Why the Deptford Community have fought to save Tidemill Garden & Reginald House

OTSalternativevision

Andy Belfield’s alternative vision of Tidemill shows how it is perfectly possible to get in 209 homes on this Site whilst keeping the whole of Tidemill Wildlife Garden and the blue block of 16 social homes 2-30A Reginald Road – known as Reginald House.

The Case is in currently the Court of Appeal – appealing against the decision refusing permission to allow a full judicial review hearing. Meanwhile, the Council have thrown out the members of the Garden Group who were occupying the Garden to protect it from the Council going in and destroying it. Since the Council forcefully and aggressively obtained occupation on 29th October 2018, they have already destroyed the Cabin (which was being used as a mini-library) and several trees. They have put hoarding up all around the Site and are using County Enforcement to patrol the area – claiming that they have to do this to prevent protesters trying to gain entry – apparently – although the likelihood of anyone wanted to get into a Garden area which has been trashed by the Council (they have cars parked on the Garden) and is being heavily guarded with the use of security dogs is beyond me.

There has never been any justification for the demolition of the 16 Council social homes (3 of which are leasehold now). It is a case of history repeating itself – when the original houses in Reginald Road were demolished for no justified reason in the 1960’s – this Secret History of our Streets is a fascinating and depressing reminder that Council Planners continually fail to learn from their previous mistakes!

The Council could have chosen to work with the community to come up with a community-led design for this Site – using the above illustration as a starting point and refine this into a proper plan through a community led design workshop – this could have happened a year ago if they had been willing. It is not too late for it to happen now! There is not a competition between housing and green space here – it is about political will, willingness to collaborate with the community, and willingess to find a solution. I have suggested Mediation to resolve this conflict – in a face to face conversation with the Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan a few weeks ago and have heard nothing back. Meanwhile local people living around Tidemill, are suffering the effects what feel’s like living in a war zone.

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