SAHWG PUBLIC MEETING SUMMARY, HELD AT ELTHAM WARREN GOLF CLUB, 7.30PM MONDAY 21.10.19
Over 100 people attended the SAHWG public meeting on Monday evening, expressing the depth of their interest in, and concern for, the future of the Winter Garden and the wider Mansion site. This summarises the main points made at that meeting under the three headings we used in our response to the Council's consultation exercise.
1) Saving the Winter Garden
The meeting welcomed the considerable progress made since the last public meeting held in July 2017. The Council is well advanced in its negotiations to take back ownership of the Winter Garden, and you have been eminently successful in persuading the University of Greenwich to make a significant financial contribution to support its restoration and development. The meeting received positively the news that the Council is committed to working with local residents and community groups, as well as experts, in bringing the heritage assets back into sustainable use and in developing a plan of action to maximise their potential. The meeting felt that the success of the Winter Garden in the future would be determined by its impact and utility as a historical, cultural, recreational, educational and events asset. Members of the audience argued for community representation, alongside appropriate experts, on a Winter Garden-specific trust, if that were to be the vehicle for future governance and management.
2) Links with the Historic Mansion Site
The meeting pressed the need for a physical and integrated connection between the Winter Garden and the listed parts of the Mansion site, allowing public access to, and community use of, their proud heritage. This linkage would need to transcend the impending split in ownership between the Winter Garden, on the one hand, and the Mansion site, on the other, with the implications of that split for future planning and management. The meeting recognised the imperative for SAHWG to be involved in the maximum level of pre-application consultation, both with the DfE and the Council, so that the case for the Winter Garden's linkage with the listed features of the Mansion site is presented and addressed at the earliest possible stage.
3) Impact of the school on the heritage of the historic Mansion site and the integrity of the park
Local residents expressed deep apprehension about the impact of increased traffic, inevitably caused by the location of the new school, on local parking conditions (the problems are currently massive, with one school already located in the immediate vicinity). The meeting raised the potential problem of access to Avery Hill park, given that the main access road from Bexley Road cuts directly through the space to be developed by the school. Those present argued that the design and construction of the school should be in harmony with the historic buildings and the ambience of the site. The meeting articulated its misgivings over frequent or daily usage of quality heritage assets by young students and the inevitable damage to these over time.
SAHWG and local residents look forward to working closely with the Council on the way forward.
All parks have a great history, created as public open, green spaces by visionary men and women for the people to enjoy.