The Old Leather Bottle pub on Heron Hill in Belvedere was the site of some
serious excavation six months ago.
To my untrained eye the houses above it looked precarious to say the least.
There was nothing about it on Bexley Council’s planning portal and that appears
to remain the case. A search on ‘Leather Bottle’ produces nothing newer than
2008 and ‘Heron Hill’ has only one entry since 2012 - and it’s nothing to do with the pub.
I took a look two weeks ago to see how things were progressing and found that so little had changed that I didn’t even bother to take a picture, then yesterday I was urged to get down there ASAP. I did.
As in October the production of a camera created instant interest from the people on site, all very polite and civilised I should add, but they wanted to know why I was taking pictures and was I from the council.
I told the gentleman with the bushy beard and turban that I was simply taking pictures of changes to the local scene and that I wasn’t from the council, adding “far from it, I hate the bastards”. All true and he seemed to be reassured. Our conversation then drifted off in the direction of river crossings and the need for more housing.
He said that Bexley Council had taken a look at the site yesterday and were happy with what was going on and I could check with them if I liked. What was rather strange is that the Sikh gentleman claimed to have no idea what was going to be built there, both houses and offices were mentioned as possibilities. "We will build whatever Bexley Council wants us to."
I suppose there is some truth in that comment, they will build anything that makes a quick buck and there is nothing illegal about that, it just seems to be very much cart before the horse and is bound to raise the suspicions of local residents.
So long as the ground being worked on is theirs and the grubbed up trees were not protected they are probably in law guilty only of digging up their own garden with an unusually large tool kit, however some reports say that work has strayed outside the old pub garden boundary.
There were three vehicles from a specialist sheet piling contractor there this morning.
The old pub building is already occupied and the established footpath through the site appears to have been preserved.
Reader's pictures taken Tuesday 29th March.