Steve e-mailed me to say that the MoD has closed the footpath next to the former Cottage Hospital on Shooters Hill, without any consultation and at very short notice. There is a notice about the closure of the footpath at one end of the footpath which has been completely blocked with fencing at each end.
Just to let you know about a permanent footpath closure next to the Red Lion Lane bus stop and the former Castle Wood Day Hospital, now social housing just below Red Lion Lane on Shooters Hill.
Closure took effect on Monday 4 February and was done without any public consultation. The footpath is well established and I first saw a notice about closure on Friday 1 February.
The notice which is from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation gave the phone number 020 8781 3157 for the Estates Team Leader. The reason for closure is litter and nuisance to residents on the M.O.D. estate; also the footpath is on land owned by the M.O.D. but then so too is Woolwich Common!
The litter problem is not new and could be dealt with by the M.O.D./Greenwich Council and the Neighbourhood Watch could address any nuisance issues.
Followers of e-shootershill might want to challenge this decision and get it reversed.
The blocked path is shown on the Google Map snippet below. As Steve says it is an established path, frequently used by members of the public. My rambles round the area often include the path as part of an alternative to Red Lion Lane. This way down to the bottom of Red Lion Lane near the Shooters Hill Campus has a very open, rural feel and passes close to the embankment of the former miniature rifle range shown in the 1914 OS map of the area. Although it is MoD land it is open to the public at both ends and the path closure won’t prevent general access to the area. Quite a lot of land in the area is MoD owned, including Woolwich Common.
I tried a number of times to get through to the Estates Team Leader on 020 8781 3157, but always got an answerphone. However I did manage to talk to Chris at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation via their Aldershot office. He explained that the path had been closed because of nuisance caused to local residents by schoolchildren gathering there after school – it had become a local meeting place – and there were also concerns about food and litter dropped there. They had checked their records and confirmed that the path was privately owned by the MoD and had consulted the local council before putting up a notice saying the path would be closed. He also pointed out that Red Lion Lane provided a nearby alternative route.
If we want to express concern about the closure and ask for the path to be reopened we can do so via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can always contact local MP Clive Efford on email@example.com. I have an increasing collection of letters from Clive on House of Commons headed note paper so I’ll be interested to hear what he thinks about this.