.
“This is the time for local people to have their say in forming important local policies and strategies into the future for our neighbourhood.”
The Sea Scouts have been without a riverside centre since the late 1990s when they were evicted from their previous base by Thames Water for gravel extraction, and that site is now a designated nature reserve.
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