Friends of Greendale

The Friends come together to protect, conserve and enhance the natural environment of Green Dale, Southwark, London, for the benefit of wildlife and people.

Last Chance to Comment on Green Dale Planning Application

I'm sure many of you will know that the Southwark Council Planning Committee has approved planning permission for the new stadium and flats, which will involve the construction of a stadium on the Green Dale Astroturf. This is a real blow for the Friends, the local community and all those who've been using the Astroturf over recent months in particular.

However, there's still a possibility of stopping the development. This is because the Mayor of London has the power to direct Southwark Council to refuse planning permission. The Friends of Green Dale have submitted a lengthy representation to the Mayor urging him to use his powers to stop this development and highlighting flaws in the planning committee meeting.

We encourage members to send their own submissions to the Mayor at quoting reference 'Development GLA/0083c/01' as soon as possible. The following are some of the issues you may wish to raise:

- Failure of the planning committee properly to take into account the existing section 106 Agreement entered into when Sainsbury's was built, which requires the existing DHFC ground to be used for sporting, recreational or educational purposes.

- inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land.

- Failure of Southwark Council to investigate properly alternative options, such as a redevelopment of the existing stadium.

- No suitable facilities for many existing users of the Astroturf.

- Failure to take into account the play and recreation needs of the local community.

Green Dale Fields is a unique remnant of a former expanse of playing fields that is now being managed for both wildlife and people following years of neglect and the natural processes of re-wilding. Southwark Council installed accessible paths and benches in 2019 which has hugely increased the number of people using the site for walking, running, cycling and blackberry picking. The area of the proposed development, part of which is astroturf MOL, is well used by children and families for free, informal and inclusive play.

The proposals would result in not only the existing astroturf area being used for a new Football Association’s standard pitch, but also an additional 3016 m2 of land, part of which falls within the new SINC proposed for Green Dale Fields. A high and visually impermeable fence would obstruct long views across the open space and beyond, and significantly impinge on its sense of openness. Public open space proposed by the development is necessarily distributed around the site and would not therefore support the same diverse uses that the current large open space does.

The planners at GLA have advised the Council that “very special circumstances” exist that outweigh the impacts on the openness of MOL, and therefore the proposal could be supported in principle (subject to securing community use and other requirements). They consider that the proposed playing surface itself is an appropriate replacement for the current five a side astroturf pitches, but that the associated fencing and screening is not ‘appropriate development’ due to its harmful impact on the openness of the MOL. They identify the Football Association’s requirement for enclosing the ground with a boundary of at least 1.83m, including measures to restrict viewing from outside the ground, and providing floodlighting to be “very special circumstances” that would outweigh the impacts on the openness of MOL.

We want to achieve a secure and sustainable future for Green Dale, where our vision of a natural open space to benefit wildlife and people is fully achieved. We also want to see a secure and sustainable future for Dulwich Hamlet Football Club.

We oppose the plans to build a new football stadium which would extend onto and enclose part of Green Dale. The proposal includes significant encroachment beyond the area of the current astroturf pitch and would narrow the green corridor from Dog Kennel Hill Wood to Green Dale lane.

Green Dale is Metropolitan Open Land (‘MOL’), which has the same status as Green Belt and is protected from building and enclosure.[1] The proposal would enclose a large section of MOL with a high wall or fence that blocks the openness and landscape value of Green Dale. It would also see the loss of the current astroturf, which is a place for the community to exercise and play.

In recognition of the ecological value of Green Dale as a natural open space, Green Dale is set to be designated by Southwark Council as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. The development risks causing damage to the diverse ecology of the area by encroaching on green space, causing noise and light pollution, and removing protection to birds and bats provided by the tree line next to the existing AstroTurf. The associated increase in footfall to the area causes soil erosion, which is a key contributor to surface water flooding.

We want to see Green Dale managed as a natural open space, without constructed areas such as play equipment and ornamental gardens (except the existing astroturf pitch) and where wildlife can flourish without the intervention of people. We want the current mosaic of diverse habitats to be maintained and a light-touch management approach taken to ensure that biodiversity is preserved and enhanced.