Nearly three decades after first fighting to protect open land on Burgess Park, the News environmental columnist is once again lobbying to save a stretch of protected land threatened by development.
Burgess Park, created after World War Two by clearing slum housing and privately held land was bought up by the authorities, is classed as Metropolitan Open Land, one of the highest levels of protection.
This includes a site at 13 Southampton Way and New Church Road, which has a scrap-yard and car-wash.
From the park’s creation by the Greater London Authority, it was listed as within its boundaries, and is currently adjacent to a wildlife site.
Back in 1992 Donnachadh McCarthy wrote his first piece for the News about threats to this patch from possible development.
The latest comes from company Burlington Developments, which wants to build a six-storey residential tower bloc. A public consultation was held until April 19 with two drop-in events aiming to gain community feedback.
But McCarthy says the land is the ‘final piece of the New Church Road Wildlife site jigsaw’, and he has been joined in his opposition by the group Friends of Burgess Park.
Southwark Council says it is doing all it can to protect the park at limited cost to the taxpayer.
Cllr Johnson Situ, cabinet member for growth, development and planning at Southwark Council 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.”
Southwark News was unable to reach Burlington Developments before the News went to press.