26 October 2009
24 October 2009
16 October 2009
12 October 2009
10 October 2009
09 October 2009
Members of the executive committee of the Forest Hill Society met with representatives from the Horniman to discuss their plans. As a result we would like to provide some feedback on the planning application.
We generally welcome the the planning application for Horniman Gardens which will improve many aspects of the gardens. The changes to the bandstand and the surrounding area will substantially improve the views across London which make the gardens so special. The improved access and integration of the animal enclosure will also enhance the gardens particularly for visitors with young children.
However there are some comments that we would like to make that may further improve the plans for redeveloping the gardens.
1. The positioning of the new community education building appears to leave a narrow path to the west which leads to the entrance to the animal enclosure and to the meadow field. Due to the topography of the area and the trees and shrubbery this narrow path may look as if it goes nowhere, despite being a major route around the park. This could present some safety and security concerns, as well as obscuring the entrance to the enhanced animal enclosure. We would recommend adjusting the positioning of the education building so that it is slightly higher up the hill (to the east), leaving more space for this path.
2. The sunken garden is an important feature of the park and is enjoyed by older members of the community, who are able to sit on the many benches available and enjoy the flowers. It is important to continue to provide a bright, well planted, space in this section of the park that can be enjoyed throughout the spring and summer. A water feature in the centre of the sunken garden is most welcome but should not be to the detriment of the high quality planting that has long been a feature of the gardens.
3. There are some concerns about the number of trees and lampposts positioned around the bandstand which may obstruct views of the bandstands from the avenue leading from the museum and London Road, the trees may also limit the views of the bandstand during concerts. Some trees in this space will help break up the large empty space, but putting lamppost between them seems to turn the area into an obstacle course. A better solution would be to provide lighting incorporated into the branches of the trees together with less obtrusive lighting around the edges of the area.
We hope that Lewisham planning department, together with the Horniman Gardens, can consider these issues and whether the implementation of this development may be further improved in line with our suggestions. Subject to these points, we recommend that the planning department approve this planning application and we wish the Horniman great success in raising funds to make these enhancements to the gardens, which are well loved by all in Forest Hill.
The outline proposal, for which scale, appearance, layout and access fall to be determined would, by reason of the layout, height, design, fail to complement or, moreover, be compatible with the scale and character of the surrounding environment, resulting in an un-neighbourly form of development contrary to URB 3 Urban Design, HSG 5 Layout and Design of New Residential Development and HSG 8 Backland and Infill Development in the Councils adopted Unitary Development Plan (July 2004).
We applaud this decision by the planning department but there is a strong possibility that the developer will now appeal to the planning inspectorate. We hope that, should this happen that the inspectorate will reaffirm the decision of the planning department and back the views of local residents.
02 October 2009
Saturday, 3rd October – 5pm. Official opening of the new fencing and gate at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve.
Do join the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve as they celebrate the culmination of several years’ hard work. No longer will this fantastic piece of urban nature be hidden behind tatty, municipal fencing. It now has an entrance to be proud of, designed by Jacob Twyford and hand made in wrought iron and welded steel by local blacksmith, Steve Capper. The reserve will be open from 3.00pm and there are plans for a party with music and more after the opening. There is an exhibition of children’s drawings and a sculpture in lead made by girls at Sydenham School - all used as inspiration for elements of the gate design.