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  • hilly 3:41 pm on May 10, 2013
    Tags: , , oxleas woods, ,   

    Protected Prospects 

    Snippet from Draft Core Strategy showing local views

    Snippet from Draft Core Strategy showing local views

    The Greenwich Draft Core Strategy policy protecting local views has been inherited almost unchanged from its predecessor, the Unitary Development Plan. As well as the two “strategic views” of St. Paul’s Cathedral from Greenwich Park and Blackheath Point it provides protection for 11 specified local views, listed below, which are deemed essential to the character of the borough, especially where they include the River Thames and its banks.

    Policy DH(g) Local Views
    Planning permission will be given for development which would not have a materially adverse effect on the overall perspective and essential quality of the Local Views as listed below and as identified on Map 1:
    1. Shooter’s Hill to Central London;
    2. Shrewsbury Park towards the Lower Thames;
    3. Castlewood towards S.E. London;
    4. Eaglesfield Recreation Ground towards Bexley and the Lower Thames;
    5. Eltham Park (North) to Central London;
    6. Winns Common to the Lower Thames;
    7. Thames side panorama from the Thames Barrier open space;
    8. St. Mary’s Churchyard towards Mast Pond Wharf and beyond;
    9. Docklands panorama from the Wolfe Monument;
    10. King John’s Walk to Central London;
    11. Millennium Dome from Central Park.
    12. Others as set out in the Conservation Area Appraisals

    Number 12 is the only addition to the list in the Unitary Development Plan.

    The first four views on the list are from various points on Shooters Hill. Number 1, Shooters Hill to Central London, is the breathtaking view,  now dominated by the distant Shard, towards the iconic skyline of London.  I think the panorama is best seen as  it is gradually revealed  from the upper deck of a number 89 bus, with the Shard and BT Tower first, followed by the emerging Walkie-Talkie and Cheese Grater as you go down the hill.

    A similar view, and one I find more impressive even though it isn’t listed in the Core Strategy, is that from the top of Occupation Lane towards Central London. Here the horizon stretches from the Strata SE1 building via the London Eye, Guys, the Shard, BT Tower, City of London buildings such as the Walkie-Talkie, Cheese Grater, and Gherkin round to Canary Wharf’s ever multiplying set of towers. I’m looking forward to the reopening of Severndroog Castle, the panoramic view from the top is just amazing.

    View from Shooters Hill to Central London

    View from Shooters Hill to Central London

    There are several views from Shrewsbury Park towards the Lower Thames (number 2 on the list). Up at the top of the hill, looking north-west-ish there is a long view over towards Abbey Wood, Dagenham and the rolling hills of Essex beyond. Further round, on the Rowton Road side just up the hill from the allotments there’s the prospect of Woolwich shown below. Over to the left the new, strangely decorated, Tesco-fronted monolith of Woolwich Central has started to spoil the view. To the mid-right the towers over the Crossrail station box are growing, and someday approximately in the centre of the view will be the 21-storey towers of the Berkeley Homes’ Royal Arsenal development.

    Will this have a “materially adverse effect on the overall perspective and essential quality” of the view? Clearly the Council Planning Committee don’t think so.

    View from Shrewsbury Park towards Woolwich and the Thames

    View from Shrewsbury Park towards Woolwich and the Thames

    From the map I think Local View number 3, Castlewood towards S.E. London, is the superb wide-open misty vista, pictured below,  from the Oxleas Cafe over a wide area of south-east London and Kent, towards Sidcup and Orpington. Then there’s the fourth protected view, Eaglesfield Recreation Ground towards Bexley and the Lower Thames, eastwards in the direction of the Dartford Crossing.

    View from Oxleas Cafe towards South-east London and Kent

    View from Oxleas Cafe towards South-east London and Kent

    View from Eaglesfield Park towards Bexley and the Lower Thames

    View from Eaglesfield Park towards Bexley and the Lower Thames

    Should more local views be protected? Does the policy condition that a development should not have a  “materially adverse effect on the overall perspective and essential quality” of a view make it clear what’s acceptable?  We have until midnight on the 14th May to comment on the Greenwich Draft Core Strategy, which will guide all planning decisions until 2027. This can be done through the council’s consultation portal, or by e-mail to planning-policy@royalgreenwich.gov.uk (ensure you add “in response to Royal Greenwich Core Strategy and Development Management Policies”  in the subject section), or by using the council’s representation form.

    My favourite views from Shooters Hill are the those I can see from my bedroom window, especially the dramatically colourful sunsets over the city such as the one shown below, and the different but equally dramatic colours when the sunrise catches canary wharf’s towers. I don’t think the Planning Inspectorate will allow that in the Core Strategy.

    Sunset from Shooters Hill

    Sunset from Shooters Hill

     
  • hilly 5:47 pm on April 27, 2013
    Tags: , oxleas woods, ,   

    Wildlife & Woodlands Walks 

    Wood Anenomes in Oxleas Wood

    Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood

    Spring has sprung at last and our green spaces are shooting and blooming. Parts of Oxleas Wood are carpeted with Wood Anemones, and the first Bluebells have appeared. Next Sunday, 5th May, there are two opportunities to enjoy a walk in our woodlands guided by experts.

    In the morning, starting at 10.15am Woodlands Farm are hosting a Late Spring Wildlife Walk. As their poster says:

    Sunday 5th May 2013 10.15am – 12.30pm
    Winter was not behind us when we had our last spring walk. But at last the blossom is out in the hedgerows and lambing is finished! So put a spring in your step and enjoy a community countryside and wildlife walk around Woodlands Farm. Led by members of the Woodlands Farm Trust. Please wear appropriate clothing including sensible footwear. The walk will probably be a bit challenging for buggies but supervised children are very welcome.
    £1 per person (under 18’s free)
    Free for farm volunteers and members
    Meet at the Education Centre
    The Woodlands Farm Trust
    331 Shooters Hill, Welling, Kent DA16 3RP
    Website: http://www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
    Email: wildlife@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
    Tel: 020 8319 8900

    Late Spring Wildlife Walk Poster

    Then in the afternoon, meeting at 2.00pm at the Oxleas Cafe, there’s a Bluebell Walk guided by the London Wildlife Trust. If it’s anything like last year’s walk participants will learn about much more of the flora and fauna of Oxleas Wood than just the Bluebells. It is expected that the walk will last 1 to 2 hours, but participants can join or leave at any time.

    Bluebell Walk Poster

    Those who have lots of energy could do both walks, maybe fortified by a bacon butty from the Oxlea Wood Cafe.

    Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood

    Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood

     
  • hilly 4:30 pm on May 4, 2012
    Tags: , , oxleas woods   

    Oxleas Meadows Missiles 

    Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadows

    Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadows

    A battery of Rapier surface-to-air missiles together with other components of a Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) System was set up on Oxleas Meadows, just below the Oxlea Wood  Cafe this morning as part of the MoD’s exercise Olympic Guardian. The exercise to test security preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games also includes deployment of a similar GBAD System on Blackheath, the berthing of the Royal Navy’s largest ship, HMS Ocean, at Greenwich and activity by helicopters, jets and other military hardware in and over the royal borough.

    The Blackheath Bugle blog has a good set of links to news items explaining how the GBAD systems on Blackheath would be used. The campaign against the missiles – No Missiles in Oxleas Wood – have a Facebook page with details of their campaign. Their letter from the MoD about the deployment says that the MoD have taken advice from Natural England over any measures they would need to take to protect the Oxleas Wood Site of Special Scientific Interest. It doesn’t specifically mention the Corky Fruited Water Dropwort, but I hope that will  be covered as I’m looking forward to some dropwort spotting later in the year.

    The recently launched Oxleas Wood web site says that the deployment is part of an MoD Community Engagement Day and that local residents can express their concerns between 4.00 and 6.00pm today.

    The Olympic Guardian exercise runs from 2nd to 10th May, so it’s possible the GBAD system will still be on Oxleas Meadows when the Bluebell Walk convenes on Sunday. In the meantime here’s some more photographs.

    Update: I’ve just wandered over to Oxleas Wood  again and the missile battery will be open for members of the public to have a look round and ask any questions until 7.00pm this evening. The armed forces personnel were very friendly and open to answering questions, describing the different parts of the battery, explaining their manning routine if the missiles are deployed  and even letting me manouver the missiles using their fall-back manual aiming system. They mentioned that the decision on whether the GBAD system would be deployed during the Olympics was still open. The battery will be in place until Monday, so there will be an additional attraction for people on the Bluebell Walk, as well as the bluebells and Woodlands Farm.

    Missile Battery and Oxleas Cafe

    Missile Battery and Oxleas Cafe

    Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadows

    Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadows

    Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadows

    Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadows

     
  • hilly 5:02 pm on May 2, 2012
    Tags: , , oxleas woods,   

    Bluebell Walk in Oxleas Wood on Sunday 

    Bluebell Walk PosterThere’s a great opportunity to see the bluebells in Oxleas Wood  this Sunday, 6th May when the London Wildlife Trust have arranged a Bluebell Walk. The walk will be led by Mary O’Sullivan of the LWT and Dr Barry Gray, who is Chair of the Trustees of Woodlands Farm. It is expected that the walk will last 1 to 2 hours, but people can join or leave at any time. It starts at 2.15pm (meet at 2.00pm) at the Oxleas café and finishes opposite Woodlands farm on Shooters Hill Road, so there’s a chance to visit the farm and see their new lambs as well.

     
  • hilly 9:20 pm on July 23, 2011
    Tags: oxleas woods,   

    The Secret Market 

    If you’re looking for something to do tomorrow, there may still be a chance to see the Secret Market, a play put on by Greenwich Theatre in Oxleas Woods. Allocating free tickets significantly reduced the scope of the production (no effects, no musicians, minimal scenery and props), but the production nonetheless comes close to filling the large shoes left vacant by London Bubble, who appear to have been a casualty of the cuts in the Arts Council portfolio, yet have become much loved for turning South East London’s green spaces into a roving auditorium.

    One good thing about the show is that incorporates the castle, which it is pleasing to report has recently moved a step closer to being re-opened to the public. Whilst it may still be a short while before the restoration begins in earnest, it’s still encouraging to hear on the grapevine that things are coming along, and the trust, council, and heritage lottery fund are working together towards one goal.

     
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