PLASTIC POLLUTION ALERT!
This is the last call to action for those of you supporting the fight against PITP – to write just one more email.
This has been a complicated and controversial planning proposal – so if you’re feeling confused – you can read our 2 minute summary posted at the end of this page.
Where are we now?
We’re now facing the appeal from the original application (2020/2536) to Wandsworth last November for the ‘change of use’ of the Pavilion to a cafe and bar. This remains a key piece of the puzzle for PITP that could allow the whole project to go ahead.
If they can’t get the Pavilion, PITP will most likely walk away – so this bit is really important!
How do we object?
If you do want to object, it requires just one more email to the Inspectorate to let them know you do not support the proposal.
Please write today – the deadline is 12th May.
Send to Stephen Wallis at: firstname.lastname@example.org
quoting reference number 2020/2536
OR: send 3 copies to
The Planning Inspectorate
3C Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Here’s a list of things to include…
1. We are writing to support the Wandsworth Planning Committee in their decision to refuse permission for Putt in the Park to use the Pavilion for their plastic golf course.
2. This will cause a loss of amenity to the neighbourhood from increased noise, light pollution, parking problems and possible anti-social behaviour from the subsequent liquor licence application and from corporate events.
3. There will be a loss of visual and ecological amenity as the current ‘living’ landscape will be substituted for a counterfeit plastic landscape covering two thirds of the greens.
4. We will lose our rights of public access across the Common as the area will be fenced off and we will have to pay to enter.
5. The application has been a misleading ‘piecemeal’ process that does not give a full picture of the whole development. It should be refused and the whole site should require planning permission.
6. The Bowling greens are now registered as ‘Assets of Community Value’ so should not be ‘developed’ and destroyed for private enterprise.
Please do include any and all of your own thoughts – you can just say you don’t like it!
To finish, please say…
We ask the Inspectorate to uphold Wandsworth’s decision and dismiss the appeal.
We can win this fight and we will keep you fully updated.
If you want to help prevent climate change, objecting to this project is a firm step in the right direction.
Lambeth council are about to sign a 15-year lease with ‘Putt in the Park’ to allow them to cover a large area of common land with hardcore and artificial plastic grass.
They are planning to convert the old Bowling Greens, on common land, into a fake mini-golf course as a private commercial enterprise for financial gain.
There has been no public consultation or engagement with the community at large. To date there has been no disclosure from ‘Putt in the Park’ or Lambeth regarding exact quantities of hardcore and plastic grass to be used.
Given that we are in the middle of a climate crisis and we have had a stern reminder just how precious our green spaces truly are, this is a tone-deaf project that must not be allowed to proceed.
We are also suffering a major global pandemic brought about by our negligence, and disrespect for the natural world so the need for change is urgent and we must act now!
The Friends of Clapham Common will be fighting the application for this project at every turn, and we will keep you fully informed of developments and the part you can play!
Please sign our petition
Why it is important
We are in a climate crisis and open green space is the greatest asset we have. We should be planting trees not laying down plastic. Clapham Common belongs to the people, it belongs to us and if this project goes ahead, we will lose access to a special area of the Common.
David Attenborough has made it clear, it’s up to each and every one of us to protect the natural world, make it our number one priority.
You can help by signing this petition.
2 minute summary
How did we get here?
This is a tale of two boroughs – Lambeth and Wandsworth – each having its own rights over different aspects of the application. Half the Common lies within the LB of Lambeth and half within the LB Wandsworth.
Let’s start with Lambeth…
Lambeth has jurisdiction over the everyday running of the whole Common unless planning consent is needed for projects that fall on Wandsworth’s side. In that case, applications have to go to the LB Wandsworth.
In January 2020, Lambeth signed a contract with a private enterprise called Putt in the Park (PITP) giving the go ahead for a mini-golf course under ‘permitted development’ – which means they didn’t need to ask for Wandsworth’s permission even though it’s on their side. There was no credible public consultation and it failed to catch anyone’s attention for the best part of a year – we were all in lockdown! However, PITP also wanted to use the Pavilion next to the bowling greens as a bar and cafe for their customers as well as corporate events, and in order to do this they need to ask Wandsworth for planning/licensing permission.
The whole PITP project hit the headlines and came under scrutiny and Wandsworth received over 150 objections to the proposal. The Friends and local protest groups joined forces to start investigating exactly what the mini-golf course and the attached bar would really entail.
Instead of a simple putting green, we found an enormous new build had been planned for the site. This would include using hundreds of tonnes of compacted hardcore and covering 2000 sq.m of open grassland in 6 tonnes of petrochemical plastic grass – the equivalent weight of half a million carrier bags!
We discovered a phoney set of overstated biodiversity claims – you may have seen these plastered on the side of the Pavilion – which amounted to little more than a shopping list of commonplace plants and shrubs from the local garden centre. No real specialist plants to support our declining invertebrate species.
Similarly, claims that their shallow concrete water feature – really designed to catch golf balls – was a wildlife pond to support frogs and newts also failed to the pass the eco test. Using these tactics to get planning approval is called ‘greenwashing’ and it’s what companies do to convince the public its products are environmentally friendly. The reality being, if the project goes ahead, the landscape would be lost forever.
Now let’s look at Wandsworth…
Last November the application for the Pavilion came before the Wandsworth Planning Committee (2020/2536) and they unanimously rejected the proposal – citing a loss of amenity to the neighbourhood, loss of public rights across the common, concerns over the greens being replaced with plastic and the loss of public use. PITP immediately put in an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate to overturn the decision.
As required by law under the Commons Act, PITP also had to submit an additional application to the Secretary of State in order to ‘build’ on Common land. This now gave us all the opportunity to submit our own letters of objection and to challenge the wider project as a whole (FCC Newsflash – March). A huge ‘thank you’ to all those who wrote in and to our six local Councillors who also wrote letters of objection.
This part of the assessment from the Secretary of State is still ongoing and we won’t know the outcome for several months.
Although addled by the lack of public support, Lambeth has backed itself into a corner as it already signed the preliminary contract with PITP and now can’t entertain alternative suggestions for the site unless PITP decide to walk away – we want you to know there are many other ‘green’ options and proposals for the site.
Given the endless delays and the groundswell of public opinion against the project, PITP’s enthusiasm is waning. It finds its future business reliant on deeply unpopular plastic surfaces and is in the spotlight for accelerating the climate emergency.
We have around 5000 signatories on the petition against the project and the support of six local Councillors. All efforts are now focussed on stopping the appeal going through – the deadline is 12th May.
We have successfully registered the bowling greens as an ‘Asset of Community Value’, which will help in protecting them from development and we are in the process of seeking the same status for the Pavilion.
As governments around the world now mobilise to cut global emissions and climate change issues have become stitched into common consciousness, many people are asking how they can do their bit to save the planet. Well, plastic grass has one of the largest carbon footprints of all exterior surfacing materials, one of the shortest shelf lives and it blocks all carbon storage by preventing trees and shrubs taking root.