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  • CarolineShah

London Boroughs with least green space face population explosion under new London Plan

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

Housing hell in Hounslow? Wrecking Richmond Park SAC?

Please donate now to my fundraising so that we are ready to challenge the London Plan when it is published

A report published this week by Friends of the Earth, England's Green Space Gap shockingly shows that many of the London Boroughs that have been designated as areas for massive growth in the new London Plan and that could see a doubling in their populations as well as provision for huge amounts of employment premises in just two decades are already the most deprived areas in London for green space*, including private gardens. Meanwhile, the new London Plan policies will remove the legal requirement to protect existing green spaces and water down the requirement for developers to provide any new green space for people at all, contrary to the requirements of national planning policy as clearly expressed in the National Planning Policy Framework 2012

The London Plan "small sites" programme will also see the widespread replacement of gardens with buildings so that proportion of green space deprivation will soar

I show below the percentage of neighbourhoods in some London Borough that already suffer a high level of deprivation of green space as measured by people living more than 5-6 minutes walk from two hectares of green space and where the new London Plan will cause significant harm by multiplying the local population through its growth policies. We should perhaps note that fewer people in Kingston - where the doubling of the Borough's population is just about to start - have access to public green space than in Croydon

% of neighbourhoods in the Borough with a bad lack of access to public green space

Croydon - 57%; Ealing - 92%; Enfield - 67%; Haringey - 86%; Hounslow - 75%; Kingston - 70%; Lewisham - 89%; Southwark - 88%; Redbridge - 68%; Tower Hamlets - 94%; Lambeth - 94%; Waltham Forest - 86%; Wandsworth - 87%;

Another issue is how much of the green space that has been counted as available for recreational purposes is actually part of vulnerable ecosystem that will be threatened by soaring visitor numbers? As my previous blog posts have shown, the London Plan has failed to assess properly the effect of planned growth on these places

As areas with a shortage of green space have huge population increases imposed upon them without requiring developers to provide new quality green space, existing areas of biodiversity and protected and vulnerable ecosystems will be under threat by the onslaught of human beings. Richmond Park SAC, Epping Forest SAC, Wimbledon Common SAC will all see huge surges in visitors from developments in Hounslow, Kingston, Redbridge and Waltham Forest and all around West, South West and North East London. Other areas of nature will also be threatened; for example, Kingston council is planning to open places like the rare chalk stream valley of the Hogsmill River to people for recreational purposes, and the wonderful Lea Marshes will see visitor numbers soar

The National Capital Account for London 2017 showed that The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is already sixth from the bottom of the 33 London Boroughs in terms of public green space (not including private gardens), with only 14% of the Borough's area comprised of public parks, outdoor sports facilities and allotments

Only 5 inner city Boroughs have less public green space than Kingston and Kingston's population will double by 2041 if the London Plan is not successfully challenged. The situation is similarly shocking in areas across London

Please donate now to my fundraising so that we can challenge the London Plan when it is published

* This study underestimates the level of green space deprivation in mixed neighbourhoods; "By using this approach, any neighbourhoods with little or no public green space and little garden space will be identified as deprived, whereas neighbourhoods with little or no public green space but on average very large gardens will not"

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