Today (4/8) we call for a better deal for open spaces. We have published charters and have written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and to all of England’s planning authorities and to Julie James, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, and all of Wales’s planning authorities.
We call on government to introduce a national plan and standards for open spaces, and to place a duty on local authorities to ensure that everyone can enjoy good-quality, well-maintained and safe open space within 300 metres of their homes. We say that such spaces should be secured as part of development. Local Green Space must offer greater protection than now, and the process for designating it must be improved.
The society urges planning authorities to adopt robust policies for the acquisition, management and protection of green spaces, to have a budget for them and to dedicate their green spaces as town or village green to ensure their protection.
We recommend communities to get involved in their local planning processes before land is allocated for development, to identify spaces which need protection and to form friends’ groups to champion local spaces.
Says Phil Wadey, our newly-elected chairman: ‘During lockdown people have enjoyed their local spaces and paths as never before, and this use continues beyond the pandemic. We know there is a great disparity in the distribution and quality of open spaces, and that investment in these assets provides excellent value for money by improving people’s health and well-being. We therefore call on government, local authorities and communities to work together to ensure that everyone has access to good-quality green space close to home. This is a vital element of the green recovery after the pandemic. We have made proposals as to how this can be achieved.’