The Masterplan report for Burgess Park has been announced; there’s a low-res summary or several high-res chapters available to download as PDF:
The Burgess Park Action Group are not happy with the proposals — I’ve included their list of grievances at the end of this post. If you agree with them or want to add your own opinion, there’s an emergency stakeholders meeting this Tuesday 8th June 2010 at 6pm at the Sports Centre in Burgess Park.
The rest of this post is taken from an email sent by the BPAG.
List of previous park investments and wild-life sites to be bull-dozed by the latest LDA/Council “masterplan” (DRAFT)
- Landscaping paid for by Groundwork Southwark in front of Library – now mature to be bulldozed.
- The landscaping and re-tiling and new lighting installed by Groundwork Southwark in Wells Way underpass to be bulldozed. (This is the only safe connection crossing a road that is so busy it carried 50% of the Old Kent Road – essential for parents and very popular with cyclists.)
- The 20 year old woodland and hill between the lime kiln and library to be flattened.
- The newly installed Borough’s first LED ultra-efficient park lighting scheme installed on path between Southampton Way and Albany Road to be removed completely.
- The large and formerly very popular toddler and teenage playground on Wells Way – to be bulldozed and landscaped instead of being repaired, installed by Southwark Council about 15 years ago and which the council had no money to repair even the swings.
- About 400 meters of the popular cycle and pedestrian Canal Avenue where it passes under the old canal bridge is to be dug up and a pond put in its place, paid for by Groundwork Southwark about 8 years ago.
- Entire side of the dual line of cherry-blossom trees planted by Groundwork Southwark at same time as laying of Canal Avenue is to be bulldozed for its entire length between the canal over-bridge and Glengall Road on St Georges side of Avenue.
- The cycle track by the lime kiln is to be bulldozed – part funded by Southwark Cyclists just over two years ago.
- The woodland, wildlife site and hill at east end of Burgess Park Lake which was planted by Southwark Council rangers service about 15 years ago and now mature to be flattened.
- A second woodland, wildlife site and hill on other side of closed Calmington Road to be flattened.
- The wildflower meadow by the Canal Avenue – been colonised by range of wild-plants and flowers for over 10 years and been undergoing meadow management for over 10 years to have the Cycle/BMX track built on it.
- The mature wildlife woodland sections along St George’s Way which was planted by Groundwork Southwark about 12 years ago and now mature, is to be split up with a complex maze of paths.
- The landscaping between Lake and Old Kent Road to be bulldozed to allow lake to be seen from the Old Kent Road (disastrously this will allow traffic and pollution from Old Kent Road to be seen from the currently peaceful lake).
- The entrance at Old Kent Road installed by Southwark Council about 13 years ago to be completely bulldozed rather than revamped.
- LDA “landscape architects” have been unable to provide a number of mature and semi-mature they intend to kill and remove. Initial guestimates are well over 1,000. Nearly 50 years of planting and growth of trees is threatened in large swathes of the park.
- In the words of the architects the Canal Avenue mature wildflower meadow will be replaced by “A purpose built space for some of the largest festivals in Europe with amphitheatre style viewing for over 100 thousand people, a floating stage, and a dedicated cultural hub;
- The wildlife site beside the cricket pitch is to be bulldozed. This is well over 30 years old and is on the site of a garden that predates the park.
- An area the size of THREE football pitches is to be removed from open space and instead fenced off for polytunnels and allotments.
- The existing cafe that overlooks the beautiful multi-cultural Chumleigh garden is to be closed and moved inside the building to overlook the Aylesbury Estate and Albany Road. The outdoor tables instead of being placed in a beautiful sheltered
Arabic garden with the cafe furniture designed in line with the Arabic heritage of the garden will be on a concrete site exposed to a wind-tunnel funnelled from adjacent buildings.
- Two sets of paths are to be placed through the existing RSPB maintained special house-sparrow meadows.
- The 30 year old wildlife woodland and nesting area by the Albany Road side of the lake to be bulldozed.
- The largest and most mature section of wild woodland along Albany Road at other side of path near lake looks to be bulldozed.
- Mature shrubbery in front of St George’s Church at junction of New Church Road to be bulldozed –planted by international student workshop 14 years ago.
- The avenue of mature trees between entrance at corner of Wells Way to the Canal Avenue all look likely to be removed, along with the path installed by Groundwork Southwark about 8 year ago.
LDA architects and the current council proposals are classic 1960’s style bulldoze and start again disposable landscape school of architecture. The financial, ecological and community investment that is proposed to be destroyed will be painful to the thousands of local people who have watched our park gradually and organically grow from the collection of bombsites and scrap yards that plagued it 20 years ago.
It need not be like this. The existing park is a loved, living and breathing entity in its own right already, with some already beautiful corners already thriving. With careful nurturing and investment, this community led organic growth and investment can continue, so that it continues to provide a green haven and lung for the tens of thousands of people who live within walking distance of the park and the hundreds of thousands of people who play sport, walk or simply picnic in it every year.
An alternative vision to the LDA nightmare would be a national quality Eco-Park designed for the 21st century and based on eco-friendly principles of working and developing the best of what we have already and creating a dream of a zero waste, zero-carbon, green ecological oasis, where people can escape, relax and play, to recharge from the densely built surrounding city – a Hampstead Heath that South Londoners can be proud of.
Burgess Park needs to demonstrate the best of environmental sustainability principles, so that it can act as a beacon of hope in the midst of the threatening environmental crises our children are facing as they grow up. Telling them that the way to treat their own homes and gardens is to bulldoze them every ten to twenty years fails this crucial test of sustainability – the first test of which should always be – is it necessary? LDA’s ecologically disastrous proposals fail this test and are a major crime in wasted carbon terms to boot. Lets show our children instead that there is a different way – one based on community ecology and respect for their future and respect for the wildlife and investments that previous generations have nourished and created.