At a busy event on Saturday 27th September at Dog Kennel Hill Wood Southwark Parks Dept officers shared the councils new plans, using display boards and a large scale colour print out.
The Friends committee members have been discussing the proposals and are pleased that the plan is to maintain a largely green space. However there is considerable concern at the proposal to include gym equipment and a playground. The feeling is that these are not suited to the natural environment of Green Dale and are not in line with the objective of protecting, preserving and enhancing the natural environment.
Green Dale is a natural space which has never been built on, in the history of London. The plans appear to see the area as in large part a municipal park, rather than the natural space that it is and can remain, suited as a quiet habitat for hedgehogs, bats and birds etc.
There are many playgrounds in the near vicinity, including the adventure playground on Dog Kennel Hill, just a few minutes walk nearby. Children and young people, just like adults, come to Green Dale because it is a wild space, different to anything else around, and that this is enough. A great example of this is the recent bat walk, which attracted family groups, with children taking a great part, using bat detectors and learning to recognise the noise they make when a pipistrelle flies by.
Green Dale needs to be a space for wildlife, where people are able to co-exist rather than dominate the space, which the combination of playground, gym equipment, zip-wire, picnic area is likely to do.
The FOG committee favour a plan which allows for the quiet enjoyment of the space, with lots of opportunities for engaging in the natural environment, such as areas for people to be in, conservation of the green space, exploration of possible water courses, Bat Walks, Bird Walks, Nature walks and other opportunities to learn about nature.
Recently the Committee was pleased to welcome as new members individuals from the immediate neighbours at Mother Goose Nursery, St Olaves playing fields and Dog Kennel Hill Wood, and we look forward to working with them to ensure a continuity of approach in terms of avoiding pesticides, engaging with nature and developing a green corridor. The joint Friends groups Bat Walk attracted well over thirty people, and we are excited about the prospect of future partnership events.
So, whether or not readers share the Friends committee view on this, you are urged to go online and fill out the Southwark consultation form, which is online until Sunday 12th October.
We understand that Southwark plans to submit their proposals to a planning committee in December, notwithstanding the Hadley Property Group application to renew the lease for the site.
The plans are now online at:
The easiest way to see what the new proposal looks like is on this link (pdf document)
Jonathan Coe, Chair of Friends Of Green Dale