Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Paying for the Parks

It's just over a year since the council adopted its Parks and Green Space Strategy, a plan to restore Bristol's parks to something to be proud of. Except, of course, those parks and green spaces that get sold off to pay for the rest.

We're more than a little nervous about this in the south east corner of the city - after all, we've got 94 square metres apiece to gambol about in, whereas residents of more deprived areas - like Henleaze and Redland - have to wedge themselves into as little 4 sq. m. Always conscious of equality issues, the Strategy wants to redress the balance, and has set quantity standards for each neighbourhood.

It could be achieved by moving a load of people from those northern inner suburbs out here into the fresh air. We've the land to build them new homes, away from the overcrowding and pollution of the city. Like the Sally Army sending the huddled masses out to the colonies. Then, the places where they used to live could be returned to nature, for the enjoyment of those who remain. Possibly that was the centralist, socialist Labour administration's plan. Let's be realistic, though; the libertarian LibDems probably won't go for it.

So it's a problem, and it's made worse by the recession. The £90 million quid that was to be raised by selling 'low value' land looks like a joke now. Does it mean they'll have to up the original estimate of 90 acres of public open space to be sold off to developers?

In search of the truth, I've put down a question for our new Chief Parkie, Gary Hopkins, to answer at the Cabinet meeting next Thursday. It asks if the Strategy will be reviewed in the light of plummetting land values, who'll be involved, and when they'll tell Joe Public what they're up to.

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