Gedling Borough Council are still intent on pushing ahead with plans to sell Haywood Road Bowling Green to a housing developer. This directly contradicts its own Green Space Strategy which identifies Porchester Gardens as one of the areas most deficient in parks, community gardens, amenity green space, allotments and children’s play areas in the entire borough, despite having one of the highest concentrations of population. It also states that Gedling Borough Council should be taking steps to alleviate this problem.
Gedling Borough Council’s Green Space Strategy is the document which details how they will manage the parks and green spaces in this area. It is ‘driven by community need’ and so takes into account the needs of local communities and groups in society, the environmental importance of green space and Planning Policy Guidance 17 which is the central government policy on green space. The Green Space Strategy is the document that Gedling Borough Council must follow when making decisions the future of green areas.
Clearly this is very relevant to Gedling Borough Council’s plans to sell Haywood Road Bowling Green. As it is quite a lengthy document we have examined it in detail and extracted all aspects of the policy which are relevant to the bowling green.
The strategy clearly identifies the current deficiencies in the Porchester Gardens area and it also provides recommendations on how to remedy these deficiencies. All wording in italics is a direct quote from the report.
The strategy categorises the various types of green space as described in PPG 17, the planning policy guidance that the strategy must follow. The introduction states that the strategy has the following vision:
“To provide sufficient quality, inviting green spaces that are open and accessible to all and that enhance the quality of life of everyone living, working of visiting Gedling Borough.”
This will be achieved focusing on the following priorities to provide a range of open spaces and recreational experiences.
– To enhance people’s quality of life through the provision of sufficient, accessible, attractive green spaces.
– To promote the central role that green spaces play in contributing to the Boroughs biodiversity, sustainability and heritage.
– To provide open spaces and play and sports facilities to enable residents to undertake a wide range of recreational and educational activities for healthy living.
– To actively involve the community in their local open spaces.
– Increase participation in green spaces for sport and recreation.
It then mentions delivery of the strategy shaped by the values of Gedling Borough Council, two of which are:
A caring and fair Council (one that treats customers, residents, partners and staff well; one that is a pleasure to deal with; one that champions the needs of disadvantaged individuals and groups)
A listening Council (one that welcomes different perspectives; is open to feedback; one that listens to and involves the people it serves)
Below are three of the key findings of GBCs own research on open spaces.
|The number of dwellings in the borough is set to increase to meet housing need.||This strategy needs to ensure that the future need for parks and open space provision is met as housing numbers increase.
|The proportion of the Borough’s residents who are 60 and over is estimated to rise significantly by 2031.||Open space provision must reflect the needs of an increasing older population, in terms of the type and accessibility.|
|The level of adults participating in sport and active recreation (3 x 30 minutes of exercise per week) fell from 23.7% in 2009/10 to 21.3% in 2010/11 according to the Active People Survey 2010.||This Strategy needs to ensure that the Borough’s residents have sufficient opportunity to participate in sport and active recreation in our parks and open spaces.|
The government appointed CABE in 2013 who identified the following as how green space contributes to quality of life:
– Urban renaissance
– Health and wellbeing
– Social inclusion and community development
– Education and lifelong learning
– Environment and ecology
– Heritage and culture
– Promoting more sustainable development
Of the identified categories of green space, the four main categories that Haywood Road Bowling Green is or may be relevant to in the future are:
- Parks and Gardens
- Amenity Green Space
- Provision for Children and Young People
- Allotments and Community Gardens
It could also be considered under Outdoor Sports Provision.
Parks and Gardens
This type of open space includes urban parks, formal gardens and country parks that provide opportunities for various informal recreation and community activity.
Recommended Accessibility Standard is a 14 minute walk, 1.1km or 510 metres from a park or garden.
The boundary between Woodthorpe ward and Porchester ward is identified as an area deficient in parks and gardens.
Report recommendation: ‘When enhancing provision ensure priority is made in urban areas of deficiency as this covers the largest concentration of residents’
Amenity Green Space
This type of open space is most commonly found in housing areas. It includes informal recreation spaces and greenspaces in and around housing, with the primary purpose of providing opportunities for informal activities close to home or work or enhancing the appearance of residential or other areas.
Public consultation results identified amenity green space as the second most important type of open space by respondents with 89% using them in the last six months.
The south west of Porchester ward is considered to have a deficiency in Amenity Green Space.
This section concludes that:
Amenity green spaces can be large useful areas of land but also can be small pieces of land within housing estates that may be too small to have any significant recreational value. However there is an aesthetic value of small amenity green space sites within housing areas.
The accessibility maps clearly show some areas of the district lack this type of open space. It is these areas where the Council should prioritise new provision provided there is the land available to do so.
The council should Protect and enhance all amenity green space in the district if it is considered to hold recreational value (over 0.2ha) and where there is a limited amount of other green space within the local area.
Provision for Children and Young People
The report identifies Porchester as one of the wards with the greatest deficiency in standard play provision. Hectare provision per 1000 head of population is recommended as 1.21 hectares per 1000 head. The Porchester ward has a provision of 0 hectares per 1000 head.
Porchester is identified as a specific area without a play facility, recommended accessibility standards are 400m from a play area at least 400m2 and 1.2km from a play area at least 1000m2.
The report recommends:
Investigate whether any amenity green space or park and garden sites in areas where there is a deficiency of play equipment already have elements of play in them, and establish if they could have a play area located on them. When doing this it is important to consider the deficiencies between different age groups.
Subject to land being available to seek resources for additional provision of play areas in the Mapperley Plains area near Mapperley top, the north side of Porchester ward and also around the border of Carlton Hill, Carlton and Valley ward.
Allotments and Community Gardens
Like other open space types, allotments can provide a number of wider benefits to the community as well as the primary use of growing produce. These include:
- bringing together people of different cultural backgrounds
- improving physical and mental health
- providing a source of recreation
- wider contribution to green and open space.
A trend which could influence demand is group plots. In Netherfield there is currently a successful Community plot and several schools sites also have school plots. These offer grown your own educational opportunities and can prepare people with the skills for when they acquire their own plot. These plots limit availability in plots for individuals and therefore it is recommended a policy is introduced to allow one community allotment plot per Gedling Borough Council owned site. Over the last 5 years some sites managed by associations such as Stoke Lane site have created community allotments within their sites.
Porchester is identified as one of the areas where there are no allotment facilities accessible by foot. The report recommends: ‘… if it is viable to identify a new site in the Mapperley Plains area, a location between Porchester and Woodthorpe ward would be preferred due to the lack of provision within the walking threshold.’
The key findings of the report state that for:
Parks and Gardens ‘When enhancing provision ensure priority is made in urban areas of deficiency as this covers the largest concentration of residents’.
Amenity Green Space ‘Protect and enhance all amenity green space in the district if it is considered to hold recreational value (over 0.2ha)’ Haywood Road Bowling Green is over 0.2ha. ‘When amenity green space is provided ensure it is located where it can be a focal point for the local community’
Provision for Children and Young People ‘Investigate whether any amenity green space or park and garden sites in areas where there is a deficiency of play equipment already have elements of play in them, and establish if they could have a play area located on them’
‘Subject to land being available to seek resources for additional provision of play areas in the Mapperley Plains area near Mapperley top, the north side of Porchester ward and also around the border of Carlton Hill, Carlton and Valley ward.’
Allotments ‘To identify additional land for allotment provision within the urban conurbation once a better understanding is gained of the local demand for allotment plots. It is recommended a cost benefit analysis exercise is conducted on the provision of a new site in comparison to the extension of existing sites’
We believe the green space at the Community Centre fully meets the standards and requirements set out in Gedling Borough Council’s Green Space Strategy for its continued maintenance and further enhancement as a working green space. As the Porchester Garden’s only local green space it has massive potential and we have plans to ensure it is open to all in the local community and that it is fully integrated into our ambitions for the newly revived Community Centre.
Under our plans, we will ensure that it offers a vibrant environment as a park and garden and amenity green space; that it provides a cultural place for developing open-space opportunities for children, our elderly residents and our young people and that it is developed to offer allotments and a community garden as a sanctuary and inspirational space for all.
We are requesting that Gedling Borough Council honours its own policy and strategy and confirms that the space be retained for the Porchester Gardens community together with its welcome support to the residents to transfer the Haywood Road Community Centre to local management and control.
Please sign our petition on the right hand side of the page and help to spread the word to local residents who may not be aware of what is happening.