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Gloucester open space plan halted after 'serious' concerns

By citizenmike  |  Posted: March 18, 2014

Angry at loss of open space.. Tredworth's Kay Powell

Comments (10)

JUST how big Gloucester’s open spaces are has been ‘vastly exaggerated’ in a plan that has been halted after big concerns about its accuracy.

The city’s environment guru, councillor Saj Patel, has put the brakes on the open space strategy for the next five years after serious concerns.

A rowdy scrutiny committee meeting saw councillors reveal that land currently identified as open space is not actually open space.

It comes against the backdrop of new figures which show the Barton, Tredworth, Quedgeley Severn Vale, Tuffley, Hucclecote and Kingsholm and Wotton areas all have a ‘significant shortfall’ in open space per person.

Barton and Tredworth has 0.24 hectares compared to the minimum 2.8ha per 1,000 people, making it the worst area for getting out into the open. Tredworth campaigner Kay Powell said: “This time Saj and the council have well and truly let down the city. They are portraying the image that there is more open space in the city than there actually is. The figures have been vastly exaggerated.”

Ms Powell has campaigned against plans for a new riding arena on part of land that is currently St James’ Park, in Tredworth. She argues the plan, which was approved last month, will further diminish the little open space currently available for residents.

At a meeting last week, Mr Patel, cabinet member for the environment, deferred the open space strategy which had been drawn up to cover the next five years. He said: “Members have raised important questions and it is important that we reflect on these. It is important that we defer this to the next cabinet meeting.”

Fellow councillor Jennie Dallimore, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhood, said: “Green space is so important to people in this city. We know people feel really passionate about it.”

The five-year plan includes proposals to create or refurbish at least two play areas every year for five years.

The council will also aim to achieve three Green Flag statuses for its parks and open spaces and will invest at least £200,000 through housing developer contributions and other grants. Some 5,000 new trees would be planted too.

At present 12 per cent of the city is publicly accessible green space and there are more than 150 individual areas of public open space covering 300ha.

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  • Kay_Powell  |  March 18 2014, 6:26PM

    Minor correction: Longlevens ward also meets the standard for quantity and quality of open space - I'd forgotten that one.

    |   -17
  • Kay_Powell  |  March 17 2014, 6:39PM

    The point is that the city council have adopted a certain standard for quantity and quality of open space, which is only fully met in one ward in the whole city - Podsmead. There is also one ward which fails drastically - Barton & Tredworth. Then they allow some of that open space in that ward to be sold off and fenced for a riding arena, which could have been built almost anywhere else, where there is more open space.

    |   -17
  • GlosAnarchy  |  March 17 2014, 1:39AM

    Snappy ans Kay, what I'm trying to say is take the B&T outline there isn't a lot of open space in that area but if you move the boundary each direction you can put all of B&T into a similar sized area with good public areas! An average is an average it's not what everyone will have within a given distance, some will have more and some will have less that's the nature of the beast!

    |   -23
  • Snappy_Happer  |  March 15 2014, 3:08PM

    GlosAnarchy, If you're saying that people in Barton & Tredworth should be satisfied with Gloucester Park, while our own green spaces are gradually eaten away (just like Jeremy Hilton claimed we didn't need a mobile library, because we could use the main one on Brunswick Rd), I don't think many in the ward would agree with you. St. James' Park has its problems with ASB, but we'd rather try to sort those out than take on the bigger task of fixing Gloucester Park. And the size of gardens (even if true) is immaterial. Every community needs communal space. Or maybe the council could not charge us for street parties, as a way of redressing the balance?

  • Kay_Powell  |  March 15 2014, 2:50PM

    Rather bad wording there - the plan is for the next five years, and it has been deferred for one month. GlosAnarchy, there should be a decent sized local park, accessible safely by children, where they don't have to cross a busy road. Many houses in the ward have small gardens, and flats have no garden at all. Anyway, Gloucester Park is itself often too small to accommodate all of the users, especially when there is some special event on, such as the fair.

    |   -19
  • honslknjklyt  |  March 15 2014, 1:23PM

    Does anyone else see a woman in a green t-shirt, with a great big green hand and a big white flame coming out of the hand??????

  • GlosAnarchy  |  March 15 2014, 10:42AM

    I don't quite understand this, how far is the main park from Treadworth or Barton? Don't most houses in Barton and Treadworth have larger gardens than most houses built these days?

    |   -19
  • Lecorche  |  March 15 2014, 10:06AM

    GCC tells Porkies? Well I never.

  • Snappy_Happer  |  March 14 2014, 8:20PM

    The answer to a failure of preparation is thus 'deferment (and for five *years*?) How courageous. It's not like a Conservative to plump for inaction, after all. Rejecting the arena plan and removing the 'paddock' (its timbers are rotting away in any case) might have sent a real message to residents about how seriously the open spaces strategy is being taken by councillors. But no, stall until after the May elections, and even the general election, it is, then...

  • jackson99  |  March 14 2014, 7:37PM

    So our Wonderful Council has not been totally honest about open space in the city. Who can we trust our Councillors?