As a campaign for green open space, it is our role to play the devils’ advocate or counsel for the prosecution when it comes to changes which apparently weaken its protective Metropolitan Open Land status. This is an essential role, which at the very least, encourages plans for open space to be reviewed with critical faculties engaged, and in some cases, has brought a halt to inappropriate developments.
We were drawn into the controversy over work in the Southwark Community Sports Trust field adjacent to the Park, when we were shown pictures of concrete being poured for foundations for an extra small building – which had not received planning permission.
We have now been asked in the interests of fair and open debate to present also the case for proposed SCST work and we attach the SCST report for the benefit of our readers:
(we also provide a summary below)
After reading through the report, I think that we need more meaningful mechanisms within the community whereby we can discuss and secure the future of local green space and the many valuable projects that it enables. I shall raise this issue with the Dulwich Community Council.
Once again, the opening gambit of this episode involved the SCST laying foundations for a cabin on Metropolitan Open Land without first seeking planning permission. This set the tone for confrontation. In order to work towards a positive outcome, we need to reboot the process and to begin by asking fundamental questions about the long-term future of this sports field.
Dr. Martin Heath (Chair, Friends of Belair Park).
SUMMARY OF SCST DOCUMENT in which the SCST outline their case for the building or converting of the nursery and flat:
The nursery and caretaker’s flat are necessary in order to raise the funds to maintain the Sports Ground. Unlike Belair Park, sports clubs in the area have to pay market rents.
The Southwark Community Sports Trust was set up to save the fields and the current proposals underline the steps needed to make that possible. Many neighbours and groups in the community have welcomed the proposal to save the fields.
The Southwark Community Sports Trust seeks to protect and nourish open space, and to keep green fields open for use.