Just one day after Bromley Council closed its controversial consultation on open spaces, Councillor William Huntington-Thresher released a knee-jerk denial about the disposal and repurposing of open spaces.
In this denial he claims the strategy was “always about conserving or enhancing public spaces...it was never about selling parkland”. Yet in the strategy document, one of the first challenges Bromley Council claims it's facing is the need to “be brave enough recognise when open space should be repurposed”. Its first strategic objective involves plans to identify open spaces that require “reassignment (including development or disposal)”. Exactly how it plans to do this is left an open question.
He went on further to accuse local people that highlighted the potential of sale of open spaces as stated in the strategy documents of making “deliberately misleading comments being circulated across social media attempting to frighten people into believing otherwise”. This is tantamount to gaslighting and local people have taken to social media to refute the Portfolio Holders accusations.
Over the past nine months Bromley residents, like all people, have endured tough restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. For many, the only greenery accessible are their local parks and open spaces. And even for those with gardens, a walk in the park has become an invaluable routine. We recognise now, more than ever, how important our local public spaces are to our mental health.
Left unchecked, this council could continue to force an agenda which could see open spaces facing “disposal” with a characteristic lack of consultation. Bromley residents deserve a fresh, liberal voice in council to challenge the overwhelming Tory majority.
See our response to the consultation here.