Bromley Open Space Strategy should not ‘dispose of’ parks

By Alice Roberts
5th January 2021

Bromley Council must reject all references to development or disposal of precious green spaces in its new Open Space Strategy.

CPRE London has urged local residents to write to Bromley Council to register their concern about the draft Open Spaces Strategy closing date 7 January 2021.

CPRE London campaigner Alice Roberts said: “We are very concerned about the draft Open Space Strategy, a central aim of which is to identify green spaces ‘for development or disposal’. We strongly object to the Open Space Strategy’s central aim to build on and/or dispose of green space and urge that the council does not agree any document with these aims.

Alice explained that, in several places, the draft strategy contains actions aimed at getting rid of open spaces. “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 points out that ‘poor quality’ space or ‘not well-used’ space is NOT a reason to get rid of green space. There are references to assessing the quality of space in the document, without any indication of the potential for the improvement of these spaces. Where spaces are regarded as poor quality or where it is felt ‘these are poor spaces not well used’ – CPRE London argues this is mainly because no investment has taken place either through benign neglect or deliberately: 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 London also says that the “Gap analysis of open space amenities and facilities” proposed under Strategic Objective 1 must be based on the expected increased population, and on regional needs, for example the need for sports pitches, and must take account of the fact that much of Bromley already has less greenspace than is needed for the 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.

Alice said: “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.”

Letter Bromley Open Spaces Strategy Response Jan 2021