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Deptford campaigners occupy threatened community space

A MUCH-LOVED south London community garden that is threatened with destruction has been occupied by local people in a bid to stop the council from carrying out its plan.

Local residents took over Tidemill Wildlife Garden, in Deptford, yesterday morning to prevent Lewisham Council from boarding up the site

Since 2015, campaigners from the Save Tidemill group have argued against the council’s plans. They have also opposed proposals to demolish 16 council flats at Reginald House, adjacent to the garden.

Eighty per cent of the flats’ residents do not want to move, but they have not been offered a say through a ballot. The garden occupation is also in support of the residents’ right to keep their homes, campaigners said.

They complained that the council has refused to listen to their opposition to the plans, arguing that the area could accommodate the same number of homes without any existing residents being removed.

Following a legal campaign to halt the development, the campaign has now filed papers for a judicial review of the local authority’s decision.

The court has requested that the council refrain from taking decisive action until at least September 4, when the case for the gardens will be considered in court, as well as the case for a potential future court date over the protection of the garden.

Greater London Assembly member Len Duval, who backs the campaign, said he supported the building of more rented social housing, adding: “What I do take issue with is the cavalier way in which the housing crisis is being used to justify the disposal of open green space in the borough.”

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