A letter from the London Wildlife Trust’s Director of Conservation, Mathew Frith has revealed concerns about the controversial Mais House planning application on Sydenham Hill.

The expert biodiversity and environment charity says that there was no evidence to support the statement of ‘no residual effects’ to the ancient woodland on Sydenham Hill ‘nor are the measures sufficient to safeguard Dulwich & Sydenham Hill Woods’ in the plans.

The letter specifically states that the London Wildlife Trust requests that a detailed lighting strategy is undertaken as soon as possible so that the impact of the proposed development on the woodland and its wildlife – especially bats, protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) – bats are known to roost in the area. Other protected species like stag beetles are known to this site.

Questions of the exact height have been raised and the London Wildlife Trust makes the point: “If the wooded skyline of the Sydenham Ridge is to be preserved, as set out in Lewisham’s development framework, then the height of the building requires further reduction so that it no longer forms a visual marker competing with the wooded skyline. It seems paradoxical that the Heritage Statement boasts that it will ignore Lewisham policy in respect of the Sydenham Ridge.”

The Friends of Mais House, who launched two Judicial Reviews into the planning process, said that they had not been aware of the existence of this letter from the London Wildlife Trust which expressed “serious concerns about the applications” at the time of the controversial planning decisions.

They said: “Although the London Wildlife Trust had recorded on Lewisham’s online comments system that they had emailed Lewisham Planning a letter of objection, that email was not read by Lewisham Council’s Planning and therefore not taken into account or its existence made known to the Planning Committees.”

The full letter can be read below now


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