Bexley Council has now made public the list of 27 pieces of land it is contemplating selling off (appended below), 10 of which are classed as ‘Open spaces’ and 17 ‘Highways land’.
We have yet to see the ‘voting’ figures from the Council’s consultation, but in a News Shopper poll there was an overwhelming majority for less maintenance instead of sell-offs
The campaigners involved so far are discussing what should be done next, but the position at present is as follows:
– The Council made the consultation about selling off open spaces one of ‘principle’, and refused to publish the list before the vote. It was necessary to respond in that context and oppose the proposal. In addition any site could have been on that list and therefore under real and immediate threat. We did not claim that any particular site was on it. Any concerns about misinformation in that regard should be directed at the Council’s handling of the ‘debate’.
– Whilst the sites proposed for sale are not the most important for wildlife in the Borough, never-the-less any loss of green space will reduce the abundance of plants and animals at a time when even ‘common’ species are in decline. We will need to look at the smaller spaces in more detail once we have looked at precise maps of the areas concerned. There appear to be some – including areas classed as highways land – onto which buildings could be squeezed, but only with the loss of existing trees and a further diminution of the ‘green and pleasant’ nature of the Borough.
– The proposed sale of Old Farm Park, Sidcup (Eastern half) would represent the largest single offloading of land. It is probably the site that the Council said they could get half the total monies from. A key point is that in the 2013 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation review (which the Council has been sat on for a year now, and has still not ratified), the London Wildlife Trust recommended that the whole of the southern margin along the railway line should now be included in the Sidcup rail linesides Borough Grade 2 SINC because of the tree and shrub belt planted there – presumably by Bexley Council or with its approval.
– The Friends of the Shuttle group is looking at the Berwick Crescent sites and the implications for the river, which is proposed for promotion to Grade 1 SINC level in the stalled review.
– We recognise that other sites may have an important local aesthetic or recreational value. The small Old Manor Way park, for example, with its fairly new play equipment, is well used.
– The background agenda from Boris Johnson at the GLA of ‘densification’ and Bexley Council’s five-fold hiking of its house-building target, coupled with the Government’s basic position that progress = more concrete, the likely continued reduction in central government grant and cap on Council Tax, means this could still be the thin end of the wedge.
– This therefore needs to be treated as a wake-up call, and it is important to build the number of sites covered by Friends groups, and the strength and activity of existing ones.
The proposed sell-off list. Bexley Council says that there will be further consultations over each site it may decide to sell. If a planning application followed, that would also be open to public objections.
1 Berwick Crescent (triangular site to east), Sidcup (Open Space)
2 Bexley Road, Erith ( Open Space)
3 Millfield Open Space, Crayford (Open Space)
4 Wilde Road East, Northumberland Heath (Open Space)
5 Wilde Road West, Northumberland Heath (Open Space)
6 Hook Lane Open Space, Welling (Open Space)
7 Land adjacent to 115 Frinsted Road, Erith (Highway)
8 Gable Close and Maiden Lane, Crayford (Highway)
9 Land adjacent to 44 Maximfeldt Road, Erith (Highway)
10 Land adjacent to 1 Holly Hill Road, Erith (Highway)
11 Land adjacent to 1 Slade Garden, Slade Green (Highway)
12 Land adjacent to 14 Stuart Rd Welling (Highway)
13 Junction of Napier Road and Wellington Road, Erith (Highway)
14 Land fronting 11 & 12 Court Avenue, Belvedere (Highway)
15 Land fronting 65-69 Blackfen Road, Sidcup (Highway)
16 Land adjacent to 246 Bedonwell Road, Belvedere (Highway)
17 Land adjacent to 95 The Grove, Bexley (Highway)
18 Land at St James and North Cray Road, Sidcup (Highway)
19 Land at Gayton Road adjacent to 28 Wilton Road, Abbey Wood (Highway)
20 Land adjacent to 154 Upper Abbey Road (Highway)
21 Berwick Crescent (two corner plots to south west), Sidcup (Open Space)
22 Old Farm Park, Sidcup (Eastern half) (Open Space)
23 Old Manor Way Playground, Barnehurst (Bexleyheath) (Open Space)
24 West Street Small Park, Erith (Open Space)
25 Erith Station/Stonewood Road, Erith (Highway)
26 Land at junction of Fraser Road and Alford Road, Erith (Highway)
27 Land adjacent to 1 Pearswood Road, Northend, Erith (Highway)