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The East Dulwich Forum
The Bishop, The EDT, The Great Exhibition, the Actress or another?
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messageGreen Dale
Posted by jonco 05 October, 2014 17:14

Hello EDF,

Southwark are currently consulting on some revised plans for Green Dale (the wild area behind Sainsburys on Dog Kennel Hill).

The Friends of Green Dale committee 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.

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:

www.southwark.gov.uk/greendalefields

The easiest way to see what the new proposal looks like is on this link (pdf document) -[www.southwark.gov.uk]


Jonathan Coe, Chair of Friends Of Green Dale

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by taper 05 October, 2014 22:03

The real concern is that the plans wilfully ignore the potential for a sustainable future for Dulwich Hamlet FC on the site. Not the bit where the hedgehogs roam, but on the crappy all weather pitch. And yet there's no mention of the big issue in the consultation. Do the Friends of Greendale have a view on the future of Dulwich Hamlet? Or is it a secondary concern for you.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by sdrs 06 October, 2014 00:42

A new public park for Dulwich which will protect Green Dale (Metropolitan Open Land) as a precious and peaceful green space in the face of encroaching private development, enhance and facilitate local people's experience of it and improve their access to it, whilst protecting and encouraging wildlife so that our urban children still have some contact with nature, is an exciting prospect for the area which deserves to be widely supported. The Council is proposing to invest close to £1 million to finally turn Green Dale into a community asset, after years of neglect, for the benefit of all local people. Full marks to Southwark for launching this major green initiative and to Friends of Green Dale for raising awareness of it and of the current online consultation.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by James Barber 06 October, 2014 09:12

Such a scheme is long overdue.
We looked at doing something with this open space in 2005 and the ward councillors were dead set against it - sports facilities for local primary schools that don't have enoguh outdoor space.
But a new public park would still be a great idea. Even better if linked to St.Francis Park.

Dulwich Hamlet do depend on letting the all weather pitch out for revenue. But equally the whole space they lease is in such a poor state that I'm personally not convinced they'll be able to upgrade it and our community shouldn't defer sorting this space out any longer.

--------------------
Regards jamesvbarber@gmail.com
former Liberal Democrat Councillor for East Dulwich Ward (2006-2018)
[www.jamesbarber.org.uk]
[twitter.com]

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by sdrs 06 October, 2014 16:30

Here's a link to the online consultation:

[www.southwark.gov.uk]

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by taper 06 October, 2014 19:31

The plan isn't to upgrade the pitch: it's to rip it out, put a 4G pitch in and place a modest sized stadium around it; all for community use too. So a real county asset alongside Greendale as a public green space, which we can all enjoy.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by keyhole 06 October, 2014 20:09

Pitches please maintained!!Community use,,,Table tennis...Basketball,,,they did say Dulwich Hospital site would provide a community sports area,,broken promises for local children,,the bats come out at night so no problem there,you can still walk down.Majority of kids would rather have structured supervised sport,or just the use of a field!Again there are plenty of parks and gardens with bats!

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by sdrs 06 October, 2014 20:21

Building a new stadium on the AstroTurf pitch is what the Hadley Property Group envisage if their lease is renewed by the Council, certainly, but this is not part of the Council's plan (as you will see if you look at Southwark's plans on the website). The stadium in the Council's plan for the new park is to remain where it is. My understanding is that the Council are of the view that allowing it to be relocated to the AstroTurf pitch (with a view to enlarging it) would detrimentally alter the character of the Green Dale fields, disturb wildlife (noise, floodlights, etc), impact on their habitats and encroach on the Metropolitan Open Land. There are legitimate concerns about the potential adverse environmental and ecological impact of allowing a larger stadium to be built right in the heart of Green Dale.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by taper 06 October, 2014 20:32

Yes I know it's not part of Southwark's plan. They have wilfully ignored the option. Not really an option for Dulwich Hamlet to stay where they are and thrive. If that's the only option, then the club is at serious risk. The notion that Greendale is a precious wildlife habitat is vastly overblown, as the council's own study shows. It could be though if developed sensibly, ideally with Hadley cash.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Sennen 07 October, 2014 12:55

I went to the second consultation and was very underwhelmed by the council's plans for the space. It seemed to me that they were just creating another large picnic area with an adventure playground (built less than 200m from another adventure playground). There was nothing in it that would appeal to anyone other than young families, dog walkers, bats, and hedgehogs. We already have plenty of open space locally for the above to enjoy. I was disappointed that there were no sport facilities included which could be used by local kids. I can only presume this was out of the fear of attracting teenagers to the area, which may scare the wildlife and mums.

I'm not an expert on the Dulwich Hamlet FC situation as I watch and coach rugby, but my understanding is that if there is no compromise on the Greendale situation that,in all probability, the club will be extinct within two years (please correct me if I am wrong). I'm a bit surprised at how ill-informed our local councillor is about this situation. So the area would lose a famous old club and yet another sports facility would be lost to property development (and there is a lot more green space than sports grounds locally, discounting the private schools obviously). As someone who is actively involved in local sport, can I ask if Southwark Council has a stance on Dulwich Hamlet FC?



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit was 2014:10:07:13:25:44 by Sennen.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by taper 07 October, 2014 14:16

You're right the club would be under serious threat. I hope this is game of brinkmanship from Southwark and not a geunuine disregard for Dulwich Hamlet's future. the club nearly collapsed last year, before Hadley stepped in. Now I'm not naive about the intentions of property developers, but it seems to me there is a negotiation here which can deliver some much needed housing locally, a secure future for the club and a much enhanced Greendale space. But Southwark need to engage seriously and stop posturing about the sanctity of Metropolitan Open Land. they seem to have quite happy over the years to let Greendale fester and overgrow, as you'll know if you've walked over there.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Sennen 07 October, 2014 15:07

You mentioned earlier that if a 4G pitch was built it would be available for community use. Has this been put in writing? It would make a lot of difference to the local state schools who currently have to go cap in hand to the independent schools to gain any access to proper sporting facilities.

Also, if this is about wildlife, why not just leave it as it is? Seems like a bit of a smokescreen.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by sdrs 08 October, 2014 12:07

Peter John, leader of the Council, has recently gone on record that the time has come for Southwark to bring Greendale back into public ownership and invest public money (£1million, just under) in improving Greendale for the benefit of the local community. It has been unmaintained and fallen into neglect since Dulwich Hamlet FC acquired the lease for it in 1993. The lease ends at the end of the year, hence Southwark is consulting, and I imagine tenants other than DHFC will be applying to lease the playing field, including local schools (perhaps the proposed new secondary school on nearby East Dulwich Grove?) who would be obvious beneficiaries. The Council is proposing to improve the sports pitch as part of their current plan (see website) and this must surely be with a view to allowing its use by local schools. An improved sports pitch would not encroach on the protected Metropolitan Open Land (as Hadley Property Group's proposed stadium would, from what I understand) but would co-exist peacefully with the wooded semi-wild park planned.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Sennen 08 October, 2014 12:37

Sdrs, thanks for that. However, once again the precarious situation Dulwich Hamlet FC is in isn't mentioned. Is this of any concern whatsoever to you? The proposed Greendale plans will virtually guarantee that their current ground will be developed into housing.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by James Barber 08 October, 2014 12:46

I very much doubt the present ground will be developed for housing. It would represent the loss of as valuble community facility and the council has numerous policies to prevent this UNLESS councillors on a planning committee are asked to vote on this and the Labour administration wanted it to proceed.

Equally allowing a new ground to be build on open space would be a repeat of how the current stadium came about. And in 20 years it would be proposed to move it again and again until we have no open green space in the area.

I would hope that the Labout administration on a promise of universal free gym and swimming. It could pay for residents to access the gym creating a revenue stream to help keep the club going. Clearly trying to provide free gym and swimming in the council existing facilities wouldnt have sufficient capacity - so if they genuinely meant to deliver their promise they'll need a great deal more capacity.

--------------------
Regards jamesvbarber@gmail.com
former Liberal Democrat Councillor for East Dulwich Ward (2006-2018)
[www.jamesbarber.org.uk]
[twitter.com]

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by BrandNewGuy 08 October, 2014 12:56

James Barber Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I very much doubt the present ground will be
> developed for housing.

That's very much what Hadley want, otherwise they wouldn't be interested in the site or 'saving' the football club. They laughably think they can move the current ground to the imprint of the current badly maintained 'all weather' pitch, thus not encroaching on the open land. This is nonsense, of course, as one glance at the plans will show.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Sennen 08 October, 2014 13:10

Hi James,
Thanks for replying. Sports grounds get developed in this way pretty frequently so I wouldn't say it is highly unlikely that this wouldn't happen to Champion Hill. I also can't really comment on what happened 20yrs ago. However,the fact is that DHFC is in the hands of property developers, who generally like to develop property on the land on which they have the freehold. Do you think that they will just shrug their shoulders and walk away if they are denied planning permission? They'll let the premises fall into such disrepair that Sainsbury and local residents will beg the council to let housing get built on it. The housing will be worth much more money after Southwark have built a nice, new front garden for residents to enjoy.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2014:10:08:13:12:04 by Sennen.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by mikeb 08 October, 2014 13:12

James - entirely agree. There is a difficult balance to be struck between developing every plot of land and retaining something distinctive about the local area. But there is plenty of land to be redeveloped locally before the ground.

Market rent for the ground if this could only be used as metropolitan open area should clearly be lower than for something that could otherwise be redeveloped for housing. If for some reason DHFC is not able to balance its books with rent on that basis then let's come back at that point. Hadley has taken a punt on buying this land in order to redevelop it. Fair play to them, though I don't have to feel sorry if the bet goes wrong. If it becomes clear that it cannot then Hadley should move on, probably selling the land for what it is worth as MOL (or selling / giving to the council or club).

That said, Greendale is not currently being best used particularly the lack of access and the knackered astroturf.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Pink Panther 09 October, 2014 09:49

James Barber Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I very much doubt the present ground will be
> developed for housing. It would represent the loss
> of as valuble community facility and the council
> has numerous policies to prevent this UNLESS
> councillors on a planning committee are asked to
> vote on this and the Labour administration wanted
> it to proceed.

The similar proposal by Cliveden Estates in conjunction with Sainsbury's Homebase was rejected by Southwark Council (against the advice of its own Planning Officer) in 2002. It was stated at that meeting that there was no objection to building a Homebase on the site of the current football ground, and the scheme was only rejected because of the proposed new ground on Greendale. The whole proposal collapsed as DHFC still had ten years remaining on their lease at that time, but Southwark Council was happy for the current ground to be developed for retail use twleve years ago so I'm sceptical that they would oppose redevelopment now.

Dulwich Hamlet FC played on the site of the proposed new ground (i.e. the current astroturf pitch) for around twenty years up to 1931, when they moved to the vast ground that partly occupied the site of the current ground. So there has already been a fully functioning football ground with a stand, ancillary buildings etc. on this site. You can still see banking from the old terracing to the north and west of the current astroturf pitch, so it is factually incorrect to say (as many people seem to be doing) that no part of Greedales has ever been built on, or that the current astroturf pitch and floodlights are the only development ever to have taken place there.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by sdrs 09 October, 2014 12:06

Yes, but that exactly illustrates James' point about how the periodic moving and enlarging of the stadium on Green Dale would, if it continued, result in the eventual loss of almost all remaining green space on Green Dale. The current leader of the Council has, reassuringly, recently gone on record as saying that MOL on Green Dale fields will not be built on. Not everyone would dismiss as posturing concerns about the future of this protected green space in the heart of East Dukwich or consider the Council's planned £1 million park as for the sole benefit of hedgehogs (not least when an improved sports pitch sits at the heart of it for the benefit of the whole community).

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Sennen 09 October, 2014 12:53

Pink Panther
Now that the clubs debts have been paid off is it in a position where it can break even commercially or does it still need money injected by Hadley?

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by BrandNewGuy 09 October, 2014 15:21

Pink Panther Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Dulwich Hamlet FC played on the site of the
> proposed new ground (i.e. the current astroturf
> pitch) for around twenty years up to 1931, when
> they moved to the vast ground that partly occupied
> the site of the current ground. So there has
> already been a fully functioning football ground
> with a stand, ancillary buildings etc. on this
> site. You can still see banking from the old
> terracing to the north and west of the current
> astroturf pitch, so it is factually incorrect to
> say (as many people seem to be doing) that no part
> of Greedales has ever been built on, or that the
> current astroturf pitch and floodlights are the
> only development ever to have taken place there.

The history is not very relevant as it's now designated Metropolitan Open Land regardless. And Hadley's plans for redeveloping DHFC's ground laughably suggest that the pitch, stand and all the ancillary buildings, approaches etc for DHFC will fit onto the space that's now occupied by the knackered astroturf pitch. I've no objection to tarting that up, but to suggest that DHFC could move to just that footprint is crazy. To build even a metre beyond the current pitch would be to encroach on MOL, which the Council have said is a no-no.

I sympathise with DHFC supportes who see Hadley as the saviour – which thus far financially they have been – but they should remember that Hadley's priority is not the long-term welfare of the football club but making tens of millions from building on the current DHFC site.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Sennen 09 October, 2014 16:06

BrandNewGuy
I don't think anyone from Dulwich Hamlet sees Hadley as the saviour, which is why they are looking to Southwark Council to help remedy the situation. Unfortunately they seem to have no interest in entering into the slightest dialogue on the issue. This notion that the club can be saved just by denying immediate planning permission is beyond naive. We all know how property development issues are normally resolved in the end. .....

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by BrandNewGuy 09 October, 2014 16:18

But Hadley's plan depends on building all over the existing ground and moving DHFC onto MOL. And we don't know what they intend to build as they haven't revealed it. How can Southwark respond otherwise at the moment? What is there to discuss?

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Sennen 09 October, 2014 16:27

If that's the case then Southwark cannot possibly respond. I thought that Hadley had a concrete proposal for the redevelopment of Greendale.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by BrandNewGuy 09 October, 2014 16:33

Here's a pdf of their 'proposals', with a big blank where the pitch/ground currently is. See particularly pages 5 and 6:

[static.squarespace.com]

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Gary P 09 October, 2014 17:03

As a local resident and voter I have to say I'm extremely disappointed in how the Council have handled this whole situation, in regard to DHFC. From attending the consultations and reading the various reports, it seems very much as if the needs of the football club are simply being ignored. In the latest plans for the area, no effort has been made to accommodate the football club, and at the last consultation I was told that the council would not even investigate the possibility of seeing whether building a new stadium in the available space was viable. I was also told by a council employee that it was highly unlikely that the council would sit down with all the relevant stakeholders (Hadley, the DHFC Supporters Trust, Friends of Green Dale) to see if a mutually agreeable solution could be found. Why is this?

I would like to remind the Council that this is not simply about a football team. Dulwich Hamlet are a community club who mean a great deal to a large (and rapidly growing) number of people. Average attendances are likely to exceed 1,000 very soon at the current rate of growth. A new stadium with a 4G pitch would create all-weather sporting facilities for all schools and clubs in the local area, as well as social facilities for the wider community. Given the right environment and support, there is real potential for DHFC to not only become self-sufficient as a business, but to rise to higher leagues (thereby attracting even bigger crowds from around London and benefiting local businesses). That is before even touching on the benefits of encouraging an interest in sport (the London 2012 Olympics seem like a long time ago now, but here is a clear chance for our local council to embrace the spirit of sport by investing in football at its purest grassroots level).

I'd add that I completely see FOG's point of view: I'm a member of the RSPCA and RSPB, have attended local bat and bird walks in the past, and totally appreciate the importance of providing wild habitats in urban areas. My concern is that no effort is being made to find a solution that would suit all stakeholders. I am also of the view that there is a wealth of green/park spaces within the local area, when you take into account St Frances Park, Dulwich Park, Goose Green, Peckham Rye, Burgess Park (and possibly others I've missed out) - however, there is only one football club, and I would like to see the council publicly acknowledge the importance of preserving that football club's long-term future.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by BrandNewGuy 09 October, 2014 17:16

As an irregular attendee at DHFC games, I do sympathise with the club, but there are two separate issues here:

1. Should the Council take not just a positive but also a proactive role in helping DHFC? In principle, I think it should. As someone who was active in the Football Supporters’ Association, I’ve long argued that small clubs are harmed by them not being seen genuinely as ‘community assets’. In Europe, by contrast, many clubs (even huge ones) play at stadiums built and maintained by the local authority. Here, they are regarded just like any other private business. This is regrettable, but Southwark have no obligation to act otherwise and few if any other councils are actively involved in the well-being of their local small clubs.

2. Should the Council stop DHFC from having a new ground? Well, as no concrete proposals have been put forward, apart from the desire to encroach onto MOL, there’s not much for them to discuss. Why don’t Hadley redevelop the ground for DHFC where it is? Oh yes, because they won’t make a massive return on their investment. They’re the latest to try and push the Council into encroaching onto MOL and if they succeed, the financial rewards are huge.

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by jonco 12 October, 2014 18:12

FYI today is the last day of the second part of LBS consultation, online form is here:

[www.southwark.gov.uk]

Anyone wanting to join Friends Of Green Dale Can do so here:

[www.friendsofgreendale.org.uk]

messageRe: Green Dale
Posted by Sennen 15 October, 2014 21:15

A post on another thread by a well-known Local Councillor claims that Southwark lets private schools routinely build on Metropolitan Open Land. More than a bit hypocritical if true.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2014:10:15:22:04:39 by Sennen.

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