1,000 signatures reached
To: Spelthorne Council
Save our green spaces in Spelthorne
Spelthorne Council is currently proposing a new assessment system which would strip 71 green spaces in Spelthorne of existing protection. Their consultation will close on Tuesday 4 June 2019.*
We call on Spelthorne Council to:
(1) automatically protect and designate all existing 71 protected urban open spaces (PUOS) in Spelthorne as Local Green Spaces (LGS),
(2) pro-actively protect all green spaces in Spelthorne (irrespective of their size and distance from communities) and not to employ size or distance thresholds,
(3) abandon the proposed points-based system, simplify the process and adopt as the only criterion the overriding “value to the local community” or wider public benefit (by reference to non-prescriptive and non-exhaustive reasons),
(5) Provide Green space protection also on the basis of carbon sink potential and carbon sequestration,
(6) Assume the evidential burden for proving that an area is not of local or public benefit (e.g. in terms of carbon sequestration, richness of wildlife, recreational use, beauty or historic value, or other reasons) and not impose this burden on local communities to adduce evidence to the contrary,
(7) Not to insist on public access as a necessary criterion for Local Green Space designation nor to attach less value as a result of lack of public access (as even green spaces without public access have considerable public benefits such as richness of wildlife (fauna & flora), visible benefits, contribution to tranquillity and shielding against noise, aiding air quality and acting as a carbon sink),
(8) ensure that Local Green spaces in public ownership remain in public ownership,
(9) protect existing rights of way over local green spaces (unless there are specific reasons in relation to the protection of wildlife (fauna & flora) which dictate a restriction.
* Please note that you can also send any representations directly to the Council to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is this important?
Spelthorne Council has published a consultation document which will strip 71 green spaces in Spelthorne of their existing protection as Protected Urban Open Spaces (PUOS). 
In their consultation document, the Council are proposing very onerous criteria for a new designation as ‘Local Green Space’ which – according to our detailed analysis – only one of the 71 currently protected public urban open spaces in Spelthorne can meet and which would leave our valued Green spaces at risk of development. 
As an example, the Council proposes that only urban spaces that are at least 0.25 hectares in size should be protected as local green spaces. This requirement automatically leaves 14 (~ 20%) of the 71 spaces (ranging from 0.07ha to 0.24ha) unprotected.
The other proposed criteria mean that 56 out of the 57 remaining sites will not be considered as having enough ‘historic significance’ (e.g. because they don’t contain a combination of ancient monuments or listed buildings), “richness of wildlife” (because there currently is no evidence of “observed wildlife on site” and/or closeness to local nature reserves), recreational value (because they don’t possess “good” or “excellent” free recreation facilities) or are not considered tranquil or beautiful enough.
It would not only be an immense loss to residents to lose important local green spaces – but a national tragedy when we already know that we only have 12 years to avert irreversible climate change.