Mortimer Terrace Nature Reserve is an Asset of Community Value and much loved nature reserve originally established by a covenant in the late 19th Century, as a green buffer for the purpose of protecting the houses along Gordon House Road from the pollution of the railway network. It remains a vital lung for the local community who live on one of the busiest streets in the area as well as a offering a haven for wildlife.
The site ownership changed in June 2021 and the new owner has now put the reserve up for sale on October 14. We dispute the legality of this change of ownership and asked the auctioneers McHugh & Co to withdraw it from sale. They refused but the site failed to reach its reserve price. We are now calling on Camden to help via a compulsory purchase of the site and other options.
We have also launched our crowdfunder to help us pay for maintenance and buy the site from the owners.
Managed by the local community since 1987
Our very own local hero, Jeanne Pendrill, has been managed the site for over 30 years, for a time together with the London Wildlife Trust. Thanks to Jeanne’s hard work and an army of volunteers, the site has always been open to the community and local schools, clubs and groups. They have all had regular use of the site, always accessible, always free.
Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (Grade One)
Mortimer Terrace is a Grade One Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), it is featured in the Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum Local Plan as a designated green space. The local plan was adopted via referendum in 2019
Asset of Community Value
Mortimer Terrace Nature Reserve has been registered as an Asset of Community Value since 2016. It was one of the first designated ACV sites in Camden, the application was drafted by Jessica Jacobs and submitted by the Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum. The renewal of the ACV was submitted by Emily O’Mara.
Woodland Tree Preservation Order
The reserve also has a rare Camden Woodland Tree Preservation Order, meaning not just one tree is protected but ALL trees.
Board of Trustees
In 2016 Mortimer Terrace formalised itself as a community managed nature reserve with constitution and board of Trustees. This constitution was renewed in 2018.
Under Threat from Speculative Buyers who mistakenly think they will be able to develop the site
In June 2019 the owners suddenly announced they were terminating the lease. Without warning, when schoolchildren from Gospel Oak school were visiting the site, one of the owners turned up and changed the locks and telling the children to leave. They locked the gates and put the site up for sale at auction – the community was mobilised to save the nature reserve, pushing through a stalled renewal of its status as an asset of community value. Thanks to the efforts of the trustees and the local community the owners had to remove the site from sale. The strength of community feeling remains strong and we are now fundraising to purchase the land for the community.
In 2019 Camden Community Makers made Consequences, a short film about the pressures on the city farm and the nature reserve caused by speculation surrounding Murphy’s Yard Development.