BLACKHEATH nature lovers are worried the heath’s "natural playground" could be destroyed by plans to build a children’s play area on the space.

Proposals to board over part of Eliot Pits’ wild heath land and build a children’s playground has caused an "outcry" from some Blackheath residents.

Support for the development has come from Blackheath Assembly funds and the Mayor of London’s Pocket Parks scheme - which aims to boost green spaces in London’s urban areas.

But Pitstop campaigner Sally Watson, who has helped collect around 550 signatures against the plans, told News Shopper: "There’s been a huge outcry.

"It seems very strange to me that the whole scheme is being promoted as a play space for Blackheath when there is the whole of the heath to play on.

"Eliot Pits is the real thing - it is a natural play space for children. It is quite an important historical ecological place apart from being really nice.

"It just seems to be very bizarre - it would destroy woods there already and replace it with something synthetic."

The 52-year-old mother-of-two admitted there would be support from some parents for a Blackheath-based playground - as the nearest is in Greenwich Park - but it would be "short-sighted" to build it on the heath.

She went on to say other concerns included protecting the ecological importance of the former gravel pit, setting a precedent for further development on the land, as well as problems with security in the secluded setting.

Ms Watson, who lives in St Austell Road, said: "The concern with security is because we can’t put fences around it as it’s Met open land. This will be open to anyone and you do get arson on Blackheath and vandalism.

"It will be a magnet for trouble."

A Lewisham Council spokesman said the council was "mindful" of the "special nature" of Blackheath and an ecological survey, followed by extensive consultation with residents and interested parties would take place before any development decisions.

He said: "The idea for a children’s playground came from an established community forum in Blackheath and the council successfully applied to the Greater London Assembly for funding.

"However, we are very mindful of the special nature of Blackheath and the sensitivities surrounding the project, and much still needs to be done before the proposal can go ahead."

He added there would also be a chance to write to the Planning Inspectorate on the proposals if they were approved with work not expected to start until early next year.

To find out more about the Pitstop campaign visit

Lewisham’s other ‘pocket park’ will come to Sydenham with a new literary piazza in Home Park after gaining £37,500 from the Mayor of London’s scheme which has been matched by council funds.

Do you think it's a good idea to have a playground at Eliot Pits?