Guest blog by Julia Hines
Barnet is in the final stages of preparing its Local Development Framework, which will contain its planning policy against which all planning decisions will be made in the next few years. They are consulting on changes which have been made to the policy along the way.
I am writing this to highlight the changes to the map which showing all the open spaces, sports and recreation grounds in the borough, Map 11.
This has been changed in the course of the consultation, and it might help if I explained why.
In 2009 Barnet Council employed Ove Arup to survey and map all the greenspaces and sports grounds in the borough, which they did. This was illustrated as Map 11 in the pre-publication stage of the consultation of the Local Development Framework. Technically this survey is a PPG17 audit. If you want to read PPG17 you can find it here
Developers, who own some land behind my home, including the land on which the West Finchley Bowling Club stands, protested that this land should not be on the map because it was private land and did not have legitimate private access. So Barnet took it off Map 11.
There was another round of consultation, so my neighbours and I wrote in arguing that this was unfair because:
- Ownership & access are irrelevant under PPG17;
- The land behind our homes is PPG17 land (2 Planning Appeal Inspectors said so & Bowling Clubs are specifically listed in PPG17); and
- It was unfair to remove us from Map 11 on these grounds, if other private sports clubs like Finchley Cricket Club, Finchley Rugby Club or the Hall School Memorial Ground; or public spaces without public access, like school sports grounds; or other greenspaces which are private and do not have unrestricted access, like College Farm or Long Lane Pastures, are not treated the same way. Basically I said it was unlawful to treat us differently; decisions should be policy based and not purely because developers or planning consultants.
We asked to be put back on the map.
I think Barnet accepted our arguments, because they realised they could not keep Map 11 as it was. However, instead of putting us back on the map, they removed EVERY sports ground in the borough. Map 11 now only shows Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Space.
You can see this on p.59 here. Look at the amount of dark green land lost from the map and the change in title.
I believe that this will weaken the protection from development that all this land has.
Map 11 is supposed to support and illustrate policy CS7 in the LDF. I think it no longer does that. It is supposed to tie in with other policies, like the yet to be drafted Site Allocations Development Plan, but without laying the groundwork by describing the land accurately, it won’t do that.
If you would like to make your feelings known on this, or any of the other changes in the Local Development Framework, the link is here
The closing date is 4pm on 8 March 2012.
My feeling is that the Map 11 should revert back to the pre-publication version because that is the version which is
- Justified – it is based on a robust and credible evidence base – the Ove Arup audit
- Effective – it was the original plan
- Consistent with national planning policy, in other words PPG17 (and also the Mayor’s London Plan). I believe the current version isn’t because it does not show all the land which ought to be on there.
If you agree with me, please let Barnet know.
Thank you for listening.
PS The planning consultants who act for the developers who own the land behind my home are Capita Symonds. They are in the running for the £250 million contract which would see them becoming the planning officers for Barnet. For my views on this seehttp://barneteye.blogspot.com/2011/09/guest-blog-greensquare-field-planning.html
Julia Hines is a Barnet resident and a regular contributor to the Barnet Eye. Guest blogs are always welcome - This blog is read by 20-30,000 people a month. If you want them to hear what you have to say, please send me a guest blog via the email link at the side of the page.