The developers had planned to use this lane - one of the few remaining that still has an air of a country lane - as the route for lorries over 22 tonnes. We may not know what they look like but it is sure that they would have destroyed the tranquility as well as the aesthetics of such a crucial route for those of us who use the pond. There was clearly no consideration given to the fact that this a lane used almost exclusively by pedestrians, cyclists, and dog walkers as well as swimmers. The solution the developers had offered to ensure safety was that a banksman driving a golf buggy would trail along in front of the lorries – ensuring they would not exceed 10 mph. (An earlier suggestion to have a bankman walking – at 3mph – in front of each lorryhad been superseded). But there was no recognition that mixing construction vehicles with people walking along the lane is lethal.
Of equal concern to us was the question of the impact on the hydrology. Camden had not seen this as an issue when they granted planning permission. The plans entailed the digging out of two cellar depths of the whole building, which was the reason for the frequency of the proposed lorry movement. They had suggested implanting a concrete dam against any water movement from the excavation but there had been no study done to assess the impact on the ground water movement of the whole area. They could offer to wash the wheels of the lorries as they exited the site but took no account that this would mean that runoff could probably find its way into the pond. They were eager to say they would be constantly washing down Millfield Lane to ensure that dust was being suppressed . However again there was no recognition that this water would be draining off to either the Ladies Pond or to the Bird Sanctuary Pond.
Fortunately the inspector has ruled that Millfield Lane is not an appropriate route for this type of vehicle. However it does mean that there could be submission of an alternative proposal. We have to therefore remain vigilant. We are urging all Camden residents to contact their councillors and seek their support in revoking the original planning permission.