Save Sydenham Hill Ridge

by Friends of Mais House

Save Sydenham Hill Ridge

by Friends of Mais House
Friends of Mais House
Case Owner
We understand the need for social housing and support a redevelopment. What we disagree with is the size of the proposal.
7
days to go
£30,810
pledged of £35,000 stretch target from 425 pledges
Pledge now
Friends of Mais House
Case Owner
We understand the need for social housing and support a redevelopment. What we disagree with is the size of the proposal.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: April 13, 2021

BBC London Lunchtime News!

We were on BBC News yesterday. The piece only remains on the BBC site for 24 hours, however, a copy has been saved on this link to view and share with friends and contacts. You may need to copy and p…

Read more

Friends of Mais House are a community of residents living on and around the Sydenham Hill ridge.

We welcome the development of the City of London Sydenham Hill Estate for additional social housing. We believe in building good quality, environmentally friendly social housing that will last well into the future.

In November 2020, Lewisham granted planning permission for the development of 110 units on the site of Mais House and Otto Close garages. The huge increase in density in such an environmentally sensitive location, sets to impact the quality of the housing built, the historic environment, the conservation area, the local infrastructure  and the natural environment, reducing the much needed green communal space, felling mature trees and impacting the ancient woodland opposite, visited by people across London.

In November 2020, we raised money to fund the initial advice of a solicitor. As we had a good case, our legal team then prepared and filed the claim in Court. In February 2021, Mrs Justice Lang gave the go ahead for a Judicial Review into the way Lewisham Council handled the planning application. The Court hearing will take place on 27th & 28th April 2021. We are raising money to fund our legal costs.

You can view the application here:

https://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=_LEWIS_DCAPR_103078&activeTab=summary

Many thanks for your support

Recent contributions

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Update 23

Friends of Mais House

April 13, 2021

BBC London Lunchtime News!

We were on BBC News yesterday. The piece only remains on the BBC site for 24 hours, however, a copy has been saved on this link to view and share with friends and contacts. You may need to copy and paste it into your search bar:

https://www.facebook.com/576318644/posts/10158743354003645/

Please do share it. We are in Court in two weeks. 

Here are all the other links:
Many thanks for all your contributions and support for this cause to protect community, green space, heritage, environment and democracy.

Friends of Mais House

Update 22

Friends of Mais House

April 10, 2021

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We have 16 days to reach our target and urgently need £10k more. The clock is ticking. 

Please help however you can by sharing our link with your family, friends and contacts with a short message imploring them to donate! Every share and every donation large or small makes a difference. 

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/friendsofmaishouse/

The final traunche of documents were filed with the court on Thursday and we are really pleased we have managed to pay the lawyers to date. We are now raising funds for the court case itself. 

Helen Kinsey was interviewed by Selma El-Wardany (standing in for Eddie Nestor) on BBC Radio London on Wednesday. Helen spoke about the need to rethink how social housing developments and community green spaces must be considered, together. You can listen to the interview at 50 mins 30 secs into the programme, here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09b2xzq

A report on London’s Green Community Spaces was published in October supported by The Mayor. An update cited the increased recognition of their importance following the lockdown experience: 

‘....we need to recognise that parks are part of a wider network of public realm, which includes spaces such as civic squares, streets and green areas in housing estates.’

You can read the full report herehttps://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/4244_-_gla__london_green_spaces_commission_report_v7_0.pdf

We have campaigned solidly for two years to get this far. We have really valued all your support and would not be where we are without you. We are fully determined to make this target. Please, please do keep sharing. 

Crowd Justice: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/friendsofmaishouse/

Website:  friendsofmaishouse.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OfMais

FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Maishousefriends

We wish you a lovely weekend and a safe venture into the weeks ahead as we begin to leave lockdown.

Friends of Mais House

Update 21

Friends of Mais House

April 7, 2021

Amazing support & final push to 27th April Court hearing!

FINAL PUSH FOR £35k

We have done magnificently! Please pull out all the stops to help us reach our target before going to Court on 27th April.

London’s small green spaces are increasingly being recognised as the lifeblood and lungs of the Capital.

Our legal team are busy working on our case and will update us as soon as they can. 

We would like to thank everyone who has spread the word or donated over the Easter weekend, the response has been amazing. We have campaigned for over 2 years for a more sensitive development, which we strongly believe is achievable.

Update 20

Friends of Mais House

April 3, 2021

Please help us reach £25k by 7th April - we're nearly there!

Our lawyers hoped to file a response to the detailed grounds of resistance before Easter, however, our response needs several comments and additional documents. Our legal team will take the extra time to fully consider their response and will file by  7th April. 

We are working hard to reach the £25k mark by this date, before the final push to reach our target for the court hearing on 27th & 28th April. 

We are thrilled to have made it this far and thank everyone for their support. This case is becoming more prominent as it is clear how much our precious green spaces have meant to us over lockdown. 

Do please keep sharing the links with your friends, family and contacts, it really makes a difference. 

Thank you and have a wonderful Easter!

Update 19

Friends of Mais House

March 28, 2021

Big Fundraising Push - Help Stop the Monster Build!

We have set our next goal as £25k by just after Easter, as we want to pay our legal fees as we go along.

Being granted a Judicial Review hearing is a huge achievement, we are encouraged that we have a strong legal case. The Court hearing is in just 4 weeks' time, so we must keep up momentum. We are undertaking a big fundraising effort to reach £25k by 7th April. 

  • Please email your friends about our campaign to stop the monster build that is set to destroy a conservation area.
  • Please follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook group - every like and share helps!

Many thanks for your support in bringing this case to Court. We appreciate all the words of encouragement.

Friends of Mais House

https://www.friendsofmaishouse.com/

Update 18

Friends of Mais House

March 23, 2021

COURT HEARING ON 27th APRIL – Together We Can Do It!

With the clock counting down to the Judicial Review Hearing on 27th April and Lewisham Council determined to fight this all the way, we have limited time to raise funds.

Lewisham and the City of London have filed their detailed grounds of resistance with the Court. Their story has not changedOur case is as strong as ever and our legal team are preparing the trial documents, which we must file by 29th March.

Castlebar

Castlebar, a care home occupying the Victorian mansion next to Mais House, announced last week to residents and staff that it will close on 30th April. We have always argued that Castlebar will be adversely affected by the scale, massing, and proximity of the City's development.

We are shocked by the timescale given to Castlebar’s 40 residents, even more so in these restricted times.

Big Campaign Push

We are about to embark on a big fundraising push to raise the money to go to Court. We are encouraged by the support we have received so far. We are sure this development will set a precedent for further high-density building on the ridge.This case is about protecting our ecosystem and our heritage from a monster build. We want high-quality, sustainable social housing.

All help (post & sharing links) and every donation - big or small, is hugely appreciated.

Together, we can make a difference.

Update 17

Friends of Mais House

March 15, 2021

Thank you to our generous supporters! We have hit £17k

With the Court date fast approaching, we must keep up the momentum. We are aiming for £20k next.

Whilst we can't view individual donor's details, we read all your comments. We know that this campaign is important to many people.

Section drawing of proposed development.

If you haven’t had a chance to share the links yet, here they are again. Every share counts!

https://www.friendsofmaishouse.com/

With thanks,

Friends of Mais House

Update 16

Friends of Mais House

March 14, 2021

Can you help us reach £17k by 17th March?

Can you share our links ?

We need funds to engage our lawyers in scrutinising the defence documents on 17th March.

We would be so grateful for a big share of our links at this time. 

Thank you all so much for your support. This is a really important case: Low Quality Development vs Our Environment.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/friendsofmaishouse/

https://twitter.com/OfMais

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Maishousefriends

friendsofmaishouse.com

Many thanks to all our supporters

Friends of Mais House

Update 15

Friends of Mais House

March 8, 2021

Help Save Our Trees - Urgent Appeal

Thanks to our generous supporters, we have now reached £14,000! To keep on target, we need a further £3,000 by 17th March.

Nineteen mature trees cannot be replaced, community green space, wildlife habitats and unbroken treeline once gone, are gone.

As you are aware, we have been granted a Judicial Review. This is a huge success. But we now have very little time to raise the funds to go to Court. We are a small group of volunteers who are passionate about our community and our environment. We know we can do it, but it will take a push, and all the help we can muster. 

We really need your help to spread the word, please get in touch if you can help us. Please email friendsofmaishouse@gmail.com

Follow us on social media and share with your contacts:

NEW! We now have a website giving more information and history: https://www.friendsofmaishouse.com/

Update 14

Friends of Mais House

Feb. 26, 2021

Court hearing date set for 27th April!

We need to raise the legal fees so that we can present our case in Court, it is estimated that total costs will be £35,000. We therefore need to raise £22,000 by the end of April.

We have achieved so much in getting to this point and could not have done it without our supporters.

Obtaining a Judicial Review was a significant achievement, we now need to undertake a huge fundraising campaign ahead of the Court hearing in 2 months' time. We will be sending out press releases and posting on social media. Our campaign needs everyone to engage with these posts by liking and sharing them, encouraging others to donate. If you have any press or media contacts, please speak to them about our campaign.  We can supply press releases - please contact us via Twitter, Facebook or at friendsofmaishouse@gmail.com.

There is a strong sense of injustice about how the development consultation was carried out. Some of the issues consistently raised were:
  • Unprecedented density in a suburban location with poor infrastructure and transport links at the top of a hill
  • Incongruous design - overbearing and intrusive
  • Disregard for the Area of Special Character along Sydenham Ridge
  • Sydenham Woods wouldn't be there if local residents hadn't campaigned for it back in the 80s - Southwark council wanted to build on it
  • Negative impact on biodiversity in a nature corridor, loss of 19 mature trees and severe damage to several more excellent specimens.
  • Loss of play space for residents of Otto Close
  • Displacement of Mais House residents, lack of assisted living and limited accessible homes

Many thanks for your continued support.

Friends of Mais House

Update 13

Friends of Mais House

Feb. 18, 2021

Fundraising FAQ

Outlined below are some fundraising FAQs, which we hope supporters find useful.

  • Where does my donation go?

Funds are transferred weekly, direct to the campaign solicitors, Harrison Grant. The funds pay for the time of the solicitor, QC, Court fees and any expenses incurred (e.g. photocopying). The funds will also be used to cover any of the other side’s costs we may be obliged to pay (which we have been advised, will very likely be capped at £5,000).

  • Why am I not receiving any updates?

We post regular updates onto the Crowd Justice case page. These are sent to supporters who chose to opt in to receiving email updates; please check your junk mail. Updates may also be viewed on the Crowd Justice case page.

  • What is a stretch target and why does it keep moving?

Crowd Justice requires campaigns to set an initial target that reflects the funding requirements of the first stages of the legal procedure. Once this initial target is met, these first pledges are paid to the solicitors. If we are advised we have a case and decide to move forward, ‘stretch targets’ are then set to meet the legal costs of each next step. Sometimes legal cases, once initiated, are settled out of court, this system prevents us from raising funds we would not need if that were to happen.

  • Why does the countdown keep changing? 

The Crowd Justice countdown resets to 30 days by default. We will ask for it to be adjusted if funds are needed by a particular date, as per the legal process.

  • What fees do Crowd Justice charge?

Crowd Justice deduct approximately 6.3% from donations, this comprises a 3% administration fee plus card transaction fees.  This is not an extra charge on your card, it just means slightly less of what you donate goes to fund our case.  This is comparable to other fundraising sites.

  • Why are Crowd Justice asking me for a 10% contribution to support access to justice?

This is a Crowd Justice initiative, it is entirely voluntary and is separate from our campaign. When you enter your card details, you are asked if you would like to make an additional donation. This donation goes towards help funding access to justice for other causes.  You can click on edit to change the additional donation to as much as you want, or zero. 

  • Do the organisers have access to our personal details?

The Crowd Justice platform is the recommended platform for raising funds in legal cases brought by a community. It is a secure and transparent site and takes care of compliance matters. None of the funds raised pass through our hands and we do not have access to your card details, your email addresses or any other details.

  • Who oversees the fund?

A volunteer from our group completes a fund reconciliation monthly. This is agreed with the solicitor and overseen by five residents.

  • What happens, when the case ends, to any funds left over? Will I get a partial refund?

Crowd Justice have a set policy for leftover funds, which are detailed in their terms and conditions. It will depend on the total amount of donations that you have made.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/terms-and-conditions/

  • What happened to the funds that were raised on the GoFundMe site?

After paying architect fees and campaign expenses (eg leaflet printing and drone images), the remaining balance (£825) has been transferred to the campaign solicitors, Harrison Grant.

  • How many backers are there?

As at the end of January 2021, there were 131 individual Crowd Justice backers.

  • Finally

If information sometimes appears a little anomalous (e.g. funds haven’t quite made their targets, or the clock moves forward before we expect it to) please bear in mind we are a small group of volunteers juggling life in lockdown! We are always grateful for extra help from supporters with fundraising experience.  Please do get in touch (friendsofmaishouse@gmail.com) if you can help.

Update 12

Friends of Mais House

Feb. 13, 2021

PERMISSION GRANTED FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW

We are thrilled to announce that we have been granted permission for Judicial Review. Mrs Justice Lang has agreed we have an arguable case on all grounds. At the end of the Order she says: 

‘In my view, the Claimant’s grounds are arguable and merit consideration at a full hearing’.

The Order sets out the timetable for the case:
  • the Council and the City of London now have to file and serve detailed grounds and any written evidence within 35 days of service of the Order; 
  • that takes us to 18 March 2021
  • We then have 21 days to file a Reply and any further evidence.
The Court will now be looking to list this matter for a two-day substantive remote hearing. The Court has also confirmed that this is an Aarhus Convention claim so that costs, should we lose, are limited to £5k.

We have built up a firm foundation of supporters and we are building momentum. We are constructing a website which will give the history of the area and the woods as well as host updates and have a link to the CJ page. This should help engage the media and people further afield.

We have had a few days respite from fund raising. We will now need to set a target of £35k which, all being well, will cover the costs of preparing for court and a two-day hearing. We are researching now, whether this will be best done in stages or in one swoop. In the meantime, we wanted to share the news, and of course, need to raise money, either way.  

A community felt there was an injustice, a solicitor confirmed this was likely, a QC then added his confirmation, and now a judge says we have an arguable case! Our strength is in this strong sense of injustice against the environment and the community.

Please do continue to share our links with friends and family and on your social media platforms, we have rather a lot of money to raise and need to reach a wider audience. Use short bold headlines e.g. 'Judge confirms we have an arguable case. Help save our environment! Justice for Social Tenants’

A huge thank you for helping us to make it this far.
Update 11

Friends of Mais House

Jan. 31, 2021

Thank you and next steps for February

We reached our £12,000 target! Thank you so much for all your help.

We have now raised enough to pay all our legal fees to date. We expect the Judge to decide whether to grant permission for a Judicial Review by 20th February. In the meantime, we are stretching our target to £17,000 in order to cover our liability of the other side’s costs, which we expect to be limited to £5,000. In the unlikely event that we cannot proceed, the £5,000 will go towards those costs.

Following feedback from backers, we are preparing a list of FAQs about the case and the fund raising process which we will post as soon as we have drawn it up. If we are given permission to proceed, we will further stretch our target to cover the costs of going to court.

Please do keep sharing our link on your networks.

Many thanks,

Friends of Mais House

Update 10

Friends of Mais House

Jan. 30, 2021

Reply filed to the Council’s defence at Court & Fundraising

Yesterday, Friday 29th January, Lawyers [Susan Ring of Harrison Grant Solicitors & Richard Harwood QC] acting on behalf of a member of the Friends of Mais House, filed a Reply to the Council’s defence at Court; a Judge will now consider whether to grant permission to bring Judicial Review proceedings against Lewisham Council and the Corporation of the City of London.

If the Judge approves the application for permission, the case will move to a full hearing; the Friends hope that the Courts will quash the recent planning permission and the City will work collaboratively to produce a co-design scheme for the Estate that respects the existing community as well as providing high quality homes for new residents.

Your contributions have made this progress possible.  Thank you!  We are working hard to reach our target of £12,000 by Monday. Please continue to support this campaign by donating and sharing the Crowd Justice link.  Inevitably, our target will be stretched further as the case progresses. However, we are taking this step-by-step, with each step bringing us closer to success.

NB it has come to our attention that not all our backers are receiving our email updates. It is best to check back on this site as we post regular updates here.

Update 9

Friends of Mais House

Jan. 24, 2021

Our campaign is in the press! Please comment, like & share

Our campaign is building momentum. Lewisham and CoL are due to submit their grounds of Resistance on Tuesday. We are now in the News Shopper and News from Crystal Palace.
https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/19032951.decision-sydenham-hill-estate-unlawful-say-locals/

https://newsfromcrystalpalace.wordpress.com/2021/01/23/residents-crowdfunder-appeal-over-sydenham-hill-estate-plans/

Please do feel free to spread the word; the quality of our environment is so important and never more so than in these times.
Many thanks.

Update 8

Friends of Mais House

Jan. 20, 2021

Local victory for Cox's Walk & six days left to reach £12,000

Locals have recently won a planning decision to prevent the Cox’s Walk oak trees from being felled. This is huge and shows what we can do when we work together.

These beech and catalpa (Indian bean) trees are two of the many under threat from the Mais House development. Nineteen trees will be felled and many more severely pruned. Well used green space will be lost, precious to both the wildlife and the community, particularly the children. We have six more days to raise £3,500. Please help spread the word and share with your friends and networks. Every donation, like and share makes a difference and is truly appreciated. Thank you!

  • Beech tree next to Mais House:

  • Catalpa at the back of Mais House:

Update 7

Friends of Mais House

Jan. 13, 2021

Funding for next stage - 26th January

26TH JANUARY 2021 is our next deadline to ensure we can pay the lawyers for the next stage.
THIS UNIQUE LONDON ENVIRONMENT IS UNDER THREAT.
We have two weeks to reach our stretch target of £12,000, this is to review the Summary Grounds of Resistance. Please share this page as widely as possible, all shares make a difference.  Together we can quash this unjust decision.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/friendsofmaishouse/

https://twitter.com/OfMais

Thank you for your support.

Update 6

Friends of Mais House

Jan. 8, 2021

Update on the legal case and fundraising

We are thrilled to have made our initial Crowd Justice target. Thank you for supporting and sharing our campaign to challenge a planning decision that will be so detrimental to this unique environment.

Our lawyers received the responses from Lewisham and The City of London and filed the claim in Court where it was issued and has been served on the defendant. Lewisham and The City of London are required to respond to the court with their grounds for defence by 26th January 2021. A Judge will then consider whether there is an arguable case and make a decision on granting permission for judicial review.

We are now actively fundraising to reach the £12,000 stretch target to cover a potential claim for costs from the other side and enable us to begin moving on to the next stage, which will be to consider any grounds of resistance.

Your support is hugely appreciated.

https://twitter.com/OfMais

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Maishousefriends

Note: now that we have met the initial target, the countdown will automatically renew every 30 days.

Update 5

Friends of Mais House

Dec. 29, 2020

Thank you for helping us reach our initial target!

Dear Supporters,

Thank you to everyone who donated, shared, and supported the cause. We have made it to our initial target of £7,000!

We have instructed the lawyers to review Lewisham’s response and file the case in court, if that is the recommendation following the review. We are still waiting for Lewisham’s response, which is due tomorrow. We will keep you updated on the case.

You will see the site has automatically moved onto the stretch target of £12,000. If the judge gives permission for the case to be heard, and our legal team advise us, we can take the case all the way through the court. This money will then be needed.

Once again, thank you so much for all your support, for justice and the environment.

Best wishes,

Friends of Mais House



Update 4

Friends of Mais House

Dec. 28, 2020

Over 80% funded - 2 days to meeting our target!

On Wednesday 30th December, Lewisham are obliged to reply to our legal team. Our legal team will review the reply and then apply to the court for permission to proceed with the case.

We are very close to our initial £7,000 target, needed to instruct the legal team to proceed with this action.

Please continue to share our campaign on social media and consider asking a friend or family member to pledge £20, if 40 people did this we would reach our target.

Once again, many, many thanks for helping out with this crucial case.

Friends of Mais House

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/friendsofmaishouse/

Update 3

Friends of Mais House

Dec. 26, 2020

Help us bring this crucial case to court - 50% funded!

This development will impact The Great North Wood, a tract of ancient woodland on the highest point of South London. This treasured biodiverse ecosystem, is enjoyed by people across South London.

Another large development has been applied for on the ridge citing the planning permission granted for this development. It is vital we make a stand and prevent the flood gates from opening so we can protect this unique environment.

We raised £7,400 for legal advice and to deliver a pre-action protocol letter to Lewisham Council. Judicial Review has a very tight time-frame. The funds are needed for the legal team to review Lewisham’s response and register the case in court which must be done by 30th December.

We are extremely grateful for your support in this crucial case and ask if you could share this page with as many friends and groups as you can so we are able to take this forward.

Thank you.
Update 2

Friends of Mais House

Dec. 20, 2020

We have until 30th December to raise funds!

We are aiming to raise the initial target by 30th DECEMBER, when we are due to respond to the Council.

In addition to the removal of 19 trees, many mature trees near the development will be severely pruned or suffer root damage. This is to make space for a 32% increase in footprint.

This black locust tree is scheduled for removal, the application noted that it was a 'Fine, large specimen... outstanding landscape value'.

This summer, the tree was severely cut back, due to one branch being diseased. There are excellent tree specimens including oak, beech, Indian bean, and cedar scheduled for pruning across the estate.

Black locust tree before and after pruning

Oak tree on the boundary

Oak and red beech on the boundary

We really appreciate the level of support the campaign has received in such a short time.

Update 1

Friends of Mais House

Dec. 17, 2020

Legal letter sent to Lewisham yesterday

Yesterday, a pre-action protocol letter was sent to Lewisham Council by our solicitors. This is a significant step forward for our case and we have been advised there is a good prognosis of success.

It is now imperative that we share our campaign with as many people as we can to raise funds for the next stage. We expect Lewisham's reply by 30th December.


Please follow us and share on social media:

https://twitter.com/OfMais

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Maishousefriends

The grounds focus on the illegality of the decision taken, owing to serious neglect to inform the Planning Committee of Heritage and Conservation reports available. This is backed up by Lewisham’s own Community Involvement Statement, The planning Act, The Listed Buildings Act, The Local Government Act, The National Planning Policy Framework, and a number of recent case laws. Protection of the environment is key. 

Many thanks for your support

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