Yesterday supporters of Canada Water West gathered to unveil a beautiful handcrafted oak sign to rename a wildlife area, situated on the edge of the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, “Ada’s Garden”. We are highlighting the importance of the site to the local community, in the hope that even more people will respond to a Southwark Council consultation that could yet save it from being cut down.
British Land, the owner of the shopping centre, abruptly removed a sign that had been located there just over a year ago. The old sign explained how the wildlife area helped “support and safeguard the diversity of plant and animal life”. We see this every day with dunnocks, blue tits, wrens, robins, wood pigeons and blackbirds making regular appearances. The old sign was removed shortly after it emerged that Southwark Council, British Land’s development partner, wanted to cut down the trees to build a replacement for the Seven Islands leisure centre.
The naming of the garden is a 150th birthday tribute to Ada Salter (1866 – 1942) who planted thousands of trees locally and understood the importance of areas like this for people’s wellbeing. Ada was the first woman Mayor in London (Bermondsey, 1922) and a social and environmental campaigner. “The cultivation of flowers and trees is a civic duty,” she said. Ada had a vision for a garden city and cared deeply about our area.
The Council’s consultation on the site of the new leisure centre glosses over the fact that the area is full of mature trees and is a rare wild space that cannot be replaced. It claims that there is no other suitable location on the 45-acre Canada Water Masterplan area.
You can help save Ada’s Garden by responding to the consultation here and answering ‘No’ to Question 2. The consultation closes on 4th April.