Defend Green Dale

Southwark Green Party has responded to the appeals made by 'Greendale Property Company' to the Planning Inspectorate over their two planning applications for Green Dale. The first relates to the fact that Southwark council have still not made a decision about their application to build a stadium on Green Dale and 155 flats on the current stadium. The second appeal is against the council’s decision to reject their application to remove the restrictive covenants on the stadium land. We're very glad that Southwark Council rejected the attempt to remove the protection that Green Dale enjoys as Metropolitan Open Land (MOL). 

We support the work of local community organisations, the Friends of Green Dale and the Friends of Dog Kennel Hill Wood. Their volunteers do amazing practical work to protect and enrich these special places, vitally important for the local ecosystem: they clear rubbish, plant trees and maintain meadows.

This article gives a flavour of why Green Dale is such an important community resource - and desperately needed in this dense part of inner London. This page explains more about the background to the planning applications. You can read an account of an earlier attempt to question the developer's plans here and our full response to the Planning Inspectorate after the fold.

Greendale Property Company Ltd

Site address: Dulwich Hamlet Football Club and Green Dale Playing Fields, Dog Kennel Hill, London SE22 8BD

Response by David Jennings, Campaigns officer, Southwark Green Party, March 2017, objecting to the appeal proposals

To submit via

Undermining protection of Metropolitan Open Land

The loss of Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) has become a worrying trend in recent years. The Council for Protection of Rural England’s 2014 Green Belt Review notes the large volumes of open space that have been lost in London since 2009, with MOL accounting for the largest proportion of this. Open spaces in general and MOL in particular contribute significantly to the contribute significantly to the physical and mental health of residents of Southwark and of London. The MOL designation, as you will be aware, is is intended to protect areas of landscape, recreation, nature conservation and scientific interest which are strategically important. Green Dale was designated as MOL for good reason, and twice previously developers have been refused permission to build on Green Dale fields. The intention to protect it should be upheld. The coherence of policy should thus be maintained, along with the integrity of protected designations.

Loss of community and social benefit

The current use of the site adjoining Green Dale for Dulwich Hamlet Football Ground and the open astroturf pitch is part of an arrangement to compensate the local community for the loss of open space when the Sainsbury’s supermarket was built. Again the recognition of this social contract needs to be respected rather than overridden by any new development, lest Southwark becomes a borough where the needs and amenities of local communities are constantly eroded. The amount of affordable housing shown in the developers’ current plans does not fulfil the s106 obligations and thus would erode the net community benefit provided by this land.

The borough of Southwark has one of the highest levels of adult and child obesity in London, with more than 40% of children overweight and obese when they leave primary school, compared to 33% nationally. Nearby facilities for informal sports have been taken away (e.g. for building new blocks on the East Dulwich Estate) making the public 'turn up and play' pitches on Green Dale more essential than ever.

Unique character of Green Dale scrubland

The London Wildlife Trust views Green Dale’s area of unspoilt scrub and grassland as unique in inner South London. Southwark Council are intending to designate it a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. At a point where the benefits of ‘re-wilding’ parts of our environment are increasingly being recognised across London and around the world, the developers’ proposals threaten to take Green Dale in the opposite direction. Southwark could lose a unique area that supports – according to ecological assessments – foraging birds, bats and small mammals including hedgehogs. The developers’ ‘investment’ risks turning this into a sanitised identikit space of the kind already spread across the borough.

High numbers of Southwark residents live in flats with no access to garden space. Green Dale is adjoined by the two large council estates (circa 1,500 flats in blocks) and provides a crucial opportunity for local children to experience the natural world through professionally led bird- and bat-watching walks, supervised conservation work and independent exploration.

Compensatory benefits are questionable

We support the growth and prosperity of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club. However, we have yet to see clear evidence made for the claims made that the current stadium is not sustainable and that a new larger one would be. We do not want to see the club bite off more than it can chew by taking on new overheads that it may not be able to afford in the long term.

Subsidiary appeal which seeks to alter the covenants on DHFC's ground

Reference: APP/A5840/Q/16/3166766

Site address: Dulwich Hamlet Football Club and land at Dog Kennel Hill, London SE22 8BD

Response by David Jennings, Campaigns officer, Southwark Green Party, March 2017, objecting to the appeal proposals

We wish to register our opposition to this application. The original purpose of the restrictions was to ensure that the land can only be used for leisure or recreational or educational purposes for the benefit of the local community. We see no credible case for removing these restrictions or the benefit they provide.

We understand that the applicant has suggested that this application be considered together with planning application 16/AP/1232, which seeks to build on Metropolitan Open Land. We are objecting to this application separately. We contest that these applications, either together or separately, are in the public interest. This is on the grounds, elaborated in our other objection, that the applications:

  • undermine the protection of Metropolitan Open Land and the integrity of policy in this area;

  • remove existing community and social benefit, including access to the open astroturf area and the scrubland;

  • threaten the unique character of the Green Dale scrubland and the ecology it sustains;

  • have questionable and unproven compensatory benefits in relation to Dulwich Hamlet Football Club.

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