Arggh! Another proposal to build on Burgess Park protected Metropolitan Open Land (MOL), writes Donnachadh McCarthy…
My first campaign that Southwark News covered was back in 1992. Southwark Council was proposing to remove six bits of the designated GLC boundary of the park, from its protected status as MOL. MOL is the greatest protection you can give land in London.
I set up the Burgess Park Action Group with some residents from the Aylesbury Estate and we launched a year long campaign to get the fourteen acres restored.
Burgess Park was created from thousands of homes & businesses during the 60 years since World War 2. The Abercrombie Plan had identified the area lacking in open space and proposed the creation of the park.
The Greater London Council identified the proposed lands for the park boundary and started the painful process of compulsorily purchasing homes and businesses.
Upon the demise of the GLC, Southwark reaffirmed the proposed boundary in its Mid-South Southwark Plan and continued the CPOs. In the 90’s as mentioned above they tried unsuccessfully to change the boundary.
They again tried to remove the New Church Road wildlife site and its adjacent derelict sites from the boundary in the 2000’s UDP. But BPAG fought back successfully.
They again tried to remove the New Church Road wildlife site and its adjacent derelict sites from the boundary in the 2010’s Southwark Plan. But BPAG fought back successfully.
Finally, in the 2018 new Southwark Plan they did not seek to remove them and Southwark promised in 2014 that they would refurbish the wildlife site and CPO the final two derelict sites planned for the park. In 2018 they delivered on that promise for one of them and it is now properly landscaped.
However, now in 2019 the final piece of the jigsaw, the derelict site used for car-washing and scrap-yard has a developer seeking to build an up to six storey apartment-block on this precious entrance to the park. A petition calling on the council to refuse planning permission and to fulfil their promise to landscape this eyesore is on Change.org called “No Building on Burgess Park Protected Open Space”
A Facebook Group called “No Building on Burgess Park MOL” has also been set up….
Please sign and help the campaign.
Editor Note: Responding to Donnachadh McCarthy Cllr Johnson Situ, Cabinet member for Growth, Development and Planning, said: “ I am hugely proud of Burgess Park and the councils has invested heavily in transforming it into the well loved and used open space that it is today.
“The council successfully expanded the park further, by securing the site on New Church Road by means of negotiation and at no cost to the tax payer. We have no plans to undesignate the Metropolitan Open Land at Southampton Way, and in the first instance, would always seek to assure a resolution through talks, before considering taking it further; which will save the tax-payer money. However, as we have said in the past and maintain, we will take all necessary steps needed to ensure that the land retains its status.
Donnachadh McCarthy has been an environmental campaigner in Southwark since 1992 and is author of “The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought” www.theprostitutestate.co.uk .
He is also an independent environmental consultant www.3acorns.co.uk @DonnachadhMc