Labour and Greens come out top of SoS e-hustings

Labour and the Greens are most aligned with the goals of Save Our Scrubs going into the May 22nd local elections.

Here is a table summarising the degree to which the parties agree with our concerns.



There’s some really good news from the e-hustings. For example, all the major parties support the opening up to the Trust to independent outsiders. That’s a really big development for the long term future, and it presumably means that we will get that opening up of the trusteeship whatever happens in the election.

On the 2-station proposal, the news is pretty good. Labour and Greens are with us. The Conservatives are against “option A” - the one we really dislike most of all, but have not flatly ruled out support for “option X” which is so problematic for Wells House Road. The LibDems are a little non-committal - saying they’d like to look at the options more closely.

Opposition to the HS2 Wetland proposal is strong, although the Lib Dems are a bit more equivocal - they simply don’t seem to have made up their mind on the question. 

Less Good News

On Boris’s vision and the MDC, we have a more marked contrast of positions. Labour and Greens are opposed to the vision, to the MDC and to high-rise development along the Northern edge of the Scrubs. The Conservatives support the MDC (though, somewhat oddly, they say that they’s like to see planning control retained locally) and assure us - if that is an assurance - that high rise development will be in line with current council guidelines. The Lib Dems recognise the danger that the “Mini Manhattan” would pose for the Scrubs but are not quite as firm in their objections to current proposals as are the Greens and Labour.


We went out to the main political parties and asked them their views on 5 key questions for Save our Scrubs. The exact wording of our e-hustings email is over here.

The full answers of the parties are given below.

e-hustings email




Lib Dems

e-hustings email

Over 3000 voters would like to know your opinion on five important questions.

Save Our Scrubs is a campaign organised by the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs that is designed to protect the integrity of Wormwood Scrubs Common. We have over 3000 supporters who live throughout the Borough and beyond (see

If you are elected to LBHF council on May 22nd, you will have real influence on the future of Wormwood Scrubs. We would like to put to our supporters your views on the questions that are closest to our concerns. Many of our supporters may be your voters.

We would ask you, therefore, to answer these five questions. We will both summarise all responses and report your answers in full to our supporters and members.

Thank you very much for the time and consideration that we are sure you will give to these important matters.


The Management Committee of the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs

(David Lindo, Tony Curzon Price, Stephanie Gray, Stewart Dalby, Susie Gretz, Miriam Shea, Smita Dave, Nina Hall, Emma Skinmore, Rosalind Baker)


1. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in promoting the “2 station proposal” that TfL have proposed for joining the London Overground to the proposed new developments North of the Scrubs? (see

2. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing the construction of high rise buildings on the Northern border of the Scrubs (Boris’s “min-Manhattan” vision, see

3. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing new access paths onto the Scrubs from the North that undermine the character of the Scrubs and its local nature reserve?

4. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing HS2’s plans to create a wetland on the southern edge of the Scrubs (see

5. Do you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in their goal to make the trusteeship of the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust open, transparent and for it to include independent representatives?


Question 1

We support the current two station proposal from TfL as the best option at present, and are opposed to option 1 that proposes a loop that cuts the north west corner of the Scrubs. We also have issues with the second proposal given its impact on housing in the Wells House Road area. If elected we will consult with residents and review these proposals if required.

Question 2

We do not support the idea of high rise buildings (a mini Manhattan) north of the Scrubs and are particularly concerned should the Mayor Development Corporation concept be pursued. The Mayor’s record on building much needed affordable homes in London is poor and coupled with an equally appalling record for the same by the current Administration in LBH&F would mean simply more luxury properties aimed at overseas investors. We believe that regeneration of this area, which we support, must include a significant amount of affordable homes and should be determined by the local authority whose planning rules have provision for a high proportion of affordable housing. We also believe that regeneration plans should put the interests of Londoners and local people first and take into account the views of special interest groups such Friends of the Scrubs. 

Question 3

We agree that it is essential to preserve the character and nature of the Scrubs and agree that access paths from any new development to the north could undermine this.

Question 4

We support the opposition to the creation of a wetland on the Southern edge of the Scrubs. This is an inappropriate area to create a wetland as it would remove public access to a large part of the Scrubs, reduce the current area that is well used for sports and general public recreation. It would also create a barrier between the Linford Christie stadium and the rest of the Scrubs.

Question 5

We support the principle of openness and transparency and would support the inclusion of independent members on the Trust. 

Councillor Wesley Harcourt 
LB Hammersmith & Fulham


Many thanks again for contacting us, and apologies for the delay in getting this over to you. The response below is from Jurgen Huber, West Central Co-Chair and Green candidate for College Park and Old Oak Ward on behalf of all of our council candidates for Hammersmith and Fulham. 
Please do also remind your members and supporters that this year they will have a chance to vote in not only the local but also European Elections. We are working to re-elect London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert, who has persistently fought to protect London’s green spaces and protect them against destructive developments. Please direct them here: for more information on Jean’s work on this issue.
Please do contact me if you need any further information,
West Central London Green Party Membership Secretary 
1. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in promoting the “2 station proposal” that TfL have proposed for joining the London Overground to the proposed new developments North of the Scrubs? (see

Yes. It is London Green Party policy to increase the amount of green space in the city not shrink it. Any development encroaching on the Scrubs would not be tolerable to us. 

2. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing the construction of high rise buildings on the Northern border of the Scrubs (Boris’s “min-Manhattan” vision, see 

We are committed as a matter of urgency to tackling London’s housing crisis, caused by spiralling rents, a cynically devised property boom and a dearth of social housing. Decent homes should be a right for all Londoners. But we do not support extravagant new developments designed to profit buy-to-let landlords and overseas investors. It is our policy to build where possible on previously developed sites that have fallen into disuse and to bring unused properties back into use. Social and genuinely affordable housing - not the Mayor’s plutocratic definition of affordability - must be a core component of all new developments. Building designs must reflect the character of the surrounding area. So while recognising that London’s acute housing shortage requires the construction of new houses, we do not support plans for high rises on the northern edge of the Scrubs: they are aggressively out of keeping with their surroundings. We also will not support any development that threatens the wildlife in the northern part of the Scrubs. This expanse of common land is a vital part of London’s ecology. 

3. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing new access paths onto the Scrubs from the North  that undermine the character of the Scrubs and its local nature reserve?


4. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing HS2’s plans to create a wetland on the southern edge of the Scrubs (see

Yes. We do not believe the Scrubs will benefit from taking a large swathe of its southern part from public use in order to compensate for ecological damage caused to its northern part.
The Green Party as a whole have consistently opposed the HS2 project; whilst the we support high speed rail in principle because it should improve Britain’s transport system, reduce road and air traffic and help cut carbon emissions, HS2 does too much damage to local communities and to the environment, and is too pricey. The enormous sums involved could be better spent improving transport for everybody, not just the wealthy business-people who will be able to afford to use HS2.

5. Do you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in their goal to make the trusteeship of the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust open, transparent and for it to include independent representatives?

Yes. We believe in transparency and democratic accountability. We do not endorse secretive dealings between Hammersmith and Fulham council and the various bodies entrusted with looking after the borough’s open spaces on behalf of its residents. The West Central branch of the London Green Party has been involved over the past few years in a campaign to improve the governance of the association that runs the Fulham Palace Meadows allotments.


Many thanks for your email of 12 April, which I understand was also sent to a number of other Conservative councillors. Please could you treat this message as a response on behalf of all of the Conservative candidates standing at the Council elections on 22 May.

Since it was first elected in 2006, this Conservative Council administration has been fiercely protective of the special place that is Wormwood Scrubs. We have enshrined this protection in our most recent Local Development Framework, overhauled and strengthened governance arrangements for the Charitable Trust and ensured that the Trust is maintained on a proper financial footing.

I agree that the main medium term challenge to the Scrubs relates to the proposed HS2/Crossrail interchange station within the Old Oak Common Opportunity Area. The area to the north of the Scrubs is already linked to London Overground and the Bakerloo line and the creation of a brand new transport interchange hub including HS2, Crossrail and GWR will mean that the location will become highly significant both on a London and regional basis. We believe that the entire brownfield area needs to be regenerated holistically and therefore support the creation of a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) covering the Old Oak Common area in H&F, the Park Royal area in Brent plus adjacent parts of Ealing. The Old Oak Common area in H&F alone comprises some 200 acres and given the vital need for more housing and jobs in London, it is inevitable and right that it will be developed with higher density in mind. Over the proposed MDC area some 24,000 new homes and 55,000 new jobs are forecast and these need to be accommodated through appropriate new developments some of which will comprise tall buildings. This Conservative administration has been perhaps the strongest local authority promoter of the HS2 interchange since at least 2008.

However, within the scheme we believe it is essential to protect the sensitive nature ofWormwood Scrubs and preserve access for local residents. We have therefore proposed amendments to the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill in a petition to Parliament that specifically protect Wormwood Scrubs.

I should add that I take a close personal interest in this issue. For example, on 29 January 2014, I proposed (and spoke on) a Motion at the Council Meeting concerning the petition to amend the HS2 Bill.

Turning now to your individual questions:

1.       Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in promoting the “2 station proposal” that TfL have proposed for joining the London Overground to the proposed new developments North of the Scrubs?

TfL’s initial plans for a link between HS2 and the London Overground are unacceptable, in that they involve the loss of part of the north east corner of the Scrubs.

The Full Council meeting on 29 January 2014 formally supported TfL’s “Option X” proposal – namely a single London Overground station. Since then, TfL has worked up its “2 station proposal”, although as they make clear, they intend to further refine their plans over the coming months. In essence, we will support any proposal that (i) delivers a London Overground link to HS2 at Old Oak and (ii) avoids the loss of part of the Scrubs. If re-elected, the Conservatives will lobby for the Hybrid Bill to include either Option X or the “2 station proposal” – in order to deliver the London Overground link.

2.      Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing the construction of high rise buildings on the Northern border of the Scrubs?

The Council supports controls over high rise development throughout the borough, and has enshrined these controls in Policy BE1 of the Local Development Framework Core Strategy and policy G2 of the Development Management Local Plan. Policy BE1 states that “tall buildings” (which have a specific definition), will be generally resisted particularly where they have a disruptive and harmful impact on the skyline. Policy G2 details the criteria that any proposal for a tall building would be expected to meet in order for it to be acceptable. Both policies note there are areas of the borough, particularly in conservation areas and along the Grand Union Canal, that are particularly sensitive to tall buildings and where heights of buildings should generally be restricted.

The difficulty with answering this question is the way it is put. At the moment, there are no firm proposals for development within the Old Oak Opportunity Area. The question seizes on an illustrative graphic used in a 2013 GLA document “Old Oak: Vision for the Future” which shows a number of tall buildings on the site. This graphic is not a planning document or a development proposal at all, and there are no current plans to construct high rise buildings on the northern border of the Scrubs.

We do not believe that there should be a complete ban on all tall buildings on the MDC area, and to be fair, your question does not suggest this. However, ifany proposals were brought forward, they would be dealt with under the current controls on tall buildings. Councillors (of whatever Party) on the Planning Applications Committee would have to take into account the impact of any design proposals on the Scrubs.

It should also be said that at present it is not 100% clear whether (when established) the MDC will displace the Borough’s planning role within the Old Oak Opportunity Area. We are urging the Mayor to keep planning controls firmly at the local authority level, to in order to protect local communities and amenities such as the Scrubs.

3.      Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing new access paths onto the Scrubs from the North that undermine the character of the Scrubs and its local nature reserve?

Given the massive regeneration which will be happening to the north of the Scrubs (and also to the south east with White City), there is a clear need to preserve the existing environment from encroachment and excessive footfall. However Wormwood Scrubs is a public asset and an amenity for all the residents of this Borough – and we need to balance the environmental impact with the right of residents to share and enjoy this wonderful asset.

We are not opposed to all new access from the north, but will certainly oppose any new access paths that would undermine the character of the Scrubs and its local nature reserve.

4.      Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing HS2’s plans to create a wetland on the southern edge of the Scrubs


The short answer to this is “yes”. Not only will this Conservative administration support the Friends, but we are actively opposing the loss of a significant portion of the Scrubs to wetland. It is one of the key amendments sought by the Council’s HS2 Bill petition to Parliament.

5.      Do you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in their goal to make the trusteeship of the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust open, transparent and for it to include independent representatives?


As you are aware, the Council has revamped the trusteeship of the WormwoodScrubs Charitable Trust to make it more independent, more open and more transparent. The present Trust Board constitution already allows for members of the public to be co-opted onto the Trust, and I understand that the Friends were invited to a recent Board Meeting as observers. The question of co-optionis entirely a matter for the members of the Board, but we would support the co-option of independent representatives onto the Board itself.

I hope that the above is helpful, but if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Mark Loveday

Lib Dems

Thank you very much for contacting us over this issue; we appreciated being consulted. I am replying on behalf of the Hammersmith and Fulham Liberal Democrats, and have lived in the Borough for almost 25 years and enjoy the natural open space, kite flying and playing football with my children on Wormwood Scrubs. I also travel regularly to Birmingham by train and am very excited about the extension of transport to a West London hub.

Often it is useful to establish a benefit pie for the issues in question; who benefits from a decision and by how much. At the same time a cost or savings pie can be built. If the two align well, then we can say generally that we are in support. If they do not then we would oppose or seek to redress the balance. Often the pies can only be qualitative, but using them does ensure that there are no parties taking major advantage at the expense of others. We obviously don’t have all the information at this point as the proposals have not been finalised. Our answers are made on the basis of the current information we have;

1. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in promoting the “2 station proposal” that TfL have proposed for joining the London Overground to the proposed new developments North of the Scrubs? (see
This appears attractive because it leaves the Scrubs largely alone, but we would want to see the consequences of a 650m walk for commuters to justify.
2. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing the construction of high rise buildings on the Northern border of the Scrubs (Boris’s “min-Manhattan” vision, see
Our consultation response favours more housing, but we would want to see more detailed designs of mini-Manhattan before supporting it. The danger of this kind of development of course is it subsequently taking over the Scrubs with a more “clinical” park area, which would take away its natural beauty. However, well built and, importantly, properly maintained housing which is affordable to local residents would be very valuable. Difficult to quantify, but it would be worth pushing for tighter preservation restrictions on the Scrubs if the Manhattan thing were to go ahead.
3. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing new access paths onto the Scrubs from the North that undermine the character of the Scrubs and its local nature reserve?
Again, we would need to see detailed designs - the pathway runing on the East side of the scrubs (parallel to Scrubs Lane) has been done very effectively (hidden by trees and bushes) so if that model can be extended it would help to provide access to more residents
4. Will you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in opposing HS2’s plans to create a wetland on the southern edge of the Scrubs (see
We would question the need for such a development, and how “natural” or “artificial” it would be. If it is just to tick some boxes somewhere, then it is likely to be better done elsewhere. If it is to add habitat which is lacking in the borough and of value to our environment, then we would support it.
 5. Do you support the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs in their goal to make the trusteeship of the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust open, transparent and for it to include independent representatives?
I am familiar with the governing structure of the Trust. In principle we would support openness and trustees who represent the diversity of our community.
I hope this has been useful and that our current thoughts largely allign with your members concerns. We can assure you that if our candidates are elected we will push for a fair balance with the interest of local residents and Scrubs users at the heart.

All Good Wishes

Nigel Orchard
Liberal Democrat Candidate
Hammersmith Broadway Ward

Our Questions

There’s a TfL option we like and want to get behind!

Really positive development this week.

TfL have shown us 3 options for the railway station combination around the Old Oak Common (OOC) interchange. The good news is that there’s 1 option which looks good to us for lots of reasons. The bad news is that we’ll have to keep fighting to get this one accepted - their preferred option continues to be one that takes a big chunk out of the NW corner of the Scrubs.

The new option on the table is shown in the picture below. (Please note that TfL was OK for us to distribute these plans on the clear understanding that we’d make it quite clear that these are work-in-progress and that nothing is set in stone yet. Indeed, TfL are currently working to a timetable that has their preferred option defined and set by September 2014, in time for a possible HS2 House of Commons Committee hearing on the matter.)


The big headlines for this option are:

  • There is no railway loop on the Scrubs anymore - which is our big NO in TfL’s currently preferred option
  • There are 2 stations linking HS2 to the London Overground network - one at OOC joining the North London Line, and one near the Car Giant site linking to the West London Line

Details include:

  • People travelling from Richmond to Willesden would stop at the new OOC station shown on the left hand side of the picture before Willesden
  • People travelling from Shepherd’s Bush towards Kensal Rise would stop at the new station on the top right of the picture
  • There would be no new track along the northern boundary of the Scrubs
  • There are travelators of some sort linking these stations to the HS2 station
  • The logistics and financing of this option might be much nicer than the others because the two stations could be built at different times and there is no new track laying involved.

SaveOurScrubs likes this option! And so should other stakeholders, we think.

Just as a reminder, here are the other options in the running.

First, the one we will continue to fight tooth and nail, TfL/GLA’s currently preferred option:


You can see the orange line that is the loop that takes out the NW corner of the Scrubs, and that continues along the N boundary - the new track

And here is the option that was our preferred option before this new one  turned up:


This option avoided the loop on the Scrubs - which is why we supported it. But it is less good than the 2 station solution because:

  1. it has a possibly major impact on Wells House Road and Shaftsbury Gardens and would therefore lead to a divergence in the interests of the Save our Scrubs campaign and other local groups 
  2. It was not ideal from a transport perspective, because it required West London Line trains changing direction - increasing journey times.

OK, so are there any downsides to the 2 station option?

Not many, as far as we can see. The travelator from the HS2 stations to the West London Line station (on the top right) is long. But then that’s nothing much new - airports sort this sort of thing out regularly. Also, the travelator will need to go up the hill and may be visible from the Scrubs. Our view is that you could make it a feature. 

What are the next steps? Well … we continue to put pressure everywhere we can to make sure the viaduct & loop option gets nowhere. We also beat the drum about the 2 station solution and try to build a coalition around it.

Our goal is that by September 2014, this is TfL’s/GLA’s preferred option.

HS2 - respond to the consultation by Feb 10th

It’s been a busy week. A group of the friends - DavidJ, DaivdL, Nina, Miriam, Ian, Stephanie, Dan, Susie (anyone I’ve forgotten?) - met with TFL. David J has been working on our group response to the HS2 consultation. We should all now produce individual responses to the HS2 consultation. We’re having an ad hoc meeting on Tuesday to allocate responsibilities a bit more clearly. And there’s a meeting with the deputy mayor in charge of transport in 10 days to prepare.
First the meeting with TFL. This was attended by people from the GLA and LBHF as well as the friends. TFL have another option apart from the viaduct - Option X - which we think is better. It does not encroach on the Scrubs and makes more use of Willesden Junction to solve the train line problem that the viaduct loop is also trying to solve. It is not TFL’s preferred option, but it seems that there is some support for it at LBHF, GLA and the department for transport. Our task is now to build support for Option X over the viaduct loop.
Second, the consultation on HS2. This is not the main battle we face, which is with TFL around their viaduct and, in the future, with the planned Mayoral Development Corporation with buildings. But it nevertheless could potentially have a major impact on the Scrubs and we need to respond. 
DavidJ is drafting our group response and has taken on board the comments raised at the last campaign meeting. Our basic position is that we don’t think that the proposal for a wetland to run all along the southern edge of the Scrubs is a good idea. It takes away an area already rich in biodiversity; it crowds out leisure users and puts even more pressure on open space for our common enjoyment. It seems to be a generally ill-thought-through proposal tacked on to the HS2 bill at the last moment. I’ve pasted David’s text with the details of our objections to the bottom of this email.
As well as a group response, it would be good to get as many individual responses as possible. The form for responses can be downloaded here:
and responses can be emailed to
filling out the form involves the following steps:
- fill out your name and address on page 2
- tick “Kilburn to Olad Oak Common” on the multiple choice at Question 3, page 5
- fill out the box on question 3 with your reasons for objecting. It’s good to write in your own objections, but just as an example, here is what I wrote:

I am writing to express my objection to the proposal for new wetland planting of an area to the north and west of Linford Christie Stadium as “habitat compensation”.

My reasons are as follows:

-       this is not real compensation, in that it would destroy a planted area already rich in biodiversity

-       this area is under constant and intense use by the already constrained users of the scrubs. Current users of this space include rugby players, dog walkers, walkers, kiters and families. There is already insufficient room on the Scrubs to accommodate all those who want to enjoy the space. This proposal will further crowd the environment

-       this sort of habitat is difficult and expensive to maintain properly, and the likelihood is that within a short time it would be left derelict and without a maintenance budget

-       this would cut off an integral part of the Scrubs – the stadium – from the rest of the scrubs and would threaten the integrity of the space and its use for enjoyment of sports people and families

That is it - save the form and attach it to an email that you send to The deadline is at the start of Feb, so good to get it in early.
That’s all for this week. The Scrubs is pretty boggy and slippery at the moment, but still being enjoyed by huge numbers!
David J’s detailed group response to the HS2 consultation:

1.The objects of the Friends according to its constitution include the protection and conservation of the Scrubs in accordance with the Wormwood Scrubs Act 1879 (“the 1879 Act”). Under the 1879 Act the Scrubs is held in trust by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, subject to its military use, for use by the public for exercised and recreation. The last military use was until the beginning of 2012 by the King’s Troop,Royal Horse Artillery.

2.The Scrubs is a registered common.  It is protected by (i) the 1879 Act (ii) the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Provisional Order Confirmation (Greater London Parks and Open Spaces) Act 1967 and (iii) the Commons Act 2006.  These Acts between them require government  ministerial consent to the construction of any building or erection on the Scrubs, the enclosure of any part of it or work which impedes access over it.  Under the 1879 Act any construction additionally requires the consent of LBHF as trustee.

3. The Scrubs is designated Metropolitan Open Land and part of it is a Local Nature Reserve. 

4. There are two proposals in CFA 4 that directly affect the Scrubs (i) the use of the north western corner as access to Old Oak Common for the purpose of works to Old Oak Common Lane (principally road widening and lowering) (ii) new wetland planting of an area to the north and west of Linford Christie Stadium as “habitat compensation”.

5. As to (i) this is referred to in paras 2.4.50, 5.4.20, 9.4.7, 9.4.20 and 9.5.2 and is said (5.4.20) to involve “access to a small area of land at the northern edge of Wormwood Scrubs Park (less than 5%).” The area concerned is shown in Plans Volume 1 Euston-Ickenham sheet 1-16 and Map Books Volume 2 CT-005-009a.  It is clear from these references that vegetation, trees and shrubs will be removed from the western end of the Scrubs and from the embankment “close to North Pole Depot”. 9.5.2 includes “…Measures that have been incorporated into the design of the Proposed Scheme include: woodland planting to replace trees and shrubs removed from Wormwood Scrubs (around the new access road to the North Pole depot)”.

The Friends are reliant on the work being confined to the area as described and the vegetation, trees and shrubs being replaced. Subject to

(i) preparation of a schedule of vegetation, trees and shrubs to be removed

(ii) an assurance that such vegetation etc will be replaced with similar vegetation etc

(iii) replacement of vegetation etc to be completed within 12 months of completion of work/end of use of work space

the Friends have no comment to make on this proposal.

6. As to (ii) this is referred to in paras 2.4.44, 5.4.20, 7.4.19 and shown in Plans Volume 1 as before sheet 1-52 and Map Books Volume 2 CT-05-009a, CT-06-009a, CT-05-008- L1, CT-06-008-L1. Para 2.4.44 asserts that “an area of Wormwood Scrubs immediately to the north and west of Linford Christie Stadium has been identified for habitat compensation and currently comprises amenity grassland and areas utilised by sports groups.”  5.4.20 says that a “small area near the southern periphery of Wormwood Scrubs will be used for ecological mitigation. This will not affect land used for recreational sports pitches.” 7.4.19 adds after discussion of the loss of certain habitat elsewhere “Given that opportunities to mitigate at the site of the impact are limited, a compensatory area of new wetland planting will be provided in the southern part of Wormwood Scrubs…This will include the creation of seasonal pools and scrapes with swales planted with…species such as rushes and sedges and areas of wildflower grassland and native shrubs.  The new habitats will be sited appropriately to allow continued use of the recreational sports pitches within the defined area linking to existing areas of woodland and grassland habitats”.

7. The area stretches virtually the whole width of the Scrubs from east to west, stopping short at the woodland on the western boundary. Its northern edge runs deep into the Scrubs and its total area is more than eight hectares, in excess of a tenth of the total of the Scrubs.  The Friends would challenge the statement in 5.4.20 that it is no more than a “small area” (see above). The Report is silent as to how or why the area has been “identified for habitat compensation” nor is there any mention of the proposal in the Draft Environmental Statement, hence there has been no previous consultation about it. There are references from para 7.4.4 onwards to loss of habitat from Acton Railsides, Northolt Corridor and Silverlink Metro and Dudding Hill Loop none of which is identified as wetland and, apart from the general statement at 7.4.19 (see above), the nature of the loss intended to be compensated is unspecified.

8. In any event the proposal is not creating fresh space to compensate for loss of habitat elsewhere (principally adjacent to railway lines): it is taking an existing open space out of use to accommodate ecological enhancement.  The effect is to rob Peter to pay Paul.

9. At first sight the creation of a wetland habitat on a site (the Scrubs) part of which is already LNR might seem attractive but, on closer examination, the Friends consider that any possible advantage is illusory and outweighed by the disadvantages such as

(i) no survey seems to have been carried out as to the suitability of the area for conversion to wetland

(ii) no reason is given why the Scrubs has been chosen for such habitat compensation

(iii) a significant amenity presently used for general recreation and sport will be taken out of such use.  There is at present considerable pressure on the use of the area for sport, two football pitches having been recently added to the western end.  The increase in sports use of the Scrubs drives other recreational users into what is becoming a diminishing space. The Scrubs can ill afford to lose the area to ecological enhancement

(iv) the area is valued for its existing biodiversity which would be destroyed

(v) the area would be out of use during its conversion

(vi) substantial inconvenience would be caused to users of the Scrubs while the area was being converted

(vii) there is no plan for the use of the area once converted, e.g. whether it would be fenced or require separate access

(viii) there is no plan for its maintenance or how it would be funded once completed

(ix) it would impede access to and egress from the rest of the Scrubs from and to the public car park south and east of the area and Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte’s Hospitals.

Campaign Update 6 October 2013

There’s been lots of great initiative going on behind the scenes this week:
- David Jeffreys has been reaching out to lawyers and planning professionals in preparation for the big fight looming over TFL’s January consultation on the overground
- Ian Tegner has continued to clarify the timetable and council’s plans
- David Lindo, Nina Hall and Lester Holloway are meeting to discuss media strategy
- David L continues to pull in big names in support of our campaign
- Miriam Shea is working social media to great effect
- The campaign reached 2,500 members
- The whip-around to cover printing costs has raised £420 to date - thank you to all of you who contributed.
Timetables and strategy are coming into focus. In particular, we now know that TFL is likely to consult on Old Oak in January in order to get its plans into the HS2 bill in April/May. SOS needs to try to have 2 major elements in place for that consultation:
1. a huge public campaign
2. some more behind-the-scenes work with lawyers and planners to come up with a weighty and considered response to TFL
This is a challenge that we have to rise to and it requires well-directed volunteer energy. It’ll also require some _serious_ fundraising.

Ways to Donate

Ways to donate to the campaign:

1. Click the paypal button above

2. Donate to directly on Paypal

3. By bank transfer. Our bank account details are:

The Friends of the Scrubs

Sort Code: 20-35-93

Account Number: 10388505

Bank Name: Barclays Bank, Hammersmith Branch

Campaign update - Ian Tegner’s meeting with LBHF; TCP/Nina meeting with LWT

A quick email to let you know what’s been happening this week with the campaign.
Ian Tegner has had a very interesting but very grim meeting with Tom Cardis at LBHF. Cardis sets out the council’s thinking and what they know about timetables - 2014 is going to be absolutely critical and we need to get strategy and tactics sorted out very soon to be ready for it. I have pasted Ian’s meeting notes at the bottom of this email. TFL seem to be quite set on the overground and will try to include it as part of the HS2 bill going through Parliament in December. They will probably consult on the overground in January, though it seems this might be delayed. There is an interesting note in Ian’s account of the council’s worry over its conflict of interest when it comes to its dual role as trustee of the Scrubs and council. We need some legal help - this may be an Achilles’ heel.
Daivd L met with Mathew Frith (cc’d), Director of Policy and Planning at London Wildlife Trust, and went on to arrange a follow-up meeting for me and Nina. That was on Friday. LWT made a representation to the GLA on the vision document in which it made the sorts of objections that we made. LWT has been involved in a number of big planning battles and has a very good understanding of the processes and politics involved. Mathew was involved in the original campaign for Scrubs Wood. LWT works with retired planners and may be able to provide expert advice for us. LWT has a meeting with the GLA later in the month to which Mathew proposes that David and I join him. I imagine this meeting will be very similar to the meeting that Ian has already had - we listening to what they think they are going to do and when and not saying very much about our position. Mathew is going to try to come to our next campaign meeting.
I am about to send out a call for funds so that we can get a new set of cards printed and cover the cost of poster printing. Susie still has a few campaign cards left for anyone needing a refill.
The Scrubs is looking beautiful, with autumn colours just starting. The early morning mists have been particularly spectacular…
Ian’s meeting notes

Note of Meeting 25.9.13 with Thomas Cardis, LBHF Planning Department

Re Old Oak Development impact on Wormwood Scrubs

Key Bodies

Transport for London (TfL), (and Greater London Authority).oversaw the consultation process;  Supportive of HS2;  determined to achieve Overground extension into the Old Oak International station.

LBHF.  All rail aspects are within the borough boundary.  Very aware of the impact on Wormwood Scrubs. They may petition for an Overground station on the North London line (no impact on the Scrubs).   Want earliest possible residential development on North Pole and Crossrail Depot sites.

HS2Ltd.   A limited Company, and a public authority answerable to Department for Transport, thus subject to Freedom of Information Act 2000.   Charged with building HS2, on which the Old Oak International station depends.  Old Oak International station will be the responsibility of HS2.

Network Rail.  Concerned to retain use of North Pole Depot lines and sheds as long as possible.  NPD currently owned by BR Residuary Body, but in course of transfer to London and Continental Railways.

Indicative Time tables - note that these are not set in stone but purely indicative

December 2013 - HS2 bill presented to parliament, including connections to HS1 and Great Western Main Line.

January 2014 (indicative) - TfL are likely to consult on an option for connecting the London Overground network to the Old Oak Common station in advance of any period for petitioning against the High Speed 2 Bill. Also on road link over canal and branch northwards on Crossrail. (corrected, Nov 8, after clarification from T Cardis).

March – April 2014.  2nd reading of HS2 bill.  Petitions from TfL and LBHF for inclusions in HS2 Bill.  TfL will petition for the Overground extension over Wormwood Scrubs, and a northern branch of Crossrail.   LBHF may petition for the road link over the canal; that there should be no rail depot north of Little Scrubs; Overground station on North London Line; and for early delivery of Crossrail to accelerate development.

May – June 2014. Committee stage of HS2 Bill.

2014.  LBHF consultation on Local Plan including new policies for Old Oak, followed by consultation on ‘Supplementary Planning Document’ for the area.

2020 start construction of Overground extension, and Old Oak station

2026 Completion of Overground extension and Old Oak International

2026.  Earliest likely Release of North Pole Depot, although LBHF will continue to lobby for an earlier date.   LBHF lawyers are still considering the legal position of NPD, given that the land was dedicated specifically to Eurostar.  There is an argument that an amendment to the 1987 HS1 Act would be needed to allow residential development on this land.

Impact on Wormwood Scrubs

Tom Cardis understands that TfL are considering a modest change in the proposed overground extension route, taking it further north along the boundary before looping across the west end of the Scrubs.

The present North Pole Depot sheds are approximately 7m high, and can be seen over the embankment from Wormwood Scrubs.   The Overground extension viaduct running parallel to the north  boundary of the Subs would be at least 4.5m high, to which has to be added the height of the trains thereon, a further 4m.  Residential development on the NPD site is likely to require at least five stories in order to attract developers – a minimum of 15-20m high, overlooking the Scrubs.   Thus the whole of the north side of the Scrubs would be massively overlooked (not to mention the tower blocks envisaged as part of the station complex), as well as directly impacted by the noise of passing trains.

Direct access to Wormwood Scrubs is proposed from the International station and the residential development.    LBHF have reduced the number of access points to one (from three) - only indicative at this stage.   Within the current HS2 remit there is no access and this could only be provided once the IEP depots are released – probably after 2030.   No plans have as yet been drawn up for the future format of Wormwood Scrubs.   TC expressed sympathy with the view that the wilderness and LNRs should be left as little changed as possible.

Tom Cardis stated that there will be NO reduction in the woodland habitats.  As currently proposed by TfL the viaduct will be built on the edge of North Pole Depot, NOT intruding on the Scrubs, up to the point at which it starts to loop at the west end.

Other points

The boundary of Wormwood Scrubs along the line of the steel security fence at the top of Lester’s Embankment is confirmed by TC.

The Overground extension should be the only matter where there is a conflict of interest between LBHF as Trustee of the Wormwood Scrubs Charity and as planning authority.   Building of the overground extension viaduct would probably require an amendment to the 1879 Act, “or repeal”!  This could be included in the HS2 Bill petition.

LBHF would like to see the Crossrail station opened in advance of HS2 (scheduled for 2026) to give residents fast access into London.

On the East side of the present West London Line, LBHF plans demolition of the Mitre Lane industrial estate in favour of residential development overlooking Little Wormwood Scrubs (which is within Hammersmith but managed by Kensington).

Old Oak International Station is planned on three levels:  HS2/HS1 below ground, GWML and Crossrail at ground level, and the Overground extension on the viaduct.

Ian Tegner

Campaign meeting of Sunday Sept 8th

The campaign met at the Pavilion pub.

Reports from Stewart, Ian (and David J) Tony, Nina, Jon, David L and Miriam on campaign activities to date.


- that the next meeting would be Sunday Nov 3rd at 5pm at the Pavilion pub

- that the FOWWS would do an online whip-around to cover campaign expenses

- that printing and copying expenses to date (just over £100) would be reimbursed to those who incurred them

- that David Lindo, Lester Holloway, Stewart Dalby and Stephanie Gray would lead on developing a media strategy to be presented to the next campaign meeting

- that David Lindo would take the lead on contacting environmental groups

- that Steph would circulate agreed action items 

Susie, Nina, Sara & others have produced a leaflet that sets out the case. If you want to download, print and distribute, here is a link to the word file:

The text of the leaflet is as follows. (The word document pointed to above has all the formatting that this post has lost)


Calling all local residents   - and all who know and love it  —

Say NO! to ruining Wormwood  Scrubs                       


The Scrubs is in danger  of being destroyed forever by development.  What with all the other nearby developments  (by Imperial College, in the Westway area,  and to the north and northwest of  Old Oak Common) WE NEED TO RETAIN  AS MUCH OPEN GREEN SPACE AS POSSIBLE!     NOW READ ON:

You may have recently received  a leaflet from the Mayor, ”Old oak  - A Vision for the Future” — which explained how ”Your area is changing”. 


BUT THIS LEAFLET DIDN’T PROVIDE  THE FULL STORY of how the proposed  developments for the area on the north  side of the Scrubs could affect residents  in Hammersmith and North Kensington

FOR THE FULL STORY, look  at the “Mayor’s Vision” on the websites:

In particular, look at graphics  in Part 1 – Figure 2.1 (the real  overview showing the new Overground), and  in Part 2 – Figure 5.4.

A sensitive development is needed.   Developing some land north of the Scrubs  is a good idea — but NOT in  the way that the Council and the  Mayor want to do it. It doesn’t  show clearly on the leaflet graphic that  THEY WANT TO PUT A MASSIVE VIADUCT,  CARRYING A NEW OVERGROUND RAILWAY, CUTTING  RIGHT ACROSS THE ACTUAL COMMON, AND BUILD  A STATION WITH VISUALLY DOMINANT HIGH-RISE  BUILDINGS RIGHT ON THE NORTHERN EDGE OF  THE COMMON! 

So how would this ”Vision”  really affect you?

   —The Scrubs, our  wonderful, unique urban green space,used by  walkers, sports people, 

      runners,  birders, picnickers, model airplane flyers,  etc. - would be destroyed forever.

   —The Scrubs’  precious  local nature reserves, with all their  rich wildlife, would be ruined. 

   —The environmental noise  levels in nearby neighbourhoods would rise  considerably,  

      affecting  their tranquillity.     



• Respond to the Mayor

Old Oak -  A Vision for the Future Consultation,  June 2013 

by Friday 20 September 2013, at 5p.m

WRITE TO:   Mayor of London           and SIGN THE PETITION on our website:     

Old Oak Vision  consultation                     www.

Greater London  Authority               or: TEXT + your name  to:

City Hall                                                  07766414243

The Queens  Walk 

London SE1  2A

If you have  any questions, ring Susie Gretz (Friends  of the Scrubs)  0208 749 1969.


So what’s the worry? (part 1)

Save Our Scrubs is not anti-development.

But our common land should not be sacrificed to the developers. Look at the chunk taken out of the North West corner by the rail line. Why not use some of the space occupied by those park-side high rises? Oh … might it be because of the luxury flats they’ve got planned?


Here, for comparison, is what the North West corner looks like right now.


The computer generated aspirational images are taken from Boris’ consultation document:

Register your dismay at the online consultation:

Our Goal

Save our Scrubs is a campaign that aims to ensure that all development around Wormwood Scrubs fully respects the present character of the Scrubs as a a common land for the enjoyment and recreation of all Londoners, a diverse habitat, a managed wilderness and a series of local nature reserves.
The specific development pressures at the Old Oak interchange in the Northwest of the Scrubs - especially HS2, Crossrail and the London Overground - all have the potential to seriously disrupt Wormwood Scrubs. 
Save Our Scrubs demands that developments in this area not be dictated just by the interests of developers, but be sensitive to the needs and desires of all those with a stake in Wormwood Scrubs Common, including its diverse wildlife.