BY CALUM FRASER
Campaigners are calling on town hall chiefs to ballot residents on plans to demolish a social housing block and build on a community garden.
The Save Tidemill (ST) residents group demonstrated outside Lewisham town hall on Tuesday against plans to demolish Reginald House in Reginald Road, Deptford, which has 16 social housing units. The scheme, by Family Mosaic housing association and developers Sherrygreen Homes, would also mean the demolition of the former school caretaker’s house in Frankham Street and the loss of 80 per cent of the Old Tidemill community garden.
Reginald House residents have been told verbally they will be able to move into the new homes but are unhappy about the scheme.
Pauline Wamuny, who has lived in Reginald Road since 1995, said: “To threaten us with demolition is taking away my life. The community here are my brothers and sisters. This is the family I know. It is the only place I know.”
Land to the north of Reginald Road and south of Frankham Street is set to be used for 209 flats – including 80 with one bedroom, 95 with two, 26 with three and eight with four.
The garden had been part of the Old Tidemill School, before it academised and the children were moved to a new building in Deptford High Street.
The community started running events and maintaining the garden in 2012.
Luciana Duailibe, of Deptford, helps to maintain the park with her eight-year-old daughter, Talia Silva.
She said: “My daughter was up all night crying after we heard the news. It’s such a beautiful place. “We’ve even started having newts in the pond.
“It’s all going to be lost. But I am ready to fight.”
Resident groups, Deptford’s Neighbourhood Forum DNA and ST, submitted an independent planning application, that would have protected the 2,400sqm garden.
But planning permission for Family Mosaic and Sherrygreen Homes scheme was passed in September 2017.
These plans were condemned by three Greater London Assembly members – Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, Labour’s Len Duvall and the Greens’ Caroline Russell.
They urged London Mayor Sadiq Khan to call in the decision. But Mayor Khan snubbed this call in a GLA meeting on Monday.
Mr Duvall, assembly member for Greenwich & Lewisham, said: “This decision means the Tidemill Gardens, a community resource which has been going for more than 30 years, will be lost forever.
“This did not need to happen. A reconfiguration of the scheme was proposed by the Save Tidemill Campaign Group and would have delivered the same number of units and saved the community gardens.
“Lewisham council, Peabody (formerly Family Mosaic) and other development partners decided not to back the revised scheme and go the extra mile to save this community asset. The Mayor of London has endorsed their decision, but it will lead to a loss of accessible community space.”
But Mayor Khan’s report on Monday did urge Lewisham council to ballot the residents.
The report said: “In line with his Good Practice Guide the Mayor wants to see ballots used as widely as possible, and so he would urge the landlord of this scheme to undertake one.”
A spokeswoman for Lewisham council said: “Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, and Cllr Paul Bell, Cabinet Member for Housing, met with members of the Save Old Tidemill residents’ group on Tuesday to talk about their concerns. Our priority is to meet our target of delivering 1,000 additional social homes for the people of Lewisham. We will consider what residents said to us on Tuesday and we will seek to meet residents again in due course.”
We contacted Family Mosaic but did not receive a response by the time we went to print.