Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Become A Friend of Mycenae Gardens

Following earlier unsuccessful efforts in 2008 to set up a ‘Friends of Mycenae Gardens’ Group to support and protect this much treasured local amenity, a meeting will be held at Mycenae House at 19.30 on 20th January to try again to establish such a group. For more details, see

Unlike other local open spaces such as the East Greenwich Pleasaunce, there is currently no support group to represent the users and help protect and support Mycenae Gardens. There was also no such representative on the Woodlands Working Party that monitored the changes to the site when the new Garden House flats were under construction.

Mycenae Gardens are located in what the Council defined in the 2006 Unitary Development Plan (UDP) as a Public Open Space Deficiency Area. The Gardens were also defined as Community Open Space (though this protection was removed from part of the gardens in 2006). Moreover, the Gardens were designated in the UDP as a site of Nature Conservation Importance.

In a consultation document in 2003, the Council described the gardens as "...a well used and much treasured oasis used by local people and Mycenae House users alike. They are ideal for wedding parties, picnics, informal children’s games &c". The Council proposed a small development, either on the an unused corner of the Gardens or in the Woodlands Dell, the proceeds of which would be ploughed back to finance improvements such as an additional storey to the Gardener’s Retreat to provide an artists studio and a gallery.

All this should have given the gardens considerable protection. But instead, the Council sold part of the gardens for a much larger development, using the proceeds primarily to finance new office buildings in Woolwich.

Mycenae Gardens continue to face other potential threats. The council has resisted repeated efforts to register them as a Town or Village Green (for which they seem to meet all the criteria). This would protect the gardens for public use in perpetuity. Instead, the Council has reserved the right to add more new buildings anywhere it chooses in the Gardens.

So the establishment of a 'Friends of Mycenae Gardens' group, to try to protect them from such developments for the benefit of the local community, seems highly desirable. But if everyone leaves it to others, nothing may be done. Please support this initiative by attending the inaugural meeting at Woodlands House (Steiner School) on Thursday 20th January, not in Mycenae House as previously advertised.

Please note the change of venue to respect the needs of those with disabilities.

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