Clearance of the Victorian Reservoir between Honor Oak Road and Canonbie Street, Forest Hill

The construction of the Honor Oak Road covered service reservoir was completed in 1887, and since then, this one-hectare site, enclosed by houses on Canonbie Road, Horniman Drive, Rocombe Crescent and Liphook Crescent, has remained an undisturbed green space and a haven for wildlife. But at the beginning of December 2020, the owner started to remove topsoil from the covered reservoir and undergrowth from the remainder of the site, using mechanised equipment.

The reservoir before clearance

The owner, who also owns the land at 116 Canonbie Road, purchased the disused reservoir site in 1995 from Thames Water, and has thus far submitted two planning applications for development:

  • Planning Application (1995) refused by Lewisham Council in 1996)
  • Planning Application (1998) refused by Lewisham Council (1999) and at appeal (1999)
The reservoir after clearance

Friends of the Great North Wood, the London Wildlife Trust and the London Ecology Unit all supported the preservation of this sizeable green space, culminating in the Council designating the land as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). Our community generated a high volume of objections to the owner’s proposals, citing the negative impact on this specially recognised site as well as on the local environment, and specifically in respect of traffic at the precarious junction of Honor Oak Road and Canonbie Road, close to Fairlawn School. Petitions against the first and last of these proposed developments each contained more than 500 signatures.

The Association will continue to closely monitor the situation.

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