Technorati href="http://www.technorProfile Thinking Nurse: Deptford Park - Green Space Under Threat From Housing Developers

Thinking Nurse

This blog will reflect my interests in learning disabilities, nursing, nursing theory, philosophy and politics and my general interests in the arts and literature. (Nursing is an art as well as a science!) Philosophy and nursing have been intrinsically linked since the days of Socrates, his mother was a midwife, and taught him everything he knew!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Deptford Park - Green Space Under Threat From Housing Developers

I received this email from a friend of mine in London. Looks like politicians are planning to ride roughshod over the wishes of local people, and destroy a rare green space in a part of London where green spaces are desperately needed.

"Save Deptford Park
Put our park space before business interests.
London and Quadrant Housing Association are trying to ignore the protests of people in Deptford who are angry at the arrogance and contempt this organisation and the Labour controlled, Lewisham Council has shown to local people who want to save their park. This housing association is planning a 38 plot development on a large chunk of the only green space in south London between Southwark and Greenwich parks. Even though government and council regulations ban such developments.

Campaigner Vicki Mence sums up the feelings of local people. ‘I grew up here. I’ve seen the council let the park get run down so they can justify building on it. The park’s been here over 100 years. We understand the need for affordable housing, but this is about London and Quadrant making money because it’s easier and cheaper to build on the park. There are plenty of obvious brown sites (previously used areas) which the council have ignored.’

As Socialist Party Councillor Ian Page said ‘London and Quadrant would do well to remember that it is there to provide a service to the community, not increase it’s income through opportunistic development.’

But local people are taking on this organisation that acts like a quango, organising, petitions, t shirts, banners, press releases and protests. There are regular meetings of 40-50 people and now the campaigning activity has been linked to a possible legal challenge to consultation process. Only 70 people were consulted and were given mis-leading information about the location of the development. London and Quadrant are so dismissive of local feelings that they have even refused to meet a delegation of local councillors headed by our two Socialist Party councillors. Labour’s attitude is summed up by their Councillor Heidi Alexander, who says she’s against building on green spaces but not in this case because it’s easier than a brown field site.

This situation is a result of Labour turning to business orientated organisations instead of providing good quality council housing. Local needs get pushed aside and consultation is just a token exercise as business interests take priority. We need to provide council housing but with proper consultation and fully using all available brown field sites.

Contact Save Deptford Park Campaign at website

A private road will be built directly across this area - other beautiful spaces will be blighted by blocks of flats and a car park. Get to the website, get onto the council and the developer, and tell them to listen to the people!

Local kids add their voices to the 'consultation'...


At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Andrew Brown said...

Not that you're likely to believe me but it's not a "large" chunk of the park, nor is it the "only green space in south London between Southwalk and Greenwich parks" and actually Lewisham has a very good reputation for managing green space.

For example we have 3 green flags for municipal parks in the borough and were one of only 6 authorities that actually opened a new park last year, and were a finalist in Britain in Bloom.

While we're obviously an inner city borough we don't do too badly for green space as the map on this link should indicate:

At 11:02 PM, Anonymous dirtfox said...

Deptford Park is certainly the only significant open green space between Greenwich Park and Southwark Park.

According to GLA Economics "Valuing Greenness" report, June 2003, Lewisham is 14.9% green, compared to Hackney at 17.7% Southwark at 19.35% and Greenwich at 26.63% It is important to consider that Blackheath makes up a large proportion of Lewisham’s Green open space and skews these figures further.

Conversely areas such as Deptford already have a proportionately low amount of open green space, so even if it is “only a small amount”, say 7% of Deptford Park being sold off, it sets a dangerous president. Does anyone remember what has happened to Macmillan Park in Deptford - It has totally disappeared after several "small bits" were sold off.

Several other parks in the Deptford area have already been sold off and built on already – this is why it is important to those who live in Deptford in particular.

We should not sell off public park land in Deptford simply because it is “a less complicated option” as Deptford Councillor Heidi Alexander has stated. Especially when Brownfield field sites exist – like the Grinstead Road site opposite Deptford Park; which recently had an application for housing strangely turned down.

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Thinking Nurse said...

I was rather honoured to receive a comment from Andrew Brown, as he is a councillor for Lewisham, and a blogger himself, his blog being available at .

His blog makes interesting reading, in it, he presents himself as a big defender of the environment, campaigning for recycling, advocating that new buildings should have grass on their roofs, and defending open green spaces like Blackheath.

This makes his enthusiasm to defend the development in Deptford Park quite puzzling - he says it is not a "large" chunk of the park, but a 38 unit development sounds pretty large to me - not to mention the roads that will need to be built to provide access.

Perhaps Councillor Brown thinks some areas of Lewisham are 'greener' than others, and therefore more worthy of protection?

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Andrew Brown said...

Back again. Thanks for dropping by at my blog and for the email.

I'm just looking at how much open space there is in the three wards that include the area we're discussing here and it comes to 63.7 hectares (according to the copy of the draft Open Spaces Strategy the council is working on). This compares with 68.8 hectares in another three ward area, 47.01 in the third, 153.57 and 113.93 in the final two groupings of wards.

As you'll guess the last two include Beckenham Place Park and Blackheath which is why they're so much bigger than the others.

I'm willing to concede to Dirtfox that Deptford Park is the biggest park in the area (7 hectares) but let's let your readers decide what significant means; Bridgehouse Meadows (2.77 hectares), Folkstone Gardens (2.25 and where I opened a small skate park last year), Fordham Park (3.78), New Cross Gate Cutting Nature Reserve (2.85), Peyps Park (3.07), Telegraph Hill Park (4.13 and in the process of having a million quid spent on it).

The thing that struck me about the decision about this site was it offered us the chance to invest in the park - we'll be able to introduce a park keeper and improve the sports facilities - and to build social housing on an area that had been used for housing right up until the Luftwaffe decided to drop a bomb on it.

Other people might have made other decisions but I feel that on balance the decision is reasonable.

Oh, and as far as I've been told there won't be any private access road in the park, let alone more than one.

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous dirtfox said...

Telegraph Hill Park was saved from being sold off by the council and Telegraph Hill residents association have done some tremendous work as a society in restoring the park on the hill and won (through their own hard work) funding from the heritage fund...In fact last year the Chair of the Telegraph Hill Society, Malcolm Bacchus, said at a general meeting 'Woe betide any of the main parties that claim credit for the societies work!'

Interestingly, Telegraph Hill (is not “represented” by a Labour councilor currently).

According to Lewisham council minutes Deptford Park sports facilities were secured prior and separately to any plans to build on the park-
“In February 2002 the Football Foundation awarded Lewisham Council £170,000 towards a football pavilion for Deptford Park, matched by £59,500 of funding from Glendale Parks Contractor. Planning permission was subsequently granted to build the pavilion. Later in 2002, discussions around the development of a social housing scheme on the site began.”

I’m afraid you have been mislead again as the development is right in the park, with a private road being built right next to the play area. Twenty mature trees are listed on a felling list which was commission for Deptford Park a few years ago. Some of these 100 year old trees will be replaced with “under one meter high saplings” let us pray they are not vandalised like on the other London & Quadrant development built over the road from the park, where the old peoples home was sold off.

The land where the footprint of the four storey block lies has been designated parkland since World War II / longer than it has ever been built upon.

London & Quadrant / Lewisham continues referring to previous use of Deptford Park as a justification for building on it. This is in direct contravention with Planning Policy Guidance 17 (PPG 17) which stipulates that "parks, recreation grounds, playing fields and allotments must not be regarded as 'previously developed land'.

The large majority of park land in question, has been part of the Deptford Park for over 100 years. Plans in Lewisham library and planning office confirm this.

Please see here:

Many people are against the development:

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