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Letters of the week (07/04/2016)

“All we want to do is conserve Green Dale”

I’m surprised by recent letters which stated that the Friends of Green Dale campaign regarding Green Dale is negative.

In fact our positive mission is to protect, conserve and enhance the natural environment of Green Dale for the benefit of wildlife and people. Our members have transformed the space in recent years and we are delighted that so many people are now visiting and appreciating this special natural place.

We want to achieve a secure and sustainable future for Green Dale, where our vision of a natural open space to benefit wildlife and people is fully achieved. We also want to see a secure and sustainable future for Dulwich Hamlet Football Club. We oppose the plans to build a new football stadium which would extend onto and enclose part of Green Dale.

The proposal includes significant encroachment beyond the area of the current astroturf pitch. Green Dale is Metropolitan Open Land (‘MOL’), which has the same status as Green Belt and is protected from building and enclosure.The proposal would enclose a large section with a high wall or fence that blocks the openness of Green Dale and closes it to the public.

It would also see the loss of the current astroturf, which is a place for people to exercise and play.

In recognition of the ecological value of Green Dale as a natural open space, Green Dale is set to be designated by Southwark Council as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – the development risks causing damage to the diverse ecology of the area.The proposals include plans developed by Southwark Council for the rest of Green Dale. These plans would sanitise a natural open space, which local people value for its sense of openness and wildness. People describe watching birds, seeing hedgehogs and having their children explore a place in which they can have more freedom and adventure than a conventional park.

We want to see Green Dale managed as a natural open space, without constructed areas such as play equipment and ornamental gardens. We want the diverse habitats to be maintained and a light-touch approach taken to ensure that biodiversity is preserved and enhanced.

We have been happy to work with Hadley to clean up the site – to the benefit of local people who use Green Dale every day – yes, including dog walkers, but also local nursery groups, schools, older people and kids who just want a kickaround. Assertions that the space is misused are not accurate.

We have been happy to meet informally with Dulwich Hamlet Supporters Trust to share our views and we are happy to meet with the football club’s committee in order to clear up any misunderstandings and to discuss the way forward.

Guy Haslam, Frends of Green Dale –

“Mayoral candidates lead on investments”

We are glad that the commitment to shift GLA investments out of fossil fuels has now been made by three mayoral candidates.

This is the right thing to do, as every penny of our tax that ends up in fossil fuels helps exacerbate global warming and air pollution. It also makes good business sense to divest, as fossil fuels have performed poorly in recent years, and are at risk of becoming even less financially viable as the Paris climate change agreement is implemented.

We hope that Southwark Council will also do all it can to making pensions in our borough work for the sustenance of our environment.

Canon Giles Goddard, St John’s Waterloo ; Neil Coyle MP; Colin Boyle, Chair, Southwark Green Party; Sally Causer, Director, Southwark Law Centre (Pension fund contributor); Joaninho Cinquecento Yara, Southwark Greenpeace

“Bishop Climate made my glass runneth dry”

There I was on Good Friday, in The Ancient Foresters, sitting quietly reading my Southwark News and laughing to myself about the noisy church that has been fined for upsetting the neighbours, when, around 7.30pm, something very strange happened: I had an empty glass!  My beer had not runneth over as such, but run out!

Today I read that this was all due to Bishop (!) Climate calling on the wrath of God to do ill to all those who ‘made any negative statements about The Kingdom Church!  Divine intervention indeed.

Luckily I was in a pub and could replenish my glass, but I feel sorry for all those people who no doubt felt the full weight of God’s ‘divine justice’ because they enjoy their peace and quiet!

On a serious note, isn’t Christianity about forgiveness and loving, not summoning up some Old Testament disasters because you don’t like the letter of the law?  Is there a good God, bad God thing going on here?

The ‘Bishop’ has a website that ‘proves’ he makes angels appear at his services, so I’m guessing he can easily rustle up the £7740 fine money with such powers.

Amen to that.

Gary Greenaway, Bermondsey

‘Jamaica Road needs to be sorted now!’

Once more I find myself writing to your paper to ask one very simple question, “when will somebody in Jamaica Road be killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time”?

I ask this as once more another vehicle has come off the bend at the top of Jamaica Road, ploughed across the pavement, crashing through the park railings and into the park, and  just a few yards away from the Southwark Park Bus Stop.

I’ve now lost count of the number of times this has happened over the years, and always at the same spot. Southwark must be spending a fortune on replacing the mangled parks railings! I have raised this question at Community Councils on a number of times, but nothing ever seems to be done about it.

Will it take the death of somebody walking by or waiting at the bus stop before the GLA gets off its backside and does something about their dangerous stretch of road?

The kerbside railings that used to offer a barrier have been removed, leaving the passing pedestrian no protection from the traffic. There is obviously a problem here and it needs addressing and addressing now!!

Please, can our local elected representatives put some pressure on City Hall to do something to elevate this real danger to the local community, and before someone is unnecessarily killed because of the GLA’s sheer disregard for the safety of Londoners.

Gary Magold, Bermondsey


‘No infrastructure to support development’

Over the past few weeks a number of articles and letters have focused on the future development at Canada Water and the impact on the wider Rotherhithe area.

Much of the focus has been on the estimated 4000 homes and 20,000 jobs in the development.

However this does not include the 1,000 properties under construction, by Sellars, on the Decathlon and nearby site and the 700+ units on the former Mulberry Business Centre site along with the 300+ properties at Quebec Quarter and the London Squares development of 100 properties in Quebec Way. Not forgetting the developments at Redwood Park and Anchor Point and other developments in all around 6000 properties.

Yet little has been done to provide the supportive infrastructure that is needed with such an increasing population.

To date a library has been built replacing the old Albion Street library, yet to be redeveloped for much needed housing.

A replacement leisure centre is planned to replace the Seven Islands facility yet the community is being asked to forgo an area of open wooded land, Ada’s Garden dedicated by local residents to Ada Salter.

Development of Ada’s Garden would add to the hundreds of trees already felled as part of other developments,with no doubt further housing development on the existing Seven Islands site.

As for the infrastructure no additional tube services have been added and for those who regularly travel the overcrowding is plain to see. It is only possible to increase Jubilee Line services by 6 trains per hour providing around 6,000 additional journeys but this would also have to cope with the additional developments, both residential and retail at Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs.

Bus services are becoming increasingly unreliable and crowded with the traffic delays in the area which are unlikely to improve with the changes proposed in the highway network and the provision of a cycle superhighway along Jamaica Road to Greenwich, so far there has be no published impact assessment on local businesses.

With increasing development and population increases comes more pressure on local medical services as local residents who need non-urgent doctor’s appointments can testify the wait for an appointment can be 4 weeks or more.

The scale of development will put pressure on electricity, water etc and Rotherhithe’s problems with poor broadband have been highlighted yet no action has been undertaken and looks unplanned for improvement.

In places where large scale developments are planned local people who oppose the development are often accused of being Nimbies or fearful of change but that cannot be said about the local people in Rotherhithe who have recognised that development will take place but have sought physical developments that recognise the unique nature of the area and have a benefit for the community.

Benefits to the local population should include:

Truly affordable housing that the children of local people can afford to buy or rent,

A place in a local school for the children of local people

Modern super/ultrafast broadband

The ability to get a doctor’s appointment in a reasonable time

So far there is no evidence that the proposed development can achieve this and therefore Canada Water will be unable to cope with development on such a scale as proposed.

Brian Hodge, Ex-Chair Canada Water Campaign Planning Group


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