By Russell Butt December 06, 2012 via Get Surrey
FLOODING on the Runnymede Pleasure Grounds and meadow indicates the location’s unsuitability for a Magna Carta visitors’ centre, say opponents to the scheme.
Following 24 hours of rainfall overnight on Monday last week (November 26), much of the borough was badly affected by flooding, and among this was the pleasure grounds – the site earmarked for an £8m visitors’ centre to herald the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.
Stalwart Egham resident Barrie Reynolds took a regular walk across the meadow the day after and documented the extent of the flooding.
Mr Reynolds, 67, has lived in Runnemede Road for 30 years and walks the meadow two to three times a week.
He remembers the calamitous effects on the site after a freak monster flood in 2003 but said the damage to the ground last week was a regular occurrence.
Speaking of the plans for the visitors’ centre, he said: “It seems totally inappropriate to me. It’s a known floodplain area and if they do put something there, what are people doing to do?
“The implication is that they are intending to draw a larger number of people to the area but it is a mile or so to the memorial and if they try to walk, they will only do that successfully two to three months of the year.
“The farmer can’t even keep his cows in the meadow all year round.
“My real worry is that the people who want to go over there in their heels and shiny shoes will be the ones who put up money for raised walkways or paving.
“We will lose the whole spirit of what the Magna Carta currently is, which is changing out of all proportion.”
The Campaign to Protect Rural England is also opposing the site as a chosen location for the centre.
A spokesman for Runnymede Borough Council said a flood risk assessment had been carried out for the site, adding that the proposed building would be built approximately 1.5 metres above ground level