Green roof at Tooting Bec Lido

I’ve got a thing about green roofs:

Climate change is the number one issue in the world today and it is going to take all of us working together to fix it. Some things will require an investment of money upfront, but this will save money in the long run, as the cost of dealing with climate fallout will be astronomical.

Tooting Bec Lido is having its pump room redeveloped. One of the conditions of the planning permission granted for the redevelopment was that the new pump room must have a green roof, in accordance with the GRO Green Roof Code 2014. Considering the pump room, and the rest of the lido, is situated within the boundaries of Tooting Common, it is particularly appropriate that this building should have a green roof.

It was therefore disappointing to find out that the council has applied to remove the green roof condition from the planning permission. You can see the application here:

The reason given is:

The extensive biodiverse roof in accordance with the GRO Green Roof Code 2014 would be expensive to build and be maintained – it would be more appropriate to match the roof typology of the adjacent North Room. Furthermore, its thickness could compromise the space for the mechanical equipment to be accommodated in the South Room.

I take issue with the reasoning:

  1. Expensive to build and maintain – as above, tackling climate change requires money upfront to save much more money in the long run.
  2. More appropriate to match the North Room – the North Room has a felt roof, and I cannot see how a felt roof is more appropriate than a green roof for a building situated in a natural area like Tooting Common.
  3. Thickness “could” compromise space – this sounds like conjecture, which is not helpful. If the calculations have been done and as it stands the equipment won’t fit then say so. If the calculations haven’t been done then don’t speculate. A green roof can be as thin as 10cm, will that really reduce the ceiling height to the point where the equipment will not fit? In any event, the south room is having a large area excavated to house the pump, so could this not be excavated just a little deeper to create the necessary depth?

We will be making comments on the application in the above terms.

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