No response by 11am today from Lewisham’s Greenscene Department, so here is my Freedom of Information application to Lewisham. I’ve also written to the Appeal committee in relation to the hoarding to request that their decision is deferred until Lewisham Council provide the FOI response.
Very disappointed that Vince Buchanan [Greenscene Manager] didn’t respond. However, it’s a probable indicator that Lewisham’s maintenance contracts with the private company owner of the original whole site may reveal the ‘quid pro quo’ terms that the ‘Green’ should be kept open to the public when Lewisham Council originally agreed to maintain the whole site. With luck, a legal easement on the same terms should have been registered on the Title Deeds.
Anyway, the ball rolls to the next procedural step and Lewisham’s response now will be the end goal. Post up your comments.
Dear London Borough of Lewisham [“LBL”],
Background relating to this publicly accessible/open green space
Duncombe Hill ‘Green’ is privately owned land and yet it has been maintained by LBL/Glendale over many years. Last year , part of the land was sold off to another private company, which has applied for planning permission to build flats and has erected hoarding around their land,without obtaining planning permission, to exclude public access.
No decision has yet been reached in respect of the planning application for building or in relation to the company’s Appeal against LBL’s decision that the hoarding needs to be removed.
Therefore, a significant part of what was publicly accessible/open green space is currently lost to public access.
Prior to my Freedom of Information application, I have contacted Vince Buchanan [LBL’s Greenscene manager] on 3rd, 5th and 7th July 2019 to request a copy of any relevant contractual agreements entered into between LBL and the private company owners of the entire site made prior to the ‘Sale of Part’ of the ‘Green’ in 2018 relating to the terms by which LBL agreed to maintain the ‘Green’ at public expense.
It is likely that these contracts will reveal whether, or not, any private owner of any part of the ‘Green’ are bound to keep their respective share of the ‘Green’ as publicly accessible/open green space and may indicate that a legal easement was registered on the Title Deeds on similar terms.
As such, it is in the public interest for LBL to release all information relating to its maintenance contracts, so that the public can comprehend whether, or not, the ‘Green’ should remain open to the public as green space and, if shown to be the case, then to be in a position to best guide LBL’s planning team in relation to their expected decisions on both the hoarding Appeal and the application to build on part of the site.
Mr Vince Buchanan’s response to me on 5th July 2019 failed to outline anything other than the current level of maintenance, which is now reduced to the area around the linkway footpath from Duncombe Hill to Brockley Rise, and my further clarification request for copies of LBL’s maintenance contracts have gone unanswered by the end of my reasonably extended deadline of 11am, 9th July 2019.
I did outline to Mr Buchanan that the information request was especially urgent given the possible, imminent decision of both the current planning application and hoarding Appeal. He did not indicate to me that my advanced timescale was unreasonable.
Therefore, I have followed and exhausted the correct procedure to contact the relevant LBL department prior to this FOI application.
My request for Freedom of Information from LBL
- I request copies of any relevant contractual agreements entered into between LBL and the private company owners of the entire site made prior to the ‘Sale of Part’ of the ‘Green’ in 2018 relating to the terms by which LBL agreed to maintain the ‘Green’ at public expense.
- I request copies of any known, relevant documentation of any Land Registry restriction placed on the Title Deeds of the privately owned Duncombe Hill ‘Green’ plot and resulting from the contractual consequences of LBL agreeing to maintain the ‘Green’.
Kindly indicate your response timescale.
Mr Austen Jones