Today I am working in the bitspace. I have met some interesting people and we have access to an A3 scanner. This maybe useful if we need to scan in maps for planning purposes.
The bitspace is on Greenwich high street
Lewisham Council have voted for more time to consider the community’s fears over the controversial Old Tidemill School housing scheme in Deptford.
In a packed council chamber on Thursday night (29th September 2016) and with protests being held outside, the Strategic Planning Committee unanimously voted to defer the proposed planning application, citing their fears over the loss of the popular Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, the impact of loss of sunlight on surrounding homes and the forced relocation of residents of Reginald House, earmarked for demolition.
The Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor Amanda De Ryk said “I certainly would like to feel that we had done everything we could to broker an agreement between the community and the developers. We need to absolutely look again at the proposed spaces, both public and private, with the way that they are run, managed and shared, particularly in terms of the children, that’s a point that has been well made by community”
The council-owned site was controversially earmarked for development after Tidemill School was made an Academy and moved to the nearby Deptford Lounge. The current proposals include the demolition of Reginald House and the forced relocation of its residents and the total destruction of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden to build 209 new homes, including 175 for private and 34 affordable, with the number of social housing units unclear. Clarity over the number of units was continuously questioned through the planning hearing by councilors. Community groups have highlighted that these new homes will be out of reach for local Deptford residents
Planning Committee member, Councillor Paul Bell echoed these concerns stating “For just a one bedroom flat – on a 35% shared ownership basis – you need to get a mortgage of £122,500. The problem is Deptford is always “done to” and not “done with” and I just feel this scheme is being “done to” the community of Deptford. I do not feel the council should be in the business of forcing people out of their homes.”
Nearly 9,500 people die each year in London because of air pollution (according to a study carried out by researchers at King’s College London) and Deptford is on the front line, the garden is key in our defence of poor air quality in the area. The Old Tidemill Garden is 2,400sqm and ideal for a variety of uses including outdoor education, children’s play, food growing, access to nature, health and wellbeing and building community cohesion.
The developer’s proposal is to replace this with a ‘Pocket Park’ of 500sqm on the corner of Deptford Church Street, a congested dual carriageway, identified as a blackspot for traffic pollution. This barren patch of grass is totally unsuitable for use as a community garden, as levels of air pollution regularly exceed the legal EU limit. Whilst the loss of the much-valued garden, with the felling of 73 mature trees would be crushing in a neighbourhood chronically lacking in green open space.
The Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden was originally created thanks to the foresight of parents and teachers of the Tidemill School back in the early 90’s. They capitalized on a previous wave of regeneration in Deptford, demanding funds to landscape the garden with Groundwork, creating the largest school nature garden in the borough. Enjoyed by school children over the last 30 years and reinvigorated in 2012.
For the last four years Friends of Old Tidemill Wildlife garden have run an innovative programme of free weekly intergenerational events and workshops including arts and crafts gardening and cooking, sports clubs, citizen science projects, and forest school sessions with local primary schools. With funds from Arts Council England, Vinspired, Deptford Challenge Trust, National Lottery Funding, Groundwork and NHS Choose Health Fund.
“It’s a stunningly beautiful and tranquil place in the heart of Deptford, and a fantastic opportunity to bring the local community together.” – Quote from Old Tidemill Wildlife garden volunteer
This is an opportunity for the community to feel empowered to make positive changes to get a fairer deal than currently proposed by the developer. Friends of Old Tidemill Garden alongside tenants and residents groups from the neighbouring estates, are determined to promote a positive alternative to the development. An alternative in which, the social housing is retained with thorough refurbishment and one that also see’s the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden remain an asset of value to the community, building on its successful interim use as a community garden.
“The Old Tidemill school and wildlife garden site represents – in terms of public ownership, community use and amenity (past, present and future), truly affordable homes for local people, etc. – the opportunity for Deptford to become a beacon of intelligent 21st C. urban planning for London: building healthier, happier neighbourhoods through collaboration and trust.” said Andrea Hughes, a spokesperson for Deptford Neighbourhood Action
Deptford aint avvin it!
The future of this beautiful community wildlife garden hangs in the balance by a thread.
Lewisham Council’s Strategic Planning Committee is set to decide it’s fate tomorrow night (7.30pm at the Civic Suite, Catford). To date, only one of the Committee members, the Chair, Amanda de Ryk has taken the time to come and look at the Garden and the grounds to see for herself how the plans will impact upon the garden, grounds and local residents. All sorts of wildlife can be found in this small piece of heaven in Deptford which boasts a outdoor ampitheatre, a workshop cabin, a mosaic standing stone, vegetable plots and even a festival type loo (hole in the ground which you through sawdust in afterwards!).
An infamous Indian Bean tree can be found in this large natural habitat which spans some 2,000 sq m. As a real community garden should – it appeals to young, old and in-between – “a piece of magic” in an otherwise very deprived, urban area which is surrounded on all sides by heavy traffic roads – it is South Deptford’s Green Lungs. lungs that should be given the breathing space they need to keep everyone in the local community happier and healthier.
ORGANISED OBJECTION TO PLANNING DEVELOPMENT AT OLD TIDEMILL SCHOOL:
IS TAKING PLACE THIS SATURDAY 24th September IN THE DEPTFORD LOUNGE – Meeting room 1 & 2.
THE MEETING TIME has been booked for: 4.20-6pm
Councillors will be making a site visit with the planning team and the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee taking place on Thursday 29th September is aware that there will be represenation from local groups:
7.HAGL – Housing Action Group for Lewisham People?
This call to action is to mobilise support and to co-ordinate the Community’s objections.
Help is needed for making placards for the demonstration planned outside the Committee Meeting:
If you are interested in doing just one placard please email firstname.lastname@example.org (Note the ‘e’ between my first and surname)
OUR EVENT IS ALL UNDER COVER IF IT RAINS!
Are you 13 -17years and want to get involved in your community? Do you have ideas and want to represent other young people in Lewisham?
All you have to do is to follow the link and complete the pack below and return it by 16th September (details inside)
Malcolm Ball, Advisor to the Young Mayor (Lead officer youth participation strategy) 2nd floor Civic Suite, Catford, SE6 4RU.
& Katy Brown, Advisor to the Young Mayor
Tel: 0208 314 6313 /07957198312
Peyps Community Forum, Goldsmiths College, Evelyn Parents Forum, Crossfields Residents Association, Second Wave Youth Arts, Deptford Folk, The Quay Point, Local Residents and DNA have all signed a letter to Sadiq Khan asking him to use his mandate to redress the balance between developers and ordinary Londoners.
Asking the Mayor to re-envisage Convoys Wharf in line with his Housing Plan for London for London would mean that 50% of the homes were truly affordable housing rather than the 15% agreed by Boris! Stressing the importance of giving “first dibs” to local tenants and first time buyers, Malcolm Cadman, Chair of Pepys Community Forum pointed out that the current plans are “targeted at overseas investors and are likely to end up [as] empty.” A vast majority of overseas investors leave properties empty, appliances disconnected and sit back and wait for property values to increase to realise a large profit on their investment.
The London Borough of Islington is the first council in Britain to impose rules to stop flats being left empty. The new planning guidance approved by Islington means that anyone who buys a new-build unit in a development of 20 or more dwellings must be able to prove that the apartment is lived in for at least 14 days in any three-month period. If they can’t, they could face an injunction. DNA would advocate that this is what Lewisham should do too to put off overseas investors (or any investor) leaving good homes empty when we have so many people (and especially families) on the local housing register urgently needing homes.