Vincent Square
Vincent Square

Westminster School is planning to dig up Vincent Square and install a new irrigation system to improve the drainage of the four football and two cricket pitches. Hundreds of lorries will be needed to remove the massive amounts of topsoil and vegetation which will need to be removed and to bring in new topsoil, sand and new irrigation machinery. The lorries will use Vincent Square, Rochester Row, Elverton Street and Horseferry Road, according to the school’s planning application submitted to Westminster Council.

The school says the work needs to be done because;

“During periods of heavy rainfall, the pitches become unplayable and take several days to drain sufficiently. The existing drainage is also proving to be ineffective during summer months in terms of both coverage and water storage capacity. As a result, drainage improvement works are proposed so that the pitches can be utilised year-round to the benefit of the pupils. It is also proposed to provide new irrigation equipment.”

The school says that to do the work will require “the removal of surface vegetation and the near-surface topsoil” which “will equate to approximately 650m3 of combined grass and topsoil being removed from the 2.7-hectare working area.”

The school says: “The removal of topsoil will equate to approximately 120 vehicle movements.”

Further vehicle movements will be required as “following the installation of the pipe/soakaway drainage and the irrigation systems, sand will be placed over the works area, ranging to a depth of 40mm” and “following the installation of the slit drains a further 10mm sand dressing will be added to the pitches”. Following new grass establishment “this will be followed by the installation of sand banding”. Overall, this could involve another 120 vehicle movements (or more).

To cope with the extra traffic, Westminster School says:

“It is proposed that vehicles enter the Westminster via Lambeth bridge travelling Westbound along Horseferry Road, exiting southbound onto Rochester Road at the Grey Coat Hospital Roundabout. Vehicles will then turn right of Rochester Road approaching Vincent Square travelling eastbound along the northern side of the Square. Vehicles will then drive into the Pavilion main entrance turning right off the Square. Vehicles will turn within the Square and exit via Elverton Street until they re-join Horseferry Road. From there, the vehicles can exit travelling westbound on Rochester Row exiting the borough via Lambeth bridge.”

Residents have raised concerns about the impact of the extra lorry traffic on the Vincent Square Conservation Area within which the site is located. Residents have also raised concerns about:

  • the lack of consultation and the short notice period to residents to comment
  • the lack of information on the rationale for the whole exercise and its effects
  • the much-increased discharge of water and the water table
  • effects on surrounding root systems of trees
  • effects on nearby buildings in Vincent Square
  • emissions from the idling lorries waiting to pick up and drop off materials
  • the global warming future change considerations
  • the lack of an insurance risk assessment

You can make comments online at using reference 21/03450/FUL

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