A Chance To Be Bold, Innovative and Conserve Green Space Missed

In June 2017 I attended the Brockley Society one day (free) conference on Conservation and Innovation to mark 50 years of the Civic Amenities Act.

The 1967 Civic Amenities Act was set out to protect buildings of special historic and architectural interest, and to prevent the aggressive demolition that was taking place at the time.

This is poignant as in Lewisham we need to get the balance right between respecting our history, our conservation areas and green space, and yet be innovative in the building homes we desperately need and commercial business units.

I believe we can be bold, dynamic and innovative in our approach to place making and shaping, whilst conserving and being respectful to our heritage, and protecting green spaces. Especially green spaces which are of great community value, that contributes to community cohesion, and is of special or unique interest.

One such place is Tidemill Garden, located in the heart of Deptford. It was clear at the Strategic Planning meeting last night that that residents and the local community, and councillors want good quality, high number of social and affordable homes to help tackle the increasing housing crisis. The divide was on at what expense. I believe that could have been a prime example of getting the balance right between building the very much needed social homes and maintaining a majority of the well established, mature green spaces. The two are not mutually exclusive. It just needed the developers to go back to the drawing board once given the direction to preserve the garden. We often talk of being bold, of being innovative and leading the way to show how things could be done. I believe this was a missed opportunity to have a flagship development with a high percentage of social and affordable housing, while respecting a cherished green space. I hope we don’t miss any more.

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