QWAG were not consulted over some of the key issues that affect the rivers. And QWAG’s request for an extra four metres for the Quaggy would not compromise any of the objectives of the scheme.
Following the publication of an article in the Mercury three weeks ago – see “Pressure growing for redesign of waterway vision” (26th July 2006) – Matthew Blumler questions statements from the Lewisham Gateway developer and Lewisham council made in response. His letter, published in today’s Mercury is reproduced in full below.
We wish to question statements from the developer and Lewisham council, and to show that this project can achieve one of its key aims – “Making an attractive feature of the rivers, – and bringing them back to life.”
The developer suggested QWAG were consulted over the rivers. QWAG were not consulted over the following key issues that affect the rivers:
1. removal of green space alongside the Quaggy and Ravensbourne river
2. increased covering over of the Ravensbourne river
The developer is proposing to remove Quaggy gardens, the pub garden alongside the Quaggy river and Charlottenburg gardens. Although these green spaces are currently of low quality, their position represents potential high quality restored river environment.
QWAG were also not consulted over:
3. the proposed movement of Lewisham High Street nearer to the Quaggy river
Four requests from QWAG for information on this key issue were ignored.
In your article Lewisham Council claimed, without explanation, that QWAG’s request for an extra four metres for the Quaggy would “severely compromise other objectives … and the deliverability of the scheme.” QWAG are asking for a mere 400 square metres of green space, a tiny amount compared to what is being taken away. It would not compromise any of the objectives of the scheme.
Lewisham Councils own planning brief for this development included the following objective:
1.16 Making an attractive feature of the rivers, which are unique to Lewisham, by uncovering them where possible and bringing them back to life, ensuring they become an integral, attractive, living part of the public realm and not a nuisance or barrier”.
Yet the plan proposes covering more of the rivers, removing green space alongside them and moving the road closer. It proposes only one short improvement at the confluence.
QWAG are trying to help by suggesting a minor change that would enable substantial improvements to the rivers. If the developer and Lewisham Council are serious about the objectives of this scheme then we hope they will take part in a meeting involving all the players in an open and constructive atmosphere.