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“You roll on roads over fresh green grass, for your lorry loads, pumping petrol gas” sang Cat Stevens. “I know we’ve come a long way, we’re changing day to day, but tell me, where do the children play?”


The magical Southwark Woods, threatened by development for 6,000 lucrative burial plots lies in one of the poorest and most polluted London boroughs. These woodlands are well loved and well used by families, walkers, schools, artists, historians, for contact with nature and for play, for mental and physical health, for learning and pleasure.


Woodlands are beyond party politics and the campaign to Save Southwark Woods continues to be supported by people from across the political spectrum.


Last night on Nunhead American Radio, Naomi Newstead, the Conservative candidate for the Camberwell and Peckham seat, currently held by Labour MP Harriet Harman, gave her view:


“There is a danger in London that everything is getting sanitised. There’s so much pressure all the time on the character of the place getting lost. In south east London where the kids can play in these wilder places, we’ve just got to keep them – that’s just got to be the decision that’s got to be made.”


When asked by the show’s host, American comedian Lewis Schaffer, what Naomi thought the council’s rationale might be, she replied:


“They must have some rationale, they’re going to earn money from selling off the plots aren’t they? But then there’s the other value, that you don’t really consider when you’ve got a space like a woodland – it has so much value that you can’t quantify or put a figure on.”


The campaign has support from across the political spectrum, including Southwark Green Party, the Trade Union Socialist Coalition, Liberal Democrat Councillor James Barber and the All People’s Party.


The Teddy Bears’ 100 Acre Wood Walk on Sunday will bring local families and friends together to celebrate Southwark Woods, and show the strength of feeling for preserving all that these woods give to the community and south London.


Where will the children play?

3rd March 2015