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Planning threat to natural woodland, Bowley Lane off Farquhar Road


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#16 bblue

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 09:54 AM

Bats are protected by Enlish Nature:

Bats and Planning

The application mentions that a bat survey has been done and is included in the application, but it's not actually attached (see page 6 of thishttp://planningonlin...ts/165028_1.pdf)

#17 radiostar

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 06:34 PM

The applicant used specialists to prepare an Ecological Assessment Report which includes bats, and which is available to download along with all the other application documents, here: http://planningonlin...stemkey=9540731

The Assessment is questionable to say the least: it was conducted on just one day in May (and at dawn the next morning) so, a handful of hours in total. Whilst it does say there are bats in the area, it goes on to say (surprise, surprise) that the specific site is not of great importance, and that the adjacent Wood is far more important. It recommends maintaining the sites role as a corridor between the Wood and CP Parade by keeping trees along the edge of the site, and possibly planting a few new ones. Of course, it would be even better to not remove the trees that are already there! The report does not say if the site was assessed as a foraging ground for bats (which we think it is), nor was the relationship with the nearby Paxton railway tunnel (at the other end of Spinney Gardens) which is known to be a bat roost site examined, and last year Southwark installed bat-friendly lighting along the Spinney Gardens roadway which connects the application site with the tunnel. The assessment is less an assessment, and more a one-day observation!

So, plenty to question and object about, including a reference in the report to their being no ponds within 250 meters of the site. Er...there's a pond in the Wood just 60 metres from the site and linked by a footpath.

#18 andreas

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 06:51 PM

So, plenty to question and object about, including a reference in the report to their being no ponds within 250 meters of the site. Er...there's a pond in the Wood just 60 metres from the site and linked by a footpath.


Too right - I remember when we painted railings for the Dulwich Upper Wood people*, they showed us a little annex that they have between Bowley Lane and Bowley Close... a proper little secret wild garden, with a lovely pond.


*for the avoidance of doubt, a volunteering away day through work, not a community service order...
opposed to taking terrapins.

#19 Axean

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 11:01 PM

The Assessment is questionable to say the least: it was conducted on just one day in May (and at dawn the next morning) so, a handful of hours in total. Whilst it does say there are bats in the area, it goes on to say (surprise, surprise) that the specific site is not of great importance, and that the adjacent Wood is far more important.

There are some failings in the ecology report, but I'll need to look through it a bit more. Your correct in thinking that two bat surveys a few hours apart are not acceptable. For the Habitats Regulations to apply (regarding bats) all that has to be demonstrated is that the works would "disturb bats. The disturbance does not need to be significant. I'll send an email to the address in the first post when I've read the through the whole thing tomorrow.

You'll need to quickly make contact with the managers of Dulwich Upper Wood (Trust for Urban Ecology - Jim Murphy(?)) and Southwarks Ecology Officer (John Best).

Edited by Axean, 11 July 2011 - 11:01 PM.


#20 radiostar

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 08:08 AM

Thanks Axean. Jim Murphy, warden of the wood, has been kept informed and is preparing his response to submit. Ecology officer Jon Best away until 25th July which is just a few days before the consultation period ends, but I and no doubt others will be chasing him on his return to get him up to speed.

Edited by radiostar, 12 July 2011 - 08:08 AM.


#21 radiostar

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:15 AM

Quick update: a site notice has now been put up at the spinney by Southwark planning dept. It shows a new consultation end date for submitting objections as Monday 2 August 2011, though the planning application web site shows 29 July. I am presuming it will be 2 August, and any change to this I come across will be posted on the forum.

We have about two and a half weeks to submit objections in writing or by email. We are still working up a list of points people can use in their objections and anyone intending to object can still email us on saveourspinney@gmail.com to receive it when its ready.

#22 radiostar

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 02:09 PM

Another update: Cllr. Lewis Robinson - the local ward councillor for the area the spinney and nature reserve are in - will be visiting Spinney Gardens this coming Saturday, the 16th, to meet with local people and to hear their views and concerns about the planning application. Cllr. Robinson is also chair of the Dulwich Community Council, which will be considering the application at a planning meeting, (date yet to be announced), so this is an excellent oppportunity to meet with and talk to someone of importance in considering the application. He really does want to hear what you have to say.

He will be at Spinney Gardens from 2pm approx., and hopefully walking the estate to meet with people in an informal way, and will possibly also go to adjacent Bowley Lane and Burntwood View. Any one can come and meet with Cllr. Robinson, regardless of whether they are Southwark or College Ward residents. So if you are concerned about the planning threat to the spinney - no matter where in the local area you are - please do come along, even if only for a short visit.

Spinney Gardens is at the end of Bowley Lane, which is off Farquhar Road, and is literally behind the Dulwich Upper Wood Nature Reserve. Just come into the estate and look out for a group of people either standing or walking around. If you could let us know you might come, by emailing saveourspinney@gmail.com, we can then know to look out for you.

Hope to see you on Saturday.

Link to Cllr. Robinson's page on Southwark's web site: http://moderngov.sou...fo.aspx?UID=177

Google map's link to show location of Spinney Gardens: http://maps.google.c...,39.506836&z=16

#23 radiostar

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:59 AM

Quick update: the consultation end date for submitting objections to planning application to build flats in the wooded spinney adjacent to Dulwich Upper Wood has been extended to Wednesday 10th August, although I understand objections can still be submitted after this.

To receive our outline of objection points you can include in your own letter or email of objection to Southwark, please email saveourspinney@gmail.com. Details will be kept confidential and no email addresses will be added to any other circulation lists nor given to any third parties.

#24 radiostar

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:21 PM

As of today Sunday 7 August there are now just three days to the deadline for submitting emails or letters of objection to Southwark to prevent the loss of the spinney attached to Dulwich Upper Wood and Spinney Gardens (submissions need to be made by 10 August). If you have not already done so please take the time to write your own email or objection letter. An hour or so spent doing this is nothing compared to the permanent loss of the spinney and its many mature large trees, the loss of a vital green corridor, and the impact the proposed building will have on the much loved Dulwich Upper Wood local nature reserve.

If you need a copy of our objection points document which you can use with your own objection please send an email to saveourspinney@gmail.com. It lists a wide range of points which you can include in your own submission. You can use the whole document if you like!

It is imperative to get as many objections submitted as possible - so your letter or email really does count! It is important also to refer to relevant and valid grounds of objection, and there are plenty within that document which you can use.

Thanks for your support - and please do get your objections submitted to Southwark if you have not done so already.

#25 charlie

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:52 PM

Has Southwark council's planning officer written up their recommendation yet radiostar?

I assume it won't need to go to Community Council if the recommendation is refusal?

Edited by charlie, 22 August 2011 - 01:52 PM.


#26 radiostar

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:33 AM

Hi Charlie, apologies for delay in reply. As far as I know Southwark's planning officer has either not yet written their recommendation or is currently working on it. There is no news yet about any date for a planning commitee meeting to hear the application. So, for now everything is 'up in the air'. As soon as I know anything I'll post it on this forum.

#27 radiostar

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 05:56 PM

Apologies again for the delay in updating forum readers on this issue. I had been waiting for formal updates from Southwark's planning department on this application's formal status, but as yet this has not been made public knowledge.

The good news is that an emergency Tree Protection Order (TPO) has been placed over the site by the Arboriculture Officer for the borough. For the timebeing at least this prevents any development application from proceeeding. The TPO covers the spinney (the triangle of wooded land between Spinney Gardens, Bowley Lane and Dulwich Upper Wood Nature Reserve) as well as the trees on the embankment lining the west side of Crystal Palace Parade and above the railway arches of Bowley Close, Burntwood View, Bowley Lane and Spinney Gardens (basically, opposite the park, from the junction of Farquhar Road with CP Parade, right up to the traffic lights at corner with College Road, this being along the former site of the CP High Level Railway Stn.). To make the emergency TPO permanent it must come before a planning committee meeting in the same way a planning application would, and within six months of the issueing of the emergency TPO. We await a date for such a meeting. At that meeting (and during the consultation period beforehand) objections to as well as support of the TPO can be lodged. The freeholder of the site has the right to object.

We had been waiting for a date for the planning commitee meeting to hear the planning application, and this had been expected to be in mid-October, but the planning application to cut down almost all the trees in the spinney, level it and build a block containing four two-bedroom flats has not as yet been scheduled for a meeting, and we for now don't know when or if it will.

Many of the folks living at Spinney Gardens and Bowley Lane had been under the impression a TPO already applied over the area, and which was issued in July 1988, but it transpires that although that TPO was titled 'Spinney Gardens' it may have in fact applied only to the adjacent Nature Reserve.

Once the precise status of the planning application is known, as well as hearing dates for the permament TPO to protect the trees from being cut down, they shall of course be posted in this forum.

Edited by radiostar, 21 October 2011 - 05:56 PM.


#28 RetiredMember1

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 01:32 AM

I see there's a positive-sunding and official-looking 'urban ecology' signboard (I fear I may be misremembering the name of the organisation) up - what's the latest?

#29 radiostar

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:23 PM

Hi all,
I’m sorry it has been so long since the last update. I wanted to make sure I could provide a summary of what was going on before posting to the forum.


The planning application to build in the wooded spinney at Spinney Gardens and along Bowley Lane and adjacent to Dulwich Upper Wood local nature reserve has not gone away, despite the passing of more than six months since the end of the original consultation period. Around September of last year a temporary Tree Protection Order (TPO) was placed over the site by Southwark’s tree officer. A TPO does not in itself protect a site against planning, but it does add weight to the case against granting it. We had been waiting to hear when the temporary TPO might go before a planning meeting – a necessary step in making a TPO permanent. Earlier this month the TPO was approved and made permanent without it even needing to go before any council meeting.

The applicant has been allowed to amend his plans and also submit a new Ecological Assessment Report and Tree Assessment Report. These new reports seem to be in response to the many letters and emails of objection submitted last year and which pointed out many inaccuracies and errors in the report’s contents and the manner in which they were compiled. Many of the shortcomings in the reports which were pointed out in the objections have been addressed in the new reports! An initial reading of the Ecological Assessment seems to confirm the site’s role as a green/nature corridor, with sightings of bat activity and bats foraging.

The only change to the proposed plan by the applicant is the removal of the four car parking spaces. No provision for car parking has been made nor any clarification given as to what the applicant might do to the plots previously intended for car parking.
A ‘re-consultation’ period is now underway, and which started yesterday the 14th and ends on Friday 27th April. This is the deadline by which new submissions in response to the amended plans and ecological assessments need to be made to Southwark’s planning department. Letters and emails submitted last year in response to the original consultation period are still valid and applicable, and will be included in the report to be compiled after this new consultation period.


If you would still like to support the campaign to object to the loss of the wooded spinney for an inappropriate development and which is located right against a local nature reserve and its trees, please do submit your objection by Friday 27th April to planning.applications@southwark.gov.uk.

If you would like to receive our updates along with suggested objection points which you can cut and paste into your own objection, please email saveourspinney@gmail.com.
You can see the applicant’s amended plan via the following link. It is only a one page document: http://planningonline.southwarksites.com/planningonline2/DocsOnline/Documents/219715_1.pdf
The applicant’s second Ecological Assessment Report (much more than one page!) is here: http://planningonline.southwarksites.com/planningonline2/DocsOnline/Documents/219716_1.pdf
And the second Tree Assessment here: http://planningonline.southwarksites.com/planningonline2/DocsOnline/Documents/219703_1.pdf

Edited by radiostar, 15 April 2012 - 09:25 PM.


#30 charlie

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:43 PM

Many thanks for the update radiostar. It would be worth following up the various individuals and community groups which made objections on the original application to ensure they are aware of the amended plans, revised surveys and the limited amount of time to make further objections/comments. Will be in touch under separate cover with further thoughts.

Edited by charlie, 15 April 2012 - 09:44 PM.