The points I made at Peter Massini’s presentation of the Draft London Environment Strategy were:
I’d like to give answers to your two of the CONSULTATION QUESTIONS at the end of the Green Infrastructure section of the 2017 Draft Environment Strategy:
- about the idea of London as a National Park City, and
- about how to ensure a more strategic and coordinated approach to London’s network of parks and green spaces?
In my view a National Park Authority is the wrong type of body.
- It may get some money, which would be useful,
- But London doesn’t need more planning authorities
- and London is good at conserving places like the Royal Parks.
What we need a Development Authority for Greenspace. So your London Green Spaces Commission is a much better bet.
- It needs all the money and all the power the GLA can give it
- It doesn’t need to be temporary
- It needs to throw its weight behind the development and improvement of the Green Grid – which is an ugly name for a London Landscape Strategy and, rightly, draws on 200 years of open space planning by Loudon, Howard, Unwin, Abercrombie and many other.
The opening, last Friday, of the largest and best park to have been made in London since the death of Henry VIII is a fine example of what needs to be done: Walthamstow Wetlands (with advice from two landscape architecture firms).
- I don’t see that a National Park Authority, devoted to conservation would have done this
- The Wetlands have 2km of Leisure Cycle Route, connected to other routes in the Lea Valley. This is a much better approach to remedying Areas of Deficiency (AoDs) than knocking down houses to build open space.
- So please can we have a Londonwide Leisure Cycleway Network
Peter Massini’s responses were:
- The GLA does not intend to establish a new Park Authority. [TT comment: This surprised me and will also be a surprise to the Chair of the Royal Parks Charity. The point should be ‘clearly clarified’ in the final version of the Environment Strategy.]
- A good case for a London Green Space Authority can be made but there are likely to be so many political objections that it is hardly worth making the proposal. [TT: let’s hope the temporary London Green Spaces Commission proposed in the 2017 Environment Strategy does such a resplendently brilliant job that it becomes a permanent commission]