Be warned I am on my soapbox! I am not normally one for good causes, I see the world as a place where good and bad are just opposite ends of the same spectrum, where change is constant weaving its magic at the same time as trailing its mucky paws across our familar realities. So although I am going to invite you to sign a petition what I am really asking is for you to honour what is and be part of the vision of what will be. That is what I am choosing for Wormwood Scrubs. The scrubs is a scraggy knobble of brush, grassland and woods in west London, England. Most people think it is the prison! It is not particularly pretty, not very well known or well frequented. That is pretty cool, 5 mins from home and I am out in the country; meadow pipits and parakeets, sparrowhawks (see photo) and model airplanes, there are playing fields for the kids and thickets of tangled briars that are rich with blackberries at the end of the Summer. It is one of those places that you can always find space for yourself, even in the Summer. In the winter it is a veritable paradise of mud and squelchy oozing earth – just like the country! When the temperatures drop is crunchy with frost and the air is icicled with magic.Boris Johnson dear man and Lord Mayor of London our latter day Dick Whittington, is being charged with stealing a large assed bit out of the north west corner (see photo) for the trendy HS2 (High Speed Rail Link 2) now I am not against development, in fact I love the new, the transformation of vision and action e.g. Westfield Shephersd’s Bush, the new Imperial College Gradpad and I even like the idea of Park Royal becoming des-res but taking this side swipe out of this unique habitat will alter its character and viability as sustainable slice of nature in London. I cant see the sparrowhawks, or the meadow pipits hanging around, the wildlife will be squeezed out and this wild, raggy, underbelly of London will be tamed parkland for humans. Now you may not care about my Scrubs but is there somewhere that you value that is slowly being eroded and changed, cleaned up and modified, somewher that perhaps could so easily slip from what is to you now to something conjured up by a development company? Is that what you want or do you want a say? I would love Wormwood Scrubs to be recognised as a vital and unique environment, I would love to see rangers running educational events, night time sleep outs under the stars, sustainable buildings and a gentle integration with the new development, how cool a community coffee shop and craft centre, more like Camley Street where I celebrated a 70th birthday wrapped up under dripping trees or Kennington Park Cafe where I attended a night time Singing Bowls ceremony. I have signed the petition not so much because I want to Save Our Scrubs but because I want to . I dont want it to stay the same I want to breathe new life into it for itself so that together we are all more.
https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/london-mayor-s-office-save-our-scrubsThe computer generated image of the new development and its impact is from the Lord Mayor’s consultation document.