Chris Nutt reports from the CPRE London (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) launch event this morning where their Report; The "Strongest Protection"? – Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land in Greater London: the Real Story was unveiled. Link to Report. PDF.
Terrific event today to launch ‘The “Strongest Protection”? ‘ publication by the CPRE. BBC London will apparently report it tonight but they can’t get to film Oakfield as they had planned due to programming deadlines or something.
The speakers were, in order, Alice Roberts of the London CPRE, Baroness (Jenny) Jones of the Green Party and Dpty Mayor of the GLA, Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Stephen Knight of the Lib Dems and Wes Streeting (no intro needed).
Alice said there are now 60 green sites under threat. The Report says Oakfield “is arguably the most alarming case of Green Belt under threat . . “.
Jenny Jones said removal of GB is, among other problems, presenting London with a flood risk. Boris is too laissez faire, passing planning application which go against his own London Plan – allowing building on school playing fields etc.
Zac Goldsmith will protect green spaces if elected mayor – “guaranteed” he said.
Steve Knight said there are 8 million trees in London – one for every resident. If we grow to 11 million by 2030 as planned, we should plan another 3 million trees.
Wes Streeting was pleased that Oakfield is on the front cover of the excellent report. He referred to John Prescott saying, “The Green belt is a Labour achievement and we mean to build on it.” (ho, ho). He said Sadiq Khan will NOT allow building on green belt – and Wes noted the consensus among all the speakers and their Parties on this. He referred to a recent meeting with the RBC Leader (Jas Athwal) to urge him to find and plan to develop Brown Filed sites, utilizing sites however small, and said he had discussed one particular site in detail. He referred to Oakfield and that the Conservatives had designated it for development and the Labour group had continued with this. He affirmed that even if not GB this is irrelevant since it is a vast open space that encourages sport and recreation and the coming together of a diverse community – it’s good to “have this space to bring together children of all backgrounds”. If lost it is lost forever etc. We must protect it to maintain the quality of life enjoyed so far, to walk around our open space. “Oakfield is a wonderful community space.” That’s a direct quote.
I spoke to Wes afterwards and we agreed to meet.