Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Guardian and Boris' London, a podcast by Dave Hill, featuring Andrew Wood, representing our campaign.

"In this latest Comment is Free podcast, Dave Hill travels around the capital to assess how the new mayor is implementing his vision – and talks to the man himself".

You can listen to the podcast by the following link:


Dave Hill in the Guardian makes a comment on Boris Johnson's failed promises to safeguard green spaces in London, featuring our campaign.

By Dave Hill.

"There was always going to be conflict between Mayor Johnson's conservationist instincts and his wish to leave the boroughs alone. Two good examples are now making themselves known. Tomorrow, Tory-run Bromley will almost certainly go ahead with LDA plans to build nearly 200 houses on a piece of Crystal Palace Park as part of a larger development. The Crystal Palace Community Association has been fighting against it, but the Standard's Mira Bar Hillel has reported that Mayor Johnson has made good on the promise he gave at People's Question Time a few weeks back not to intervene.

Meanwhile, in Forest Hill in Labour-led Lewisham another local campaign has won coverage in the South London Press and support from Brockley Central in its struggle to prevent - ironically - an "eco-homes" development on a piece of land adjoining Tyson Road where stag beetles thrive. Boris again appears reluctant to get involved. One of the campaigners told me this afternoon that he'd received only standard responses to his letters to the mayor, which was much the same as when he'd lobbied Ken Livingstone. The mayor won't want to hear sentiments like that expressed too frequently.

Written by Dave Hill for the Guardian, the 8th of December, 2008

You can read the whole thing along with comments on http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/davehillblog/2008/dec/08/boris-london

The "Keep the Forest In Forest Hill" causes something of a stir in our neighboring Brockley, not at least because of the precious stag beetles..

Brockley Nick writes:

There are lots of brownfield sites in Lewisham which don't adjoin beautiful woodland. The protestors objecting to the development of new housing in Forest Hill happen to think it's better to start on those areas. (...) 'before bullodozing there are', which also happens to be an important home to man's best friend, the stag beetle.

We think they have a point. "

Brockley Nick has written about the stag beetles before in a former blog-post that I would like to add here, considering what sort of serious threat they are under here in Forest Hill and for those who still hasn't given these strange and remarkable creatures a thought:

"In the event of a nuclear holocaust, cockroaches are due to inherit the earth. Likewise, scorpions are always showing off their ability to be frozen and resuscitated with a blowtorch. Whatever the fate of the planet, the future of most mini-beasts looks assured. Not so, the British stag beetle (Lucanus cervus), which is apparently the panda of the insect world.

As visitors to the Horniman Museum are reminded, Lewisham is the front-line in the battle to save the UK's largest beetle (which grows up to 8cm).

The London Wildlife Trust explains:

"Numbers have declined since the 1940s and their UK distribution has contracted from a large swathe of southern England and Wales. Recent surveys suggest that they are now more restricted to the south-east, with concentrations along the Thames Valley, in north-east Essex/Suffolk, and the New Forest. Perhaps surprisingly London is one such ‘hot-spot’, and is nationally significant for the stag beetle populations it supports.

"The stag beetle appears to be significantly more common in the south and west of London, in areas such as Lewisham, Beckenham, Dulwich, Wandsworth, and Richmond.

"Their decline has been attributed to a number of factors, the primary one being the reduction of appropriate habitat - dead wood. The tidying up of woodlands, parks and gardens has led to the burning or chipping of dead wood, and stump-grinding of felled trees removes another vital source for the beetle."

Sightings of the beetle are usually made between May and August, which is mating season and also flying season - so if one of them comes buzzing in to site, try not to swat the poor, aerobatically-impaired creatures out of the sky."

By Brockley Nick.

You can also read about the whole thing in the Brockley Central by going to www.brockleycentral.blogspot.com
It is also worth taking a look at some very insightful comments from bloggers on this very topic as well.

South London Press and the resident's fury over Developer's 'Green Wash'

"DEVELOPERS planning to build “eco-housing” on what they claim is derelict land are facing the fury of residents who say it is an important ecological habitat.

The proposed development boasts “eco-friendly homes” on “largely vacant and derelict land” in Forest Hill.

However, residents opposing the plans say only a small part of the site behind Tyson Road is derelict and most of it is woodland and green space, home to a protected species of stag beetles.

Andrew Wood, who is opposing the development, said: “Everyone thinks this is crazy as the site already supports a fantastic biodiversity and is a great open space.

“All the experts say gardens play a vital role in sustaining biodiversity in urban areas, so why aren’t the planners protecting them?

“It’s this whole garden grabbing issue again – it seems to be open season on green spaces in Forest Hill.”

Opponents claim the developer is trying to hide the fact that the area is already an important environmental space by producing a report that says there is no evidence of stag beetles.

Mr Wood added: “We don’t have many protected species in Lewisham so wouldn’t it be a good idea to preserve one of the few that we do have?”

The development plan, which has been submitted to Lewisham council for consideration, is for 76 flats and has been scaled down following public response to an original 84-flat proposal.

Stuart Cuncliffe, project director for developers Loromah Estates, said: “All the proposed buildings would have “green” or “living” roofs, some of which would form wildflower meadows.

“There are a range of measures to encourage biodiversity.”

But Mr Wood said: “A development that is a death sentence for local trees and wildlife doesn’t get any better by giving it a green roof and putting up a few bat boxes.”

The site contains two partly-derelict houses, a derelict brick building and around 20 garages.

But a large part of the land is green space with trees and plants.

The original plan resulted in 193 individual objections and six petitions against it, and Mr Wood is expecting a similar level of resistance again.

By Michael Stringer

This article was published on Friday the 28th of November 2008 and is written by Michael Stringer.

The whole article can be read here: http://www.southlondonpress.co.uk/tn/News.cfm?id=26347&headline=Fury+at+Forest+Hill+eco-plan

A detail of the woodland area in Forest Hill under threat