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News and Comment March 2019

Index: 20202021

16 March - Ancient woodland destroyed while Bexley Council stands by powerless to stop it

Garden destructionI think the devastation wreaked on gardens adjacent to the Lesnes Abbey Woods and indeed the woods themselves was first given a public airing here on Bonkers.

From there it went to Belvedere Councillor Sally Hinkley who went around to take a look and she called in Councillor John Davey whose ward it is in. He alerted the Planning Department.

Teresa Pearce MP immediately went to take a look and has lent her support.

Currently the Planning Department appears to be paralysed by the cunning of the rogue developer who has a long track record of circumventing planning law and wrecking the lives of his neighbours.

This week the resident who has the misfortune to live next door to the developer and who was initially fooled by his promises has made a public plea for help.

Bonkers cannot do better than present it to you in full.

Click on the photos to enlarge them and get the best possible view.

Some of you already know about the trouble we have had when a developer purchased the property neighbouring ours. They have destroyed the gently flowing slopes down to the forest, the green garden borders that seamlessly blended into the forest and ripped out the ancient trees. They have excavated the land and created a six metre cliff edge on the other neighbour’s boundary with no protection from falling. They have left our gardens so dangerous, we have to supervise our kids if they play outside.

Lesnes Woods Lesnes WoodsThey have built an enormous concrete raised platform, essentially IN Lesnes Abbey Woods - suitably engineered to put buildings of many storeys in height on top. It looms over the footpath in the woods like a huge monolith and is terribly out of keeping with the gardens around it. Looking out of our windows now is like looking out on a mining operation.

Anyone who has walked in the last six months or so along the south edge of Lesnes Abbey Woods will have seen it – it’s massive, it’s ugly and it overshadows the footpath terribly. Unless we speak up it will stay there.

The council finally put a stop notice on the works and the site has been lying still, our gardens slowly eroding away while not much else happens for months. The developer has now retrospectively applied for planning permission to keep all the existing earthworks and the enormous 300 square metre concrete slab and not repair any of the damage done to the boundaries. The documents they have submitted are a complete work of fiction - suggesting that the concrete structure - that would have cost them upwards of £50k. to pour the concrete and materials - are in fact a base for a lawn! I assume they think we are terribly stupid.

Apart from the horrible situation that this leaves our families in, with the potential that maybe, just maybe, they choose to flout the planning laws again and choose not to put a ‘lawn’ on top of it.... allowing this application to pass without objection will create a precedent to any developer with property on the border of Lesnes Abbey woods to do the same thing. There will be nothing to stop the forest becoming ringed all around with a wall of concrete. Lawns or not.

Unfortunately we are not allowed to object on the basis of what the structure ‘may’ be for, we can only object on what they say they are applying for - however, this is pretty easy as what they have built already is a gross violation of our beautiful forest.

But time is critical!

The first deadline has already passed for objections (13th March), but Bexley Council say they will consider all opinions and objections lodged on the website ‘until they close the application’ whatever that means - so please, please, please, would you consider taking five minutes as soon as you can to go on to the planning portal and registering an objection (if you do?). The sooner you can do this the better. According to the Council, voices really count.

The link to the planning portal is here.

Just enter 238 Woolwich Road in the search box to see the application. It takes five minutes to register, tick some boxes as to why you object and leave a short comment if you wish.

Have a look at the pictures to see what they have done to your forest and our families garden. It’s quite difficult to actually get the scale of the destruction in a few photos, but I think you will get the idea.

Please consider lending your voice to this cause!

Thank you!

Directly related blogs.
2nd October 2018 - The background to this story.
4th October 2018 - Concrete delivery.
9th October 2018 - Bexley Council belatedly marks out the boundary line.
29th January 2019 - Neighbour has to apply for planning permission.
31st January 2019 - Enforcement Notice.
26th February 2019 - Singh makes another planning application.


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