The archived pdf Newsletters (1 to 81) were edited by Dr Martin Heath as  superviser of  the Belair Project, and include attributed  contributions by others.  Some  have been reconfigured here as blog posts for ease of browsing and viewing. (An archive of the original PDFs is available here.) More recent newsletters are posted below.

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Dulwich Hamlet FC public exhibition to be held at the Club Saturday 19th July – 10am – 3pm

This is a meeting to discuss the financial future of Dulwich football club. Here’s what the organisers have to say:


Dear neighbour,

Welcome to our first community newsletter. As you may know Dulwich Hamlet FC has been in financial difficulties for a number of years. Hadley Property Group has recently acquired an interest in the site and Club and we have spent the past 6 months putting both its football and business operations on a more sustainable financial footing so that the Club has a future at Champion Hill. However as currently configured the facilities cannot continue to support the Club and a change in the layout and footprint of the buildings is needed. There is an opportunity to provide a new stadium and to invest in the open space located around the stadium.

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Leader of Southwark Council: “I have now told these people twice in the clearest terms that they will never build on or remove any MOL at Greendale.” FOBP welcomes his statement. Concerned locals should attend developer’s meeting about future of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club.


Saturday July 19, 2014. Future of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club (and associated fields).

10.00 am to 3.00 pm, 19th July. Dulwich Hamlet Football Club Edgar Kail Way London SE22 8BD.


On June 30, Dr. Martin Heath, Chair of the Friends of Belair Park contacted Southwark councillors Barrie Hargrove (Cabinet Member for Public Health, Parks and Leisure) and Peter John (Leader of Southwark Council). He passed on an email which had been sent to him as a campaigner for green open space. It had explained representatives of various local bodies had been:

“invited on a walkabout around the Greendale fields this morning with Steve Lancashire from PR company “Four Communications” and Roger Lee, an architect from “Farrells”. They wanted to hear what we had to say about the future of Greendale. They are trying to gauge public opinion so that they can draw up some plans with the new owners of the football club (property developer’s “Hadley”).”

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Sunday August 3, 2014. Great North Wood Walk.

Please find attached a poster for the third Great North Wood walk taking place on Sunday 3rd August at 12 noon – 4pm. The aim of the walk is to celebrate the natural and cultural history of the local area, once known as the Great North Wood. The Wood was a vast complex of commons and woods which once stretched from Deptford to Selhurst with parts of the Wood noted in the Domesday Book in 1086. The Great North Wood is still thriving today in the string of ecologically rich nature reserves and green spaces which make up its remnants. This is a partnered walk between London Wildlife Trust, the Friends of One Tree Hill and Southwark Council, with nods to the Dulwich Estate and TCV at Dulwich Upper Wood.

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Crystal Palace ‘Nature Garden’ MEETING – 7.30pm, Thurs 12th June 2014

Friends of Belair Park kick off their ‘Nature Garden’ Campaign with a meeting open to all:

7.30pm, Thursday June 12, 2014

- the meeting will last about an hour.


Francis Peek Building, Dulwich Park

(Off College Road, SE21 – car park available beside venue)


Whatever the future of the hill top section of Crystal Palace Park, our objective is to secure that part of the area between the patch of limes and the TV mast as a Nature garden.

This is in accordance with the Masterplan (the Masterplan – circa. 2008 – was devised for the former London Development Agency by Tilman Latz and Partner after extensive public engagement – and was broadly believed to have at least some good features and to have at the very least broad public support. The Masterplan was oddly thrown out of the window with appearance of ZhongRong).

The statement below is taken from the LDA Masterplan Design and Access Statement:

“At the Northern end of the Terrace, the existing ‘Nature Garden’ is incorporated into a series of ecological spaces, enhancing existing ecologies and creating opportunities for increasing biodiversity.”

WOW! This is quite a special statement! It actually acknowledges that this piece of land is a Nature Garden already, and asks for it to be nurtured. FOBP couldn’t agree more!! Let’s put public pressure on this official statement to be honoured.

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print out these ‘Nature Garden’ campaign newsletters and circulate them!!

These campaign newsletters have both been designed to be a double-sided sheet of A4. Please print them out and distribute them widely.

Nature Garden campaign

Crystal Palace background sheet – May 2014

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Friends of Belair Park launch their Crystal Palace Nature Garden Campaign.


aerial view of Hill Top from LDA (1)

Aerial view of part of the Crystal Palace Park Hill Top, which has ecological value. The image is from the former London Development Agency.

The aerial view above shows part of the Crystal Palace Park Hill Top. This rectangle of land already has much ecological value, and the Friends of Belair Park have launched a campaign to have it managed neatly as a protected Nature Garden.

Over the years, this area of the park has been neglected, fostering a widespread impression that “there has to be something up there” and that it awaits development as the only means of restoration. The area next to the TV mast compound is a former caravan and camping site which has been abandoned for decades. It has been used for dumping sludge from lake management work.  There has also been fly-tipping. It has remained fenced off, but, after extensive discussion and consultation over a period of years, it was recognised in the recent Tilman Latz masterplan and by a subsequent planning inquiry as a de facto nature garden.

Friends of Belair Park have launched a campaign to safeguard and develop the nature garden as an important contribution to bio-diversity.  We hope to preserve it  even if most of the hilltop were taken for major commercial development (to which we remain resolutely opposed to). The Friends of Belair Park feel that the survival of the nature garden would be even more important were commercial development on the hill top to proceed.

We want to transform neglect to a prestige project.

Hill Top railingstyres in hill top

This is how the site appears to pedestrians, bus travellers and motorists as they pass along Crystal Palace Parade, now – May 2014. We are looking at an original wall (crumbling) and railings (broken) from the 1854 Crystal Palace. Unkempt vegetation lurks behind layers of fencing in various states of disrepair. There is unsightly rubbish and litter.

    The interior of the former caravan park, the avenue of limes along its southern margin and the wildlife on the slope below could be readily transformed into a managed and highly attractive ecology and biodiversity feature compatible with the national status of this Park. The project could be accomplished using corporate assistance, volunteer workers and by tapping into established funding streams. Materials such as wood chippings and logs for making paths would be available from routine tree work elsewhere. Expert advice would be freely available.

Safeguarding Nature on the Hill Top respects local history.

trees, dandelions, cow parsley (1)

These photos and those below are all of nature in the Hill Top area.

The Nature Garden project will commemorate the long sweep of history prior to the appearance of the celebrated Sydenham Crystal Palace whilst looking forwards to the needs of future generations. The area was once smothered by what the Domesday Book recorded as the “Great North Wood.” 19th Century writers praised the beauty of the hilly countryside around Norwood, which was acclaimed as superior to that of France, Spain or Italy. At the end of that Century, there remained a patchwork of heaths, orchards and pastures, with hanging woods on the hill sides.

green under tree, cow parsley, bee (1)

…and the Crystal Palace Hill Top Nature Garden would have great relevance to us in the 21st century a local school has indicated interest in the educational value of pupils undertaking aspects of management work…

A key habitat of the Garden would be broad hedgerow and narrow woodland. It would incorporate native trees and existing ornamental non-natives. A local school has indicated interest in the educational value of pupils undertaking aspects of management work.

The site lies almost opposite the highest section of Dulwich Upper Wood across Crystal Palace Parade and were tree cover along the Park’s northern margins to be encouraged to become ecologically diverse woodland, this would create a valuable wildlife corridor across the landscape.

Following the masterplan devised by Tilman Latz and Partner, discussions took place with Bromley officers about the possibility of advancing Nature Garden plans. Earlier objections that the site was filled with contaminated soil (restricting Latz’s options) were now dismissed as posing no obstacle. Bromley officers suggested exposing and making accessible remnants of the 1854 Palace which are now hidden underground, these features are of considerable historical interest and deserve to be preserved for the benefit of future generations.

Crystal Palace subway - above

The romantic ‘ruins’ of Crystal Palace subway as seen from above, are subject for possible restoration as agitated for by local resident’s group – Friends of Crystal Palace Subway.

walking through the  Crystal Palace subway itself - which runs from Crystal Palace Hill Top  under Crystal Palace Parade.

walking through the Crystal Palace subway itself – which runs from Crystal Palace Hill Top under Crystal Palace Parade.

The trees in the Crystal Palace Hill Top are so beautiful and special…

the trees in Crystal Palace Hilltop

Martin Heath took these pictures of the trees in Crystal Palace Hilltop – let’s save them, please… 

Wildlife came before the Crystal Palace building.

London Illustrated News, June 5, 1852

The site of the Palace as sketched for the London Illustrated News, June 5, 1852. 

The Crystal Palace Nature Garden will promote the future well-being of local people.

As every square inch of available land is exploited by infill developments for housing or commercial developments to boost the economy and local employment, access to havens of nature will become ever more necessary. By providing this essential counterpart to the intensifying pressures of urban life,  the Nature Garden will contribute to the economy by encouraging the physical and pyschological health of the community.

Friends of Belair Park, May 2014
 All nature photos are of nature in the hilltop area. ©MJH

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Funday at New Leaf – 31st May/1st June

team photo

ON SATURDAY 31st MAY/SUNDAY 1st JUNE,  NEW LEAF are finishing their timeline of plants. There are hundreds of plants to go into the garden, artwork to be installed, soil and logs to be moved. We need your help as New Leaf comes of age… We will have food and music and all ages welcome.
10:00 AM TO 16:00

West Dulwich Station


If you have any questions please contact us on
VINNIE 07740954942
134B Thurlow Park Road SE21 8HN

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New Leaf volunteering



from June we will be running regular volunteer sessions in the
garden, to help maintain and improve the timeline
learn plant recognition, gain qualifications in horticulture,
accessible to all abilities and ages from novice to expert
there will also be craft activities, decorating containers, wildlife
habitats and sign making.

VOLUNTEER MANAGER : Vinnie 0774 095 4942
SE21 8HN

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Feedback on Effra Musical Walk (survey)

Friends of Belair Park reproduce this e-mail from Helen Spring, organiser of the Effra Walk:

Hello all,

I hope you all enjoyed the walk last Sunday and didn’t wilt too much along the way – what weather we had! Special thanks to Martin Knight for his time and effort in leading the walk and also to London Wildlife Trust volunteer Chris for giving some info about the work that’s been done to restore the Ambrook (one of the Effra’s tributaries) in Sydenham Hill Woods.

It would be a great help if you could fill in this quick online survey (only 8 questions and mostly multiple choice!), please find the link below. As this is a research project we are looking to learn from these activities in order to make the Lost Effra project a real success and run more environmental projects in the local area and beyond! It really shouldn’t take long at all and would be a huge help – thank you!

Please find the link here:

I will keep you posted about other Effra themed events this year, (please let me know if you would like to removed from the mailing list). For example there is a screening of a film called Lost Rivers at Greenwich Picturehouse, 7pm on Friday 6th June. It is being shown as part of the UK Green Film Festival, in association with Friends of the Earth. Special guest speakers including the film’s director Caroline Bacle, Roy Stephenson (Head of Archaeological Collections and Archive at the Museum of London), Tom Bolton (author of London’s Lost Rivers; a Walker’s Guide), and myself talking about the Lost Effra project and what we are doing to help minimize the risk created by having one of London’s lost rivers beneath our feet.

Please follow the link for more information and to buy your tickets:

Thanks again for coming along to the walk, I hope you enjoyed it and remember to look out for our picture on the Dulwich festival website that Fabian the photographer took at the beginning of the walk!

All the best,

Helen Spring

Lost Effra Project Coordinator

London wildlife Trust


Mobile: 07971 315 245

Switchboard: 020 7261 0447

Adopt a hedgehog and help London Wildlife Trust secure a future for this iconic but increasingly rare London mammal.


London Wildlife Trust

Protecting London’s wildlife for the future

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Information Project – Debate 2

FOBP reproduce the e-mail sent from the Information Project:

Hi there,

Thank you for coming to our first debate on the subject of culture using the proposed development in Crystal Palace park as a case study.
Continuing the theme of ‘who owns culture?’, the premise of this second session is to discuss and develop ideas of the outside in the urban setting.  The vacant symbols of past occupation haunt the spaces of Crystal Palace park, and in those too there can be inspiration. The panel will reflect on the social and physical benefits of ‘play’ and ‘space’ with multi-generational use.

Questions to be asked and debated include: how do people interact with the park? what are the methods for engagement to provide a catalyst for sustained, safer use? Discussion will include practical aspects of design and management for facilitating an open learning resource, creating opportunity for play and keeping the sense of open, democratic space.  Alternative trajectories for the park as a community benefit across all ages will also be considered.

Debate 2: Play / Space: innovation in the 21st century metropolis

28 May at 7:30pm, Salvation Army Worship Hall, Westow Street, Upper Norwood

Guest chair:

Katharine Heron, Professor of Architecture, University of Westminster


David Burchett, operations manager, Learning through Landscapes

Carlos Cortes, visual and movement artist whose practice involves public space and communities

Tim Gill, writer and consultant, Rethinking Childhood

Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, Co-Chair, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University

Ben Stringer, academic, trustee Oxford City Farm Project

Please do book again on Eventbrite so we can manage numbers attending due to limited space:

We look forward to seeing you there.

Kind regards

Noreen, Dagmar, Chris & Robbie

The Information Project Team

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