Spa Road regeneration problem?

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Tuesday 4 May 2004 8.42pm
I notice that the Spa Road Gardens have been invaded by caravans and trucks belonging to travelers of some kind. I'm not talking about young kids enjoying an alternative lifestyle but the other more "professional" travelers. Since the first sighting the caravans have multiplied and are now all over the park, not just where the building work is designated to be. I wonder if the following quote from the council's website will come to haunt them.

"The re-development of Spa Gardens is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the Bermondsey Spa regeneration so far. Overlooked by the flats and health centre being developed on site A, the park is being relandscaped by Landscape Architects Broadway Malyan to provide youth and play facilities and a new Sure Start centre. Detailed planning permission has been granted and work is due to start in April."

I hope the council are willing to go on record on this site to say what their proposals are. Or perhaps this is what the council mean by relandscaping?

Tuesday 4 May 2004 8.45pm
Are we talking about the same group of travellers referred to in this discussion in February?

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Tuesday 4 May 2004 8.55pm
Not sure. Previous thread appeared to be dealing with some travelers in just a building site in one corner of the park. My concern is more with the council's plans for regeneration in the light of this occupation.

Wednesday 5 May 2004 8.08am
Walking around the area on Sunday, there was a stream of new arrivals to the 'camp site'. The council have left open the gate off Grange Road and a number of vehicles were pulling in towing caravans.

Didn't seem to be causing any bother though, I'm sure the council will just evict them, after the several months the civil proceedings take.
Wednesday 5 May 2004 1.43pm
They have rather shot themselves in the feet with this. If you take the time to talk to them, they are unsurprisingly quite normal and pleasant people. But sadly they have taken it upon themselves to become a niusance by expanding into the general park.

However, some bright soul knocked down the fence in Alscot Road and this, combined with the inability of Southwark parks to close the gate on Grange Road has led to the further expansion of caravans.

When they were confined to the old carpark area, there was not really any problem apart from the bigotted, small-minded dog walkers whinging about having their dogs stolen (as oppose to the dog walkers who frankly have a brain larger than an ant's bowel, that is). But now the travellers have crossed the line into criminal damage (the lovely grassy land) but the likelihood of anything being done is pretty remote as it appears that the demolition work has already begun.

Wednesday 5 May 2004 5.59pm
I don't know if Southwark has an official traveller site, if not it surely should. I think that the caravanners should realise an open space like this is for the use of all members of a local community and they in fact lost all my sympathy when they expanded into the park's remaining green space. Just imagine the uproar if this had been Hyde Park!! Not sure a little backstreet park in Bermondsey will get much media attention. I just hope it does not unduly hold up the construction of the new medical centre and the proper landscaping process.

Wednesday 5 May 2004 6.14pm
Some information on Southwark's provision for travellers in this report to the planning committee from last year

and a report to the Council's Executive on the position from 18 months ago.

Can't readily find related minutes on Southwark's bloody awful new website.

Thursday 6 May 2004 12.51am
Many thanks to Lang Rabbie for astute searching. It appears Southwark have (or at least had) provided the largest number of traveller pitches of any London borough. It is still not clear to me why they have pitched up here then, in a public park....Although the close proximity to a Southwark Council Housing Office in Spa Road may be a clue?

Thursday 6 May 2004 12.34pm
Do councils have a statutory right to provide sites for travellers? There used to be a site in walworth, now a car parl for east street market...


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