Fires of Development Hell Burn on Malpas Road

A typical fire on the site of 232 Malpas Road

A resident of Upper Brockley Road has been in touch regarding the large fires that are regularly lit on the site of the old scaffolding yard, 232 Malpas Road. The smoke from the burning industrial waste comes in to their home as often as three times a week, making the whole place reek. Combined with the illegal fires in neighbouring mews, it's very bad for the local air quality in a city where air pollution is a major killer.

She writes:

"I am sure we are not the only ones being affected and wondered if you could add a posting to the site so if other neighbours want to complain then they can contact Lewisham environmental protection. We have already complained and will be complaining again following another large fire being lit recently, which led to the fire brigade being called again! Smoke filled gardens and burning waste is not what any of us want."

If you've been affected and would like to complain, please call 0800 80 70 60 to speak to the Environment Agency incident hotline or call the Lewisham Council switchboard and ask to speak to the Environmental Enforcement Group.

The problem is made all the more depressing by the fact that the site has been the subject of repeated planning applications, to convert it to office use - the most recent of which was rejected in May on the following grounds:

1) The proposed development by reason of its scale, bulk and location would appear as obtrusive and overbearing from the neighbouring properties

2) The proposed second floor balcony areas would result unacceptable loss of privacy to the neighbouring residential properties

3) The proposed development by reason of its location within the site would present an unacceptable relationship to the existing townscape

You can see the designs for yourselves here. We don't much care for them, but the roof line is not much higher than the existing houses on Malpas and lower than that of Upper Brockley Road, so we don't understand why the scale is deemed unacceptable. Set back from the road, it wouldn't appear to have much of an impact on the townscape, which makes objection three a little odd.

With this project stuck in development hell, the development rejected time and again by the Council, the alternative is the status quo, which is a delapidated wasteland, where people have been able to light fires with impunity.

Meanwhile, a "to let" sign stands outside the site...


Anonymous said...

What has Britain come to if you can't have a bonfire any more?

Brockley Nick said...

It's not a bonfire, it's commercial waste being burned in a residential area, regularly and unattended in a way that could easily burn out of control.

Now back to the Daily Mail message boards with you - I'm sure Littlejohn has written one of his hilarious songs that you'll enjoy.

drakefell debaser said...

My neighbour pulled a similar stunt a month or so back and burnt some old carpets and plastic sheeting in his garden…sorry, shit tip. The whole family including the young children stood around and watched daddy play the village idiot and the kids now have a nice bit of scorched earth to play on.

Thanks for providing a number to report these things.

The Cat Man said...

Can't we just burn down the council blocks and start again?

Anonymous said...

DD, your neighbour seems to have about as many IQ as my one. When you get a new kitchen installed, what do you do with the old one? Recycle it, take it to the tip? No - start a fire in your postage stamp sized back garden. While you're at it, chuck anything you can find onto it - metal, rubber, or plastic. Leave unattended. Scorch the neighbours hedge and send smoke into every neighbouring property. Repeat every night until kitchen is gone. Then consider the whole thing a resounding success and do the same regularly because you're too lazy or dense to go to the tip.

Headhunter said...

Someone mentioned this a long time ago here I think. Possibly JPM before he disappeared? I think these fires have been a regular occurence for quite a long while. I don't much like the office development plan either. It seems to overlook all the surrounding residences, surely by preference it could be used for residential property?

Anonymous said...

I confess to burning my garden rubbish two or three times a year - with a terrace house and no rear access the alternative is extremely inconvenient. However it can be done responsibly: I souse the neighbours fences, hedges and rubbish filled back gardens in water, have buckets on stand-by, check as far as I can that no-one in the immediate vicinity has washing out or windows open.

I then use some of that wasted heat by entertaining the children and having a barbecue with foil wrapped vegetables and a grilling some burgers

drakefell debaser said...

I don't object to burning garden waste – the smoke is not as thick nor is it likely to be as toxic as what you would get from plastic or an entire kitchen unit as the other anon witnessed. (Perhaps out neighbours are related)

The alternative to burning is composting - by the time you are ready to burn a year’s growth you will have made mulch from last years ready for the winter.

Anonymous said...

I live on Upper Brockley and this is getting a real nightmare. Regularly Saturdays and evenings unable to sit out, hang any washing out or open windows. The yard is being used as a "tip" with regular lorries coming and off loading rubbish, the fires have been set so high they have scorched the surronding trees. I don't mind the occassional burning of household waste but when it's done on this level it's just a nuisance and very illegal!!

Headhunter said...

Illegal, yet it seems to have been going on for quite a while with little response from the council or the Police. Good old public services.

Monkeyboy said...

Trust the Cat to provide the voice of reason.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Tyrwhitt Road does not escape.

The builders who occupy the "yard" to the rear of number 8 have regular fires. They set their own storage container on fire last year and the fire brigade has had to attend a number of times. Hasn't stopped them however.

Unfortunately the squatters in number 8 itself have picked up on this and are also now burning waste in the adjacent garden.

Hopefully one day both fires will combine and give us a nice redeveleopment site.

Anonymous said...

That's a problem - one person of that mentality encourages the next. I don't object to a small controlled fire a couple of times a year (like anonymous said), but unfortunately most I have witnessed are of the "me make fire" cave man variety.

Anonymous said...

Well they are not always that small. One time I had left it so late in the evening that it was full dusk and after the initial blaze I looked up to see flashing blue lights over a couple of garden walls. Neighbours - either worried or annoyed - had obviously reported it. Rapidly doused everything and beat a retreat inside while the unfortunate firemen made door to door enquiries. They did not get as far as us but my husband, with no loyalty and a great sense of self-preservation, was planning to deny all knowledge and blame it on "the nutty woman in the downstairs flat".
I did (anonymously) take a massive bar of chocolate round to the fire station a few days later with an apology.

max said...

I do object to all fires instead, some of them just stink some other make me cough like nobody's business, who knows what they're burning, surely very often there are some very noxious gases served to all the neighbourhood to breath.

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