When Charlton Community Gardens was first set up we had identified the vacant open space on Highcombe as the ideal location for a community garden for the area. The former school playing fields have been empty for more than 20 years and despite our best efforts, the owners – the Diocese of Southwark – have not been willing to open the space up for community use.
We discovered last week that a planning application has been submitted for the site by the Diocese to relocate and expand Our Lady of Grace Primary School onto the empty site on Highcombe which is designated as Community Open Space in the Local Plan. Access to the new school would be via Lime Kiln Drive. The current site of the school on Charlton Road would be redeveloped for housing.
The planning application can be found on the Council’s website – the reference no. is 13/2692/L.
CCG is currently looking at the application in detail to see how to respond. Our initial view though is that the proposals as they stand give us very little accessible or usable space on which to create a community garden as we had originally envisaged.
We hope that you will be able to take the time to look at the planning application – the proposed site plan and the Design and Access Statement are probably the documents to start with.
The deadline in which to make a response is by 24th December. If you want to support us in our efforts to ensure that some of the space is protected for accessible community space, ideally a community garden and growing space, then please join our mailing list and we will circulate more information shortly about what you can do.