After the Burr Farm bomb was lobbed into the park sales arena last Thursday
the action, as is right and proper, moved to the
Save Old Farm Facebook page
where several oddments of background information have surfaced. Some landed in my own email Inbox too.
With nothing else going on before the next council meeting, it may be useful, especially for those who shun Facebook, to provide a little update here.
When I took the photographs of the park I was aware of a nearby school and considered the possibility that the park was a school playing field. However the park entrance looked to be in the wrong place, the gate clearly hadn’t been opened recently and the local resident said no one had used the park for years.
However several former pupils of Uplands Primary School shared Facebook recollections of playing football and rounders on the field so its school provenance appeared to be confirmed. The Old Farm campaigners have said that Bexley council is now saying the same thing.
The land referred to as Burr Farm was acquired under the Town and Country Planning Acts in 1968. It is designated as Education Buildings and Playing Fields in Planning terms, but ceased being used as playing fields when Upland Primary School was rebuilt some years ago. As it is held as Education Land it was not looked at as part of our review of open spaces and highway land. The future of all Council land and property is kept under regular review to ensure that its use is of benefit to the borough’s residents.
That note doesn’t say when the school stopped using the field but it must have been some while ago.
One of my longest standing and most reliable correspondents worked for Bexley council before retirement and he first provided that information in February 2011, so what he reports now cannot be very new.
The school used to be housed in a huge dark red brick edifice dating back to the turn of the last century. When plans to replace the old school building were being considered one of the options on the table was to build a new school on the field in question.
I know this for fact because I saw the notes of meetings and some of my colleagues attended them.
In the event it was decided to build the new school adjacent to the old school then demolish the old school and grass it over which is as it is today. There used to be a sign just inside the locked gates you photographed which said something along the lines of Property of Education Department - Private - Keep out.
The gates have always been kept locked - it was never a field local kids could play on.
If the field was indeed designated as school playing field when no longer required for that purpose it was unnecessary because a football pitch was provided where the old school once stood, then with this council’s record for selling off school fields or bits of school fields, even those very well used, there is certainly something fishy about why this redundant field should have survived even before this latest round of finding bits of land to sell off.
Well quite - and perhaps Bexley man will come back with a date for the school’s rebuild.
If this patch of land stopped being a school playing field before my correspondent retired from Bexley council at least five years ago - maybe more - why has it been neatly maintained for all these years and nobody allowed to use it?
No one likes to see their back garden views desecrated but unlike Old Farm, Burr Farm would not deprive anyone of a well loved park. It clearly hasn’t been used as such for 50 years. I suspect that since it fell into total disuse the reasons can be linked to Teresa O’Neill OBE (Obstinately Barring Entry). She has been on Bexley council since 1998.
Not all of my correspondents are ex-council employees but some are known to have political connections to both main parties. One says that Teresa O’Neill is not very pleased with me, which seems to be a fair exchange for her passing the police a cock and bull story she thought might ensure my arrest. If am not annoying Bexley’s leadership I am wasting my time. The tittle-tattle also says that the Burr Farm revelations have done nothing to improve relations between the warring factions within her party.
I have no idea whether the annoyance story is true or false but just in case it is last Thursday’s blog has been copied on to the Bexley is Bonkers entry page. The lying Cheryl Bacon has been relegated to the so called Home page.