Discussion: Protecting our green spaces Reps from local campaigns made brief updates and shared experiences of successful tactics:
The Chair summed up what seemed to be the effective campaign tactics: Mass leafleting; Petitions (paper and online); Door to door (make contact with local people); Photos and walks to mobilise people; Dedicated group for each green space; Lobby politicians; Get local press involved; Ensure best policies are in place: MOL (only Mayor of London can overrule), Community Asset is new designation (eg for land) but needs council support – enables a group to buy site at market value, Registration as ‘Town Green’. Fields in Trust covenants (2500+ green spaces so far protected). Note: Allotments are green space and are a statutory requirement for boroughs – does that protect them effectively? Geological analysis could be delaying tactic; Involve other groups to support campaign; Direct action to occupy / protect site
Increasing threat to green spaces will eventually affect all parts of London. Government is starving councils of funds so we should campaign for greater funding. Friends must campaign collectively and support each other to be effective – inform LFGN Chair of any petitions.
Lordship Rec and neighbouring Broadwater Farm Estate is under threat of ‘redevelopment’ and new house-building. Flyer distributed. Online petition on www.change.org , 200 attended campaign meeting, 15,000 flyers distributed. 25 organisations pledged support to campaign. 1,000 signed petition so far. Park is protected by MOL status, Fields In Trust covenant and written commitments with lottery after recent £4m funding award. V. strong Friends group working with local Res Assoc to defend whole area, and ‘will not allow one blade of grass to be touched’.
Save Battersea Park campaign formed as reaction to a major car racing event which resulted in more tarmac and loss of planting (note that Boris put pressure on to introduce racing). Campaign involves: mail drop to 3000 doors, E-petition signed by 2350, article in E Standard, event held on 27/28 June. Group wants a break clause to prevent future events.
Brent/Harrow Friends Groups have connected to combat application from Harrow School to construct all-weather pitches and coach park on Local Nature Reserve. Key councillors are on board. Change.org has online petition signed by 2000 people and 1300 flyers have been distributed. Council dislikes the proposal. Conservation group for the reserve is being set up.
Bexley Council intend to sell off some green spaces due to funding shortfall. No notice given. MP involved by the Friends. Council refused to accept E-petition by 38degrees. Application for 200 houses on parkland to planning committee. Deputation / protest by 150 residents to full Council.
Havelock Rec, Bromley. Council intends to site free school on 9 ha field (designated as brownfield although a park). Friends produced online petition and flyers, intend to make a Town Green and Community Asset application, which will gain 6 months delay to decide if bid to buy. School has 2 years to complete application but Friends action could delay programme for 18 months. Town Green application not expected to succeed. Despite planning dept/committee possibly opposing scheme, applicant may appeal.
Barnet. Council often ignores MOL and Green Belt policy. Council encourages commercial events in parks and has policy to turn all parks into commercial venues. Friends found that slide shows and organised walks are effective in encouraging interest in parks and that individual letters are taken notice of.
London Wildlife Trust. Takes an interest in planning policy throughout London (90,000 applications per year). 1% only have included GIGL nature data search. Document in preparation re sites of importance for nature conservation and Planning for Wild being updated which will be circulated to all members.
Save Our Woods Southwark. Aiming to link with local Forum and reach beyond local constituency.
London Parks and Green Spaces Forum. Encourage members to visit website www.LPGSF.org.uk/community to see: Planning policies for London Parks and Green Infrastructure; Updated doc: How to Run a Successful Community Campaign e.g. Crystal Palace; List of campaign case studies eg Dundonald rec, Wormwood Scrubs, Havelock, Lordship Rec, Hervey Rd Sports Field
Campaign to Save South Bank Lambeth (ie. Garden Bridge landing point). Establish as a Community Asset. Working the political angle and will use GLA elections 2016.
Hyde Park/Holland Park. Friends in past mounted opposition campaigns. Now mainly work with Royal Parks when events are planned which has improved situation re management of events/festivals (quieter, greener). Suggest mix legal and campaigning issues as cannot separate. Note: Covenants can make a difference. However, the existence of a covenant at Dundonald in Merton was over-ridden.