(P.99) Keep Our Common for the People

Kentish Times, 1 February 2002

A CAMPAIGN has been launched after councillors agreed to press ahead with plans to seize control of Chislehurst and St Paul's Cray Common.

Bromley council's leisure and community services committee agreed the move last week, potentially ending a century of tradition. The Board of Chislehurst Conservators, which has managed the commons independently of the council on behalf of residents since 1888, are opposed to the scheme.

The council wants to take over maintenance work of the common using its own contractors reducing the board's financial support to a "minimal amount".

But unless the decision to slash their £66,000 grant is reversed at a meeting of the policy and resources committee next month they will effectively cease to function.

Conservator spokesman and St Paul's Cray Road resident Bernadette Morrison said: "We are absolutely staggered.

"It was said that we have been consulted on this but that is wrong. We are basically being held to ransom. Either we agree the council's demands or we lose our funding.

'The Conservators have been guardians of the commons for over a century looking after its maintenance and guarding against encroachment by developers."

Council chief executive David Bartlett told a residents meeting at Redhill Primary School that he would look into the matter.

This followed Mrs Morrison's claim that councillors had been misled into thinking the proposals had the fiill support of the Board.

• The council is also considering axing a scheme to replace worn out street lights in Chislehurst High Street and surrounding roads with heritage style lamps.

A decision on whether to install 'bog standard' lights instead will be made at tbe council's policy and resources committee on Thursday February 13.

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Last updated 20/02/2002