Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Residents' anger at Norwood Park Eyesore



Angry residents in Gipsy Hill, South London, gathered in Norwood Park on Saturday January 8, to protest against a proposed Network Rail mast, fearing it will ruin the protected views of the London skyline.

Frustrated by a lack of consultation, residents on Gipsy Road have started a Stop the Mast Campaign and are urging Network Rail to halt its plans and find an alternative location.

The communications mast, which will be up to 24 metres tall and tower over nearby houses and trees, is planned for the end of January.

Hippolyte Grigg, Chairman of the Friends of Norwood Park said, “I have two issues. Number one, what extent is it going to impinge on the views from the ridge of the park? The second is damage to the original oak tree, right next to it; and what extent this construction has already damaged the roots of that tree. The trees are listed, they are protected and unless they are diseased they should not be cut down.”

Norwood Park offers panoramic views of London from one of the highest points in Lambeth and the mast will be situated less than a metre from the park perimeter. The view from Norwood Park was designated a ‘protected view’ in 1986, by what is now the Greater London Authority, and a plaque in the park marks this.

Lambeth Council’s Unitary Development Plan states, “Permission will not be granted for developments which detract from important views, backdrops or settings” and specifically lists Norwood Park as being one of those views.

Surprisingly, Network Rail does not have to obtain planning permission from Lambeth Council to install the mast as it has Permitted Development Rights, which allows it to develop the land it owns where it deems it ‘necessary’ for the running of the railway.

Residents living on Gipsy Road and Finch Avenue are also worried the view from their properties. Stephen Hodge’s house will overlook the mast. “Network Rail seem to have chosen the location because of the access, without thinking about how close it will be to people’s houses, he said.”

Bowing to the pressure of the campaign, Network Rail has now promised to meet residents before it installs the mast. Nick Gray, head of Customer relations at Network Rail said, “we are planning to hold a drop in information session for residents in the near future. Project staff will be available to answer any questions about the Mast.” The meeting will be held at Kingswood School on Gipsy Road on Tuesday January 18, between 4pm and 8pm. 

This is not the first time Network Rail has faced the fury of residents. In 2010, protesters in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, successfully prevented a rail mast being erected, using their cars to block access to the site.

Mr Musing
What do you think?

1 comment:

Darren Ingram said...

There is now a Stop The Norwood Park Mast blog page where you can find out more information about the planned mast. Http://stopthenorwoodparkmast.blogspot.com

Also please sign the petition here at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopnetworkrailspoilingourenvironment/

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