A WELL-LOVED railway will get a new cafe, ticket office and name for spring next year, if plans are approved for refurbishment at the Lido.
Plans for the build to raise funds for the voluntarily-run Ruislip Lido Railway (RLR) are due to be approved by the council’s planning officers next week.
But the plans have not pleased all of the Lido’s visitors. Members of Ruislip Lido Residents Group are concerned about the impact the build will have on the four protected species known to live there, including the great crested newt.
Carolyn Towner, chairman of Ruislip Lido Residents’ Group, said: “In order to build on newt habitat, the planning application should prove that there should be no satisfactory alternative to the proposal and that there is an imperative reason of over-riding public interest.
“I can’t see that the planning report has done either. To harm or kill a protected species is a criminal offence. If they clear the bushes and move the ticket office without relocating the amphibians, which may be hibernating, they are breaking the law.”
The Lido Residents’ Group has consulted herpetologist Tom Langton and Will Atkins, chair of trustees at London Essex and Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Trust (Lehart) with their concerns for the safety of the wildlife at Ruislip Lido.
Mr Atkins said: “We at Lehart are disappointed with the negative approach taken by the council to their moral obligations regarding the rare and precious animal species, which are present on and around the planned development sites.”
The cafe and ticket office build at the Lido, in Reservoir Road, Ruislip, are part of wider enhancement work, including a new cafe, woodland centre and toilets on the beach side of the lido, and a 150-space overflow car park.
Council leader Ray Puddifoot says the necessary research has been done by ecologists looking into the protection of the wildlife present at the Lido.
“It has taken about two years and we have gone through all the neccesary tests. We made a pledge to people who voted us in that we would do everything possible to improve Ruislip Lido. Now we have a responsibility to see that through.
“We will put the people first. If anyone wants to take their concerns up with the planning committee they can do so.”
The RLR cafe would sit on the Willow Lawn side of the Lido, near to the Water’s Edge Pub, with access from the new car park.
Chairman of the Lido Railway, Graham Westley, said that not only will the RLR station be getting a new cafe, it will also be getting a new name.
“The station is called Ruislip Lido Station, and of course the whole area is Ruislip Lido, so we will change the name to Willow Lawn station, and hope the work is finished by the spring.
“It’s another way of fundraising to keep our railway going so it’s important to us that we have the shop and cafe. We are a voluntary organisation, so to keep it going is very expensive.
“We will do anything that we can to improve our railway so we can keep it running for as long as possible,” Mr Westley said.