Monday, March 21, 2016

Loss of “Protected” open space in London Doubles in one year – CPRE Statement

CPRE London report on figures released last week that confirm London campaigners’ fears, as protected land the size of over 40 football pitches is lost to development in one year.

The figures for loss of open space in Greater London were published last week in the Mayor's London Plan Annual Monitoring Report 12 for 2014/15 (PDF), see page 23.
  • A total of 26 protected sites were given planning permission to be built on in 2014/15, of which 18 had the highest level of protection (13 Green Belt, 5 Metropolitan Open Land). The remaining 8 sites were Other Designated Protection, which is a lower level of protection.
  • In the 8 years from 2005/6 to 2012/13, an average of 4 applications per year were given planning permission to build on Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land. This leapt to 15 in 2013/14 and has risen again in 2014/15 to 18.
  • The total hectares of Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land lost doubled from 2013/14 to 2014/15, with 29 hectares (or the equivalent of over 40 football pitches) being lost in 2014/15 (up from 14 hectares in 2013/14).
On Wednesday 9th march CPRE London published its report The Strongest Protection (click for PDF) which identified over 50 protected green spaces in Greater London – including parks, recreation grounds and sports fields – which are under threat from development, including Oakfield in Barkingside which featured on the front cover. See our report here.

Alice Roberts of CPRE London said. “These figures confirm our fears. We predicted that the sharp rise in numbers of applications in 2013/14 was a trend that would continue – and we expect the numbers to rise even further in future as developers get wind that it’s basically open season on protected land in London.”

Page 22 of the CPRE London report explains why the permitting of development on protected land creates the wrong signals and leads to a spiralling problem: “When land protections are not adhered to, landowners see that previously valueless land might now be sold with planning permission at a higher price; developers see prime plots of land…”

“We need politicians to stop just saying that they want to protect Green Belt - we want their commitment to extend to Metropolitan Open Land - and for their commitments to be carried through. Too often planning permissions are being granted regardless of the political commitments being made.

“Very clear signals are needed from the new Mayor of London – to say ‘There will be no building on Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land on my watch’ – to halt the spiralling number of applications coming forward.”

CPRE London have published their "Manifesto for London" which includes 5 new Parks for London and a new organisation – Parks for London, (PfL), possibly even ‘oyster style’ donations for parks, just some of the ideas London campaigners want the Mayoral candidates to get behind.

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