Help us protect city’s green spaces

Speaker's Corner columnists -  Peterborough Telegraph -, @peterboroughtel on Twitter,
Speaker's Corner columnists - Peterborough Telegraph -, @peterboroughtel on Twitter,
Have your say

Today’s speaker: Fiona Radic, Peterborough Green Party election agent

Over the past decade Peterborough has lost a lot of “green space”.

Allotments and grass verges have been lost or reduced in size. Gardens have disappeared as concrete, roads, extensions, new buildings, driveways and cars take their place.

Parks have changed shape or lost vital amenities along with their flower beds and the grass cutting strategy is in disarray neither benefitting people or wildlife as last year’s failed attempt to reduce the cutting regime demonstrated.

Landscape teams and tree experts who were key to putting substance into 
Peterborough’s environmental aspirations have been removed from the council’s payroll. Private contractors appear to function with what one is forced to conclude are hopelessly inadequate budgets.

Neither people nor wildlife thrive in these conditions.

The council is treading on very thin ice and the majority of the city’s elected councillors know it. This became clear with the recent passage of a cross party amendment which has the potential to prevent the sale of green space.

We need our elected councillors to do much more along these lines. We need to ensure we simply don’t re-elect councillors who won’t act to protect our green spaces.

But there is a lot which readers can do to help protect green spaces currently at risk. We are asking people to go into the Town Hall and ask for a copy of the city’s Draft New Local Plan. Or to find it online. Please comment now before the deadline next week.

If you do nothing else, please list the green spaces in your own immediate area on “Suggested Green Spaces”, Form D9. Don’t worry whether or not the space fits the technical definition; maybe your own local green space doesn’t even have a name. Please just explain where it is with a sketch map and what the space means to you and the people around you and the council will do the rest.

Then, if you have even the slightest interest in planning, or in the kind of built environment you would like to live in, please consider going to the rest of the consultation. It is very big indeed and very full of irritating, mostly empty verbiage. One person can’t be expected to cover everything in it. But if hundreds of people ask for timescales to be included, standards to be defined, minimum requirements to be set we might see a revised draft which includes parameters against which the council’s performance could actually be measured.

It needs to be much less of a statement of hope and much more a practical road map of how aspiration will be achieved.

If you want to be able to hold your council to account you need to help the council put into its plan precisely those useful elements for achieving accountability which its authors forgot to include.