Friday, December 12, 2008

Rights of Way between Charlton & Old Dover Roads

In 2004, the Greenwich Area Planning and Environment Committee decided, in response to requests from residents of Schofield Walk and elsewhere in the vicinity, to reject the application by Hexagon Housing Association to close the Rights of Way for cyclists, pedestrians and mobility scooters between Charlton and Old Dover Roads. As no local residents favoured closure, the Westcombe Society, along with other local amenity groups, supported that decision. Subsequently, however, Hexagon took unilateral action to flout the decision by illegally building walls to block these long-established rights of way (which the Council described as ‘pivotal’).

After this was reported in Westcombe News, readers’ letters showed that opinion in the area was sharply divided over the closure. The Society therefore campaigned for the Council to carry out a full consultation before deciding what to do next. When that consultation took place, the Society informed the Council that it did not propose to take a position on the proposal to close the rights of way, but would await clarification of possible diversion routes.

The Council has now informed the Society that it had received a number of objections to the closure of the rights of way, and that there was no doubt that the existing routes provide quick and easy access to a range of local shops and that their segregation from nearby roads offered a quieter and safer journey. It seems no lawful alternative diversion routes have been found, and the Committee will therefore need to decide what to do next, at a public meeting next year.

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