Tory-run Bromley Council has drafted a policy which seeks to identify parks and green spaces “for development or disposal”.
The Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England say that they are “very concerned” that Bromley is seeking to sell-off public open spaces.
Bromley’s parks include Crystal Palace Park, close to the borough boundary with Croydon. Bromley has frequently given serious consideration to schemes which have included developing parts of Crystal Palace Park for housing and other uses.
“We are very concerned about the draft Open Space Strategy, a central aim of which is to identify green spaces ‘for development or disposal’,” said CPRE London campaigner Alice Roberts.
“We strongly object to the Open Space Strategy’s central aim to build on or dispose of green space and urge that the council does not agree any document with these aims.
“I would usually expect a borough’s Open Space Strategy to discuss how they will meet the needs of a growing population and improve their offer for local residents. But at the outset there is a statement that one of the challenges will be ‘Being brave enough to recognise when open space should be repurposed’ and the stated Strategic Objective 1 is to ‘Identify open spaces that require alteration, investment or reassignment including development or disposal’.”
CPRE London’s position is that “not well-used” open space is not a reason to get rid of green space.
They state that there are references to assessing the quality of space in the document, without any indication of the potential for the improvement of these spaces. CPRE says that where spaces are regarded as poor quality or the spaces are not well used, “this is mainly because no investment has taken place either through benign neglect or deliberately”.
The CPRE says, “This is not a reason to get rid of green space. It could, and almost certainly should, be transformed to provide a useful amenity for local residents.”
CPRE says that Bromley already has less green space than is needed for its population – as shown on Fields in Trust’s map.
“Given the population is set to grow, all efforts should be made to retain green space to ensure the growing population’s needs are served. Any assessment of need should be made with reference Fields in Trust’s Green Space Standards.
“Clearly Bromley Council is, like all boroughs, the custodian of green spaces and we would not expect any borough, Bromley included, to regard its vital green spaces as assets to be disposed of.”
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