May 21 2013 Latest news:
Robin Cottle, Reporter
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The Environment Agency has held an open day to discuss the future of the River Cray in Crayford.
It took the form of a discussion between officials, residents and councillors following concerns the agency has put the future of the river in jeopardy.
People in the community have claimed the section of the river at Thames Road in Crayford has been turned into a muddy creek after a sluice gate was opened in February to try and maintain the water levels.
A committee has also been set-up by councillors to discuss the river.
Crayford councillor Melvin Seymour said: “The river is very, very important to me. It’s the heart of Crayford and people love it.
“What I don’t want is for the sluice to be removed. I want the Environment Agency to live up to their responsibilities and maintain it”
The meeting took place last Thursday (May 31) at the Hall Place sports pavilion in Bourne Road, Bexley, and saw a good turnout of people concerned over the river’s future.
The agency has said it will cost £250,00 to replace the structure and £3,000 a year to maintain it.
Willie Cooper, chairman of Crayford Rivers Group, said: “If they are saying it’s an unnecessary structure, whydo they need to maintain it?
“Why take it away? Just leave it and forget about it.”
It was suggested at the meeting that local groups or private companies could raise the cash and take over the sluice.
The river runs from Orpington to Crayford before entering the River Darent and this was the second such meeting which allowed people to lend their ideas on the next step in maintaining the site.
Chris Hazleton, environment manager for the agency, said: “The open day was the first step in developing a collective ambition for the river and allowing the local community to be at the heart of shaping its future.
“The debate was exactly what the open day was about and we want to improve the river environment.”