THE MILL HILL PRESERVATION SOCIETY
THE MILL HILL PRESERVATION SOCIETY
Chairman : R. IVAR GUNN, Esq.
A N e w S o c i e t y
ITS AIM, ITS FIRST TASK, ITS NEED
The Mill Hill Preservation Society was founded by a resolution passed by a small group of Mill Hill inhabitants on the 2nd September 1949. These inhabitants had met only to consider, and if necessary oppose, a threat to destroy the aspect and character of certain areas of Mill Hill. This threat was conveyed in the intention of Hendon Corporation to ask the Minister of Health to authorise it to acquire, by compulsory purchase, seven sites, together of 82 acres, on which to build houses. (Vide advertisement in Hendon and Finchley Times, 19th and 26th August 1949.)
One of the sites received the special consideration of the meeting : it comprises two fields of, together, 19.5 acres bounded by Lawrence Street and Marsh Lane. For generations these fields, which a public footpath crosses, have been a favourite resort in their leisure of inhabitants of Hendon and day visitors from London. To all of us in Mill Hill the reason is obvious : as the path rises there is a wide and ever-enlarging landscape great interest. In every season no grander view of country is offered anywhere in the borough of Hendon – and of course never will be. When view-point are destroyed, they are irreplaceable. here on the ‘roof’ of Mill Hill the appeal to the eye matched by the tonic of freshening air. It is a haven of quite rural beauty.
LAWRENCE STREET, ‘ESCAPE ROUTE’
Regrettably little country is left to Mill Hill after its swift conversion from village to town in the last 25 years. Here in Lawrence Street is an ‘escape road’ to the country, the one nearest to the urban core of Mill Hill, a road where, in 1945, a dairy-herd gave the biggest milk-yield in Milddlesex, where a tree rare in this district, the Whitebeam, has been allowed to survive, and where at least 60 species of birds have been observed.
Another of the seven sites, Broadfields, 43.5 acres, off the Watford By-Pass and below Deacons Hill and Scratch Wood, has also considerable title to preservation as an open space.
That the greater number of persons now and hereafter will be served better by saving the fields of Lawrence Street and Broadfields for enjoyment, rather than by laying roads and pavements and peopling these sites now and for all time, is the view of the Committee of Mill Hill Preservation Society. Its arguments are contained in a formal notice of objection lodged with the Minister of Health on the 15th September 1949. These same arguments will be advanced and elaborated by learned counsel at the Public Enquiry that is permitted before the Minister of Health may decide whether or not to approve purchase by compulsion.
The urgent need of new housing accommodation provided that it is on suitable sites is fully recognised by the Committee, whose opinion is that the five other sites scheduled are not unsuited to the provision of houses.
Whether our opposition succeeds or fails in this instance the Mill Hill Preservation Society must remain – and remain active. In many towns and villages such a society has proved to be necessary. In the past Mill Hill has not been noticeably active in meeting assaults on its amenities. In 25 years it has yielded o the builder more rural land than any corresponding region around London. Actions such as threaten Mill Hill in respect of Lawrence Street may occur anywhere else in the district. This possibility it was that caused a few residents met to handle an urgent question to decide, within a few minutes, to found a society of larger and lasting aims.
HOLD FAST TO THE GREEN BELT
In existence, as a result, is a rapidly-growing body representative of residents, schools and other institutions whose common purpose is the care and protection, where desirable, of features of terrain, landscape and architecture and whose wish and object is the presentation of its ideas, whenever this appears to be justified, to the public authorities.
Unnoticed by the mass of the population around London, from time to time there have been nibbles of the Green Belt, a section of which is within Mill Hill – a Belt that may loosened, if not snapped, by decision of the Minister of Health.
What is the first task of our new society? To try to save and preserve two prized remnants of rural Hendon. Soon a petition against the Corporation’s scheme will be circulated in Hendon and signatures in support of the petition will be invited.
Beyond this urgent and immediate task is the need for constant vigilance, and, on that account, certain expenditure for correspondence, printing, stationery, etc., will be necessary. In parentheses it may be stated that no payment to any of he Society’s officers is proposed. The decision of the Committee is to seek annual subscriptions of 2s. 6p. from as many people as possible, the Society’s year to start from 2nd September.
In order that its case to the Minister of Health may be put properly and adequately the Society is employing, asit must, legal aid. Consequently there will be fees to pay. For this reason the Committee has opened a special fund, to be called the Mill Hill Defence Fund, which will be used to defray legal costs incurred on the Society’s behalf and to which donations are invited.
YOUR SUPPORT MEANS MUCH
It is the earnest request and hope of the Committee that you will support the Society’s objects by
On behalf of the Committee
16th September 1949 R. IVAR GUNN, Chairman