In the past few weeks Bromley council have been consulting on their draft Open Spaces Strategy. The closing date for submissions was 7th January 2021. We as well as other Friends groups, other groups and members of the public from across the borough, totalling about 800, are understood to have responded to this draft document. We felt that the document was poorly laid out and very difficult to read, and that the associated online survey was severely limited in its options. So therefore instead we sent them a detailed submission.
The main points of our response included –
- We welcomed the recognition of important role of Friends and other local community groups.
- The true financial value to our health and well being (aka ‘Natural Capital’) of our green spaces is not to be quantified, as against asset value by “repurposing” (e.g. sale for commercial development).
- Concerned that main aim of this document appeared to be to justify the exploitation of our green spaces as assets; for either inappropriate income generation, either by ‘repurposing’ for commercial purposes, or even disposal for building developments.
- Our strong opposition to any suggestion of installing turbines or solar cells on Martins Hill, a recognised site of biodiversity.
- No realistic measurements of success seem to be provided in this document.
To read our full submission PLEASE USE THIS LINK
Councillor Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for the Environment, has released a statement stating that they “……were not about to sell any park and that we adore our green spaces and environment.” However our previous experience is that the council has been only too willing to sell off parts of public parks for commercial development; e.g. parts of Queens Gardens, part of Bromley Palace Park.
The council have advised that they have received some 800 submissions and that “The final analysis alongside an updated Open Space Strategy will be discussed at a future meeting of the Environment PDS Committee before the long-term strategy is adopted.” Our Friends group shall be following this ongoing process very actively.