Donnachadh McCarthy on why developers must never be able to build on Burgess Park

News Desk (16 March, 2017)

"Southwark is not only building on green open-spaces across its council estates, but is eliminating much of its protected low-rise industrial estates, such as the one adjacent to the nature reserve"

14507Environmental columnist Donnachadh McCarthy (Elizabeth Mischler)

If Southwark’s Environment & Community Destruction Department (also known as the “Regeneration” Dept.) fails to destroy our parks by building on them, they try instead to pen them in with huge new tower blocks.

In the 30 years that I have lived by Burgess Park, they have tried 50 times to build on it.

It has just one nature site not surrounded by poisonous busy roads – New Church Road Nature Site.  It is the only one in the entire north-east of the borough. Three times I have successfully been to Public Inquiries, to stop each new Borough Plan from removing its legal open-space protection. Having failed to bulldoze it, the council wants to build a massive largely private tower-block on its southern edge. This would throw the nature reserve into almost permanent shadow. The human and artificial light impacts caused would destroy its wildlife value.

But it is not only wildlife which will suffer. Studies show that people living in densely populated urban areas need access to nature and green open-spaces for mental health. Burgess Park is a narrow, elongated park. Southwark’s plans to surround it with new part-private tower-blocks for absentee Far-East Asian investors, will turn it into an oppressive claustrophobic traffic island, as well as destroying the existing communities on the Aylesbury.

Southwark is not only building on green open-spaces across its council estates, but is eliminating much of its protected low-rise industrial estates, such as the one adjacent to the nature reserve.  This means local working people will have to travel further for work, emitting more carbon emissions.

The Friends of Burgess Park said: “We believe this diminishes natural light, creates shadows and impacts on the open aspects and views afforded into and out of the park. It creates light pollution from the building into the park. The London Wildlife Trust’s report also makes this point”.

The council is now “consulting” on this latest tower-block proposal. There is a public meeting at Cambridge House on April 21st.  Details: hhtps://tinyurl/21-23Phouse. Politely email your opposition to john.kelly@southwark.gov.uk  or to Cllr Mark Williams, in charge of Environment and Community Bulldozing Department Mark.Williams@southwark.gov.uk

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