Hither Green - wither not!

The Land Is Ours office at tlio.demon.co.uk
Thu Mar 8 01:05:05 GMT 2001

The story of amazing local happenings in Lewisham, S.London!

At the site of a former hospital in Hither Green, Lewisham - where in what 
was possibly a landmark case in 1998, planning permission for a supermarket 
development by Tesco was refused - the latest planning application being 
taken forward by 'Bellway Homes' for a housing development has 
spectacularly been withdrawn at the last moment before the plans were just 
about to go before Lewisham Council's planning committee (last week), upon 
receipt of letters of objection to the proposed development from the GLA, 
the Mayor's environment advisor Darren Johnson (of the Green Party) and CABE.

Hither Green Community Trust, set up during the campaign against the 
previous proposed plan by Tesco's, have all along been trying to raise a 
profile for an alternative community-led approach for the development of 
this derelict site, centered around the preservation and re-use of the 
existing hospital building.  The building itself, highly-valued 
architecturally, was originally built in 1897 by Edwin Thomas Hall (famous 
for designing Libertys in C.London).  Originallly the hospital was hugely 
important in the 2 World Wars.  The building was recommended for National 
Heritage status in the 1980's.  The fact this was rejected, since being an 
expression of triumph to the assiduousness of the working class is not 
something always easily recognised, this was no surprise.  However, as if 
to lay claim to the significance of the long-running battle of will to 
preserve the building, a motto written by Hall enscribed on the building's 
brickwork emphasises the spirit of what local people say this site should 
be used for, which reads: "dedicated by the people, for the people".

The Community Trust has spawned a local action network for cross-community 
awareness.  The trust collaborated with alternative developers "Sapcos", 
who put forward a plan of how to re-develop the site and the existing 
building structures.  campaigners point to the fact that the site, in an 
area of land classified in the local plan as Mixed Housing and having 
employment use, is therefore ideal for community-led regeneration.  A local 
architect has even prepared his own 'alternative use' plans for the site, 
based around local community-use and sustainability 
(ref:  http://www.wylie-associates.com/gallery/park_place ).

Having witnessed Belway Homes sudden withdrawal, events took a further 
twist last Monday when Bulldozers suddenly appeared inside the gated 
site.  Soon, news spread and up to 40 people were found blockading the 
entrance to the site to stop further vehicle access!  A local on-side 
councillor soon got on the case, finding out that the work being carried 
out was confined to taking out trees on the site, and after speaking to 
lawyers, applied to court for an injunction to stop further work.  A 7-day 
injunction was put in place.  However, events now hinge on a planning 
committee meeting next tuesday, where the council is expected to outline 
what it will do with the site in light of recent goings-on.  Local 
campaigners are hoping that the council will now put a preservation order 
on the site.

To find out more, e-mail: hgc_trust at yahoo.com
Web-address again:  http://www.wylie-associates.com/gallery/park_place
A local Tel. Contact No:  020 8244 3778

The Land Is Ours
... A Landrights Movement for All

The Land Is Ours campaigns peacefully for access to the land, its resources 
and the decision making processes affecting them, for everyone - 
irrespecitive of race, age, or gender.

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