Council U-turn on Church Grove traveller site

Church Grove Photo: Courtesy of residents

After a four year campaign by residents, the proposal for a Traveller site in Church Grove, Ladywell has been rejected by the Mayor of Lewisham.

The decision followed a report which found that the narrow road leading to the site would mean that caravans would have to illegally mount the pavement to gain access.

Lewisham Council have spent £11,000 on the consultation for the site, which previously housed Watergate School.

The council will now need to seek an alternative site within the borough, as they are required to provide suitable accommodation for Travellers under the London plan. It is estimated that there are around 500 Travellers currently living in Lewisham, yet there is no dedicated site.

Church Grove residents had started a campaign against the site, ‘Save Church Grove’ using a blog and twitter account. The proposals had also been the subject of several public meetings since Church Grove was selected out of a possible 41 sites in the borough in 2007.

Residents told EastLondonLines in November that they were considering taking legal action if the site was given the go-ahead.

Lewisham Council’s official website states that: “After considering the results of public consultation and the independent technical report on access, the Mayor decided not to proceed with Church Grove as the preferred site to meet the current accommodation needs of Travellers. The Mayor instructed officers to undertake a further search to identify a suitable site or sites.”

Alexandra Moore on Twitter said: “Just heard the brilliant news @ChurchGrove. 5 years the council has taken to work out caravans won’t fit. About time.”

Jo Pollitt added: “congratulations – welldone [sic] for your hard fight to get travellers an appropriate site – an inspiring example of community”

Leave a Reply