Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Robbing the Poor.....

The council's Parks and Green Space Strategy swings into action as stakeholder groups across the city start surveying public land within each of the 14 Neighbourhood Partnership areas. We should end up with Area Green Space Plans suggesting (among other things) what should be sold off so that the rest can be improved.

It's all target led, of course. Top of the list is to realize the £87 million capital funding, and the biggest chunk of this, £41 million is expected to come from land sales. Well, not really £41 million; more like £60 million, because a third of it goes into general council funds.

There are more targets to make sure every neighbourhood reaches agreed standards for access to local quality green space. Looks very egalitarian at first sight.... until you look at the likely winners and losers.

In Stockwood and Hengrove, we're runners-up in the Green Space assets league, with a whopping 94 sq. metres per person. (Shirehampton and Lawrence Weston are top, thanks to the Blaise Castle estate). Footing the table are leafy Westbury-on-Trym, Henleaze and Redland (Britains Greenest place, according to a recent survey), where residents have to make do with just 4 sq metres of public open space per head.

The target is for every area to have at least 18m2 per perperson

You can guess the rest.....

But it gets worse. A year ago, when the Parks Strategy was being drafted, they reckoned that around 90 acres of 'low (public) value' land would need to be sold to raise the capital. They can't be so optimistic now - with the bottom falling out of the property market, land values will drop and the other hoped-for source of cash, 'Section 106' development deals, is drying up. It's going to take a lot more than 90 acres to fund the Parks Strategy, and the poorer outer suburbs will be first in line to make the extra sacrifice.

1 comment:

Glenn Vowles said...

A strong point very well made Pete.

Looks like we could lose the Northern Slopes in the Knowle/Filwood/Windmill Hill partnership area....