Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Campaigns

Bell Green community-led master plan

The Sydenham Society has called for an immediate halt to demolition of the gas holders to enable proper community consultation, a review of options and completion of a masterplan for Bell Green.
Working with Discourse Architecture, we have embarked on the development of a community-led master plan for the wider Bell Green site. We believe that the gas holders, which are an important expression of our local industrial heritage, should be retained as part of this new vision.

Read More

Risk of formal enforcement action for Our Lady and St Philip Neri School

Lewisham Planning gives builder (Darwin/Built Off Site) 28 days to show how they intend to remedy the breaches of planning control. 

Height of building, cladding, windows and surrounding fences are amongst many items the developer will have to address.

A public meeting about the new St Philip Neri school development was held at Sydenham Library on Thursday 19 July. Just over 50 local people attended with six others who were unable to attend sending written questions. The meeting was chaired by local councillor Tom Copley and attended by Viv Evans, Lewisham’s interim Head of Planning. There were no representatives from the builder, developer or the diocese of Southwark and the head teacher sent his apologies. A member of the board of governors was present.

Since the meeting Lewisham has carried out a first survey of what’s been built and compared this to what was given planning permission. Now Lewisham has taken clear steps to ensure that the builder remedies all of the faults. You can read the report which points out some blatant disregard of planning permissions below.

A further public meeting will be held in the Autumn. In the meantime, we’ll keep you abreast of developments.

Our Lady & St Philip Neri school update

At the Sydenham Assembly on Wednesday June 13 a packed audience voted overwhelmingly to support the Sydenham Society’s call for a public meeting to be held within the next 10 days to discuss the outstanding issues to do with the planning permission. We’ve asked for representatives from the school, the diocese and the London Borough of Lewisham’s planning department to be present, to answer questions from local residents. We’ve also asked that, before the meeting, planners supply us with a list of the discrepancies between the approved plans and the structure that has been built. Our councillors are now pressing for the meeting to take place.

We are seeking firm reassurance that the new school hall (currently under construction) will be built according to planning consents. There should be no possibility that this building proceeds along the same lines as the one currently occupied.

As soon as we have a date, time and venue for the meeting we’ll publish the information here.

Our Lady & St Philip Neri School re-build

Sydenham Society will present a motion to the Sydenham Assembly at the meeting tonight, 7pm – 9pm, Wednesday 13 June at Sydenham Centre, 44a Sydenham Road, London SE26 5QX.

The Sydenham Assembly calls for a public meeting to be held well before the start of the school summer holiday to discuss the rebuilding of the school.

The building has not been constructed in accordance with the planning permission granted in 2016, yet it has been occupied by children and staff. It should be re-built strictly in line with the original planning permission even if this means substantial reconstruction.

The public meeting should be held in accordance with the Statement of Community Involvement (as set out in the Lewisham Development Framework) and all stakeholders (local residents, the school, councillors, the developers and relevant officers from Lewisham Council) should be present.

Bell Green Gasholders saved for now!

After a planning committee meeting that lasted two hours at Lewisham town hall, there was a unanimous vote to refuse planning consent for the construction of an Aldi supermarket, restaurant, coffee shop and storage facility for Southern Gas on the following grounds:

The proposed development would result in the loss of green space to the east of the Livesey Hall [the former bowling green] and would harm the setting of this Grade II listed building.

The additional traffic attracted by the development would have a detrimental impact on the Bell Green gyratory system and surrounding streets.

The provision of the additional retail floor space within the retail park would exceed the maximum limit of 16,110sq m as set out in the 2011 Core Strategy, thereby harming the character and viability of adjacent shopping centres.

The application failed to demonstrate that traffic and vehicle movements associated with the proposal would not increase levels of air pollution and would therefore have an unacceptable impact upon air quality within the area.

There is no mention of saving the gasholders in these conditions. However, we’ve got a ‘stay of execution’ for the time being and will continue to press for alternative uses, including the insertion of residential units into these wrought iron structures. Architects who specialise in sustainable development have advised us that flats in the form of pods, made from modern, sustainable materials could be suspended from the gasholders, removing the need for traditional foundations. We will also emphasise the need for green space at this location – echoing the reasons for refusal of the retail application.

A big thank you to everyone involved in the campaign, in particular Councillor Alan Hall @cllralanhall

“Pear Tree” statue to be erected at Bell Green

One of the conditions of the planning permission for the “Snail” development currently being built at Bell Green is that there should be money made available for creating some urban artwork within the development as part of the gateway to the pedestrian link within the scheme. The design brief was that the concept should relate to the site’s history and location. 

The sculpture which is be erected on the site is based on the fact that the area around Bell Green was once mainly farmland with a preponderance of  pear orchards with the abundant production of pear cider (perry) as evidenced by the local street names around the area – Perry Vale, Perry Rise etc.

The unnamed artist’s vision is that on approaching Bell Green one will become aware, from a distance, of two white flower structures, apparently “floating between the two buildings, presenting a soft, gentle poetic presence, amidst the bustle of Bell Green.

“Moving closer the petal structure forms and the shape emerges with clarity, revealing rhythms, movement and a magnificence of gestural curves. Amidst the whiteness sits yellow and pink centres giving a focus around which the flowers radiate.  On approaching the car park your eyes are lifted upwards and away from hectic noisy technology, attracted and enticed by the quiet, peaceful, contemplative white pear blossom sculptures.”

A planning application for the erection of “Pear Blossoms” has been submitted to the LBL planning department. 

Pear Tree sculpture