[Diggers350] OSS: vital green spaces missing from levelling-up jigsaw - Open Spaces Society
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Wed Feb 2 21:17:49 GMT 2022
>From: Kate Ashbrook <hq at oss.org.uk>
>Subject: News release: Vital piece missing from levelling-up jigsaw,
>says Open Spaces Society
>Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2022 14:57:27 +0000
>OPEN SPACES SOCIETY
>VITAL PIECE MISSING FROM LEVELLING-UP JIGSAW, SAYS OPEN SPACES SOCIETY
>The Open Spaces Society(1), Britain's national pressure-group for
>green spaces, has criticised today's announcement on levelling up as
>a missed chance to rectify the gross inequality of access to local spaces.
>The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities,
>Michael Gove, has unveiled his
>plan' without a mention of the importance of local green
>spaces. Yet these, which have always been important, proved to be
>vital during the pandemic, for the public's mental and physical
>health, and they have a crucial role in addressing the impact of the
>The paper contains 12 national, levelling-up missions (policy
>objectives) to be given legal status, with the aim of shifting
>government focus and resources to forgotten communities. All this
>is to be achieved by 2030. One aim is to improve wellbeing in every
>area of the UK. Another is to increase people's pride in place,
>closing the gap between the top- and bottom-performing town centres
>and local cultures. It is unclear how these dramatic changes will be achieved.
>The society has long been concerned about the government's lack of
>urgency in addressing inequality of green space. In 2021, when the
>government made amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework
>(NPPF), the society highlighted the bungled opportunity to improve
>and strengthen the process in the NPPF to designate land as a local
>green space (LGS). The society considers it vital that government
>provides sufficient funding, and overhauls neighbourhood planning,
>to ensure that LGS designation is made easier, with encouragement
>for local people to get involved.
>The society also runs its
><https://www.oss.org.uk/grant-a-green-campaign/>Grant a Green
>campaign, in which it urges local councils voluntarily to
>register(2) their green spaces as town or village greens, thus
>protecting them from development and giving local people rights of
>Says Nicola Hodgson, case officer for the Open Spaces Society: 'The
>government cannot seriously run a levelling-up programme while
>neglecting the glaring inequality of access to local green
>space. It must invest in those areas where people cannot have ready
>and safe access to a green space on their doorstep, and ensure that
>such spaces are provided.
>'People must also be able to designate local spaces as LGS to secure
>their protection, so that the multiple benefits they provide endure
>for future generations. The government has omitted a vital piece of
>the levelling up jigsaw from its proposals.'
>Attached photo: Queen's Crescent Garden, designated as local green
>space in the Exeter St James neighbourhood plan, Devon. Photo: Aylwyn Bowen.
>Notes for editors
>1 The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 and is
>Britain's oldest national conservation body. It campaigns to
>protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths,
>and people's right to enjoy them. The society was instrumental in
>saving Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon Common, Epping Forest and many
>other London open spaces in the nineteenth century.
>2 Any landowner can dedicate land as a town or village
>green, under section 15(8) of the Commons Act 2006. Once the land
>is dedicated, local people have rights of informal recreation there,
>and the land is protected from encroachment and development for ever
>more under section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of
>the Commons Act 1876.
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