Are the Tories Planning to sell off our Green Spaces?

Bromley Lib Dems have submitted their response to Bromley Council's consultation on the future of Green Spaces in the Borough.   One of the objectives of the Conservative Council's consultation is to identify "green spaces for development or disposal". The Lib Dems want Bromley Council to guarantee that there will be no reduction in the available green spaces in the borough.

You can read the full response here. In summary the Lib Dems have highlighted these issues:

  • A stated action in the report is to identify green spaces for development or disposal.  We are aware that more homes are required and believe that the council should focus efforts on using brownfield sites rather than our open spaces. Over the last year we have found that green spaces have been vital, particularly for those who live in flats without gardens, and any reduction in the number of green spaces is detrimental.  We would like to see Bromley Council guarantee that there will be no reduction in the available green spaces in the borough.  
  • We want to see increased  provision of sporting facilities - as Bromley’s population grows, the need for high-quality facilities such as outdoor gyms, tennis courts and dedicated paths for cycling and running would be beneficial. The UK has a growing childhood obesity issue and these facilities will help to tackle the issue. 
  • We have concerns about the consequences of the report's promised commercialisation opportunities.  Whilst we support the idea of commercial opportunities in open spaces, there must be guarantees that these opportunities are beneficial to our open spaces and communities and that any profits that the Council makes off this is reinvested into our open spaces. We  do not believe that increasing revenue through commercial activity should be a key objective of the strategy and that the focus should be on  increasing the amenity and services offered in open spaces.
  • A major deficiency in the proposal is the lack of commitment to accessibility. We believe that public toilets should be readily accessible in green spaces where possible. These facilities are essential for the enjoyment of our green spaces particularly to those with young children and the elderly and also improves the cleanliness of parks. 
  • There is a noticeable lack of partnership or consultation with any societies or groups which represent people with a form of disability. We believe this is a major oversight and should be dealt with as everyone in our community should be able to enjoy the outdoors safely and easily. This also carries over to the surrounding streets near open spaces: ensuring that there is enough space on pavements; cycle lanes connecting green spaces and; ensuring reaching open spaces is safe for everyone especially young children.
  • Waste in our green spaces is a massive issue, in particular plastic bottles. One way in which people we consulted was the introduction of water fountains. Introducing water foundations would reduce the need for disposable plastic bottles and minimise hazards to wildlife.  
  • Increasing biodiversity - for example the lake in Kelsey Park has not been dredged which is causing stagnation of water. This would have a massive impact on local wildlife and potentially impact rare species such as newts. Creating natural corridors by planting a large variety of native plant species in parks and on verges will also help improve the biodiversity found in Bromley and would provide an amazing opportunity for school children to learn about sustainability, recycling, nature and health issues. The National History Museum recently reported that England has caused a mass wipeout of biodiversity and we have a great opportunity to reverse this in our own Borough.
  • We would like to see a commitment to a significant increase in the number of trees around the borough in general and in our green spaces in particular.  Apart from supporting a huge variety of species, they play a significant role in reducing our carbon footprint, absorbing harmful pollutants and releasing clean oxygen for us to breathe.
  • We note that the plan does not mention costs. Concerns have been raised by residents about the Council’s lack of funding for the upkeep of several open spaces such as Bowie Bandstand in Croydon Road Recreation Road and the dredging of Kelsey Park lake. An effective plan would have costs included and promise to meet a minimum standard to ensure that our land is well maintained. We can see from neighbouring Boroughs the success of funding and creating open spaces such as Beckenham Place Park and we strongly believe that the Council must be radical in its decisions to ensure that Bromley sets an example for the rest of London on how to manage and improve green spaces.

Bromley Lib Dems consulted their own members and supporters in Bromley before submitting this response to the consultation, many thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute.