Monday, October 02, 2006

Management Plan for Westcombe Woodlands

The Woodlands are currently in the ownership of the Blackheath Woodlands Company, a company set up and owned by the Blackheath Preservation Trust. They are 3.6 acres in size, and were acquired from the Regional Health Authority in the 1970s. The Health Authority owned the Nurses Home in Restell Close to the north of the site. This land has recently been acquired by the developers Laing O’Rourke who have planning permission to demolish the present buildings and develop flats on the site.

The woods were historically used for quarrying sand and gravel, although in the latter part of the 19th Century the flatter areas of the woods were laid out to gardens and allotments. Some of the finer trees in the woods are probably attributable to this period. The last house on the site, called The Woodlands, was demolished in the early part of the 20th century.

The Blackheath Preservation Trust (BPT) approached Tim Barnes, the Chairman of the Greenwich Society and Dick Allard, Chairman of the Westcombe Society in April 2006 with a view to disposing of the woodlands, and involving the 2 local amenity societies and other local interests in their acquisition.

For full details of the Westcombe Society/Greenwich Society proposal for the Woodlands, please visit;

Westcombe Society
Full Management Plan (in PDF format - requires Acrobat Reader)

All comments are welcome....!

1 comment:

Eeyore said...

SOCIETIES LOSE THE WOODLANDS

Early in October, the BPT (Blackheath Preservation Trust) informed the Greenwich and Westcombe Societies that they were giving preferred bidder status for The “Westcombe” Woodlands to a group of local residents, in preference to the Greenwich and Westcombe Societies. Despite a robust response from the Societies, that decision remains.

The Westcombe News for November 2006 also publishes a letter from the BPT giving their perspective on the negotiations with the two Societies. On their final point, the Society are happy to acknowledge that they are only winding 'down', and not, as stated in the October article, winding 'up' - we stand corrected.

However, in no other respect can the Westcombe Society accept that the article was in any way misleading or inaccurate. For example, take the BPT's argument that a deadline six months after the original offer was reasonable. This might carry weight had any such timescale been mentioned at the start. Instead, the first statement of concern with the final date came on June 21, and the first deadline, announced on July 12, was for a “formal offer without reservations” by September 13. At the best of times, obtaining consent from Westcombe Society members would have taken at least 4 weeks, so that the combined process of formulating satisfactory proposals and obtaining consent over the two summer months was never a practicable proposition, whilst the subsequent deadline of just 8 days was self-evidently impossible. For our part, the Westcombe Society have consistently indicated not only why they needed until December, but also that they were prepared to accept December as a final deadline. In sharp contrast the BPT were completely unwilling to provide any reasons either as to why that December deadline was unacceptable or why they only started to emphasise their own deadlines nearly 3 months into the process.

The Societies are deeply disappointed at BPT’s decision, as they strongly believe that their proposals were in the best interests of the area as a whole.

Reported on behalf of the Chair of the Westcombe Society in advance of the printed article in the Westcombe News issue of November 2006.