To receive a presentation for discussion on the new green infrastructure and parks strategy.
The Forum received a presentation on the Council’s new Blue and Green Strategy. A copy of the presentation slides are available on the Council website.
The following points were highlighted during the presentation given by Philip Wadsworth (Infrastructure Delivery Manager).
· This was an update to the previous Parks and Open Spaces Strategy which ends this year and the Biodiversity Action Plan.
· The strategy is about to go out on consultation.
· It presented a holistic approach to plans for blue and green spaces.
· It should be seen in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, the response to the climate change emergency and the growing acknowledgement of the value of our waterways and open spaces.
· Spaces have multi-functional benefits and can be used for many different types of cultural events.
· The plan was to expand blue and green spaces and to provide greater access for all. It is an ambitious programme.
· Enfield has the second largest expanse of park and open space (900 hectares) and the greatest length of waterway (over 100 kilometres) of any London Borough.
· The long term vision, by 2031, is to be London’s greenest borough at the heart of a London national park. There will be three parts to the strategy: the strategy itself, standards and requirements and an action plan. To create a more integrated multi-functional network within the spatial framework.
· There are seven aims including achieving a 25% increase in blue green infrastructure, to enable all residents to access green and blue space within a 15 minute walking distance, to make places more distinctive, healthier, attractive and culturally inclusive, to achieve a fairer distribution to overcome deficiencies, to create wilder, more natural spaces to enable biodiversity to thrive, to create a healthy water environment with increased resistance to flooding and drought, to provide innovative and multifunctional spaces and activities to meet the needs of all users.
· The Council will seek to improve connectivity across the network from east to west. They are seeking to redress the balance between the east and the west, improving quality and creating new spaces where needed looking to de-culvert some of the rivers and underground drains, bring in public realm improvements and create new cycle and footpaths.
· A full audit of all assets will be undertaken using an integrated mapping tool to identify where the opportunities are.
· There will be external consultation on the draft strategy between November 2020 and January 2021. It will be adopted by Cabinet and full Council in early 2021 with a post adoption review in late 2021.
2.1 There was some concern expressed about the very large festivals held in Trent Park and elsewhere, the damage and restrictions on access that these entailed. Officers would welcome feedback on this as part of the consultation. There was also concern about smaller events which could be very disruptive to local residents. A constructive meeting with those concerned about concerts in Trent Park had taken place and mitigating measures put in place.
2.2 Any typing and grammar mistakes would be corrected in the final version of the strategy.
2.3 All crossovers are required to have a permeable surface to allow water to drain away. It was felt that the public should be made more aware of the need to apply for permission to build crossovers to prevent them installing them illegally.
2.4 Support for the development of the green loop and the work at Enfield Chase. Improved signage was planned. More work was needed on Salmon’s Brook.
2.5 Some concern about what was meant by surplus open space.
2.6 Support for work on rights of way.
2.7 Many targets from the previous strategies had been addressed. Those that had not would be incorporated in the new strategy. They would be set out in the detailed action plan which would follow final agreement of the strategy.
2.8 Members felt that it was essential that the action plan be properly resourced and that in any new project, funds for maintenance was built in. It was acknowledged that council resources in this area were strained and that there was a skills deficit, but the Council was looking at ways to use grants and funds that were on offer including initiatives such as the apprenticeship levy. The Council was keen to work collaboratively with other organisations.
2.9 The proposals would be implemented gradually as resources allowed.
2.10 Councillor Chibah offered to repeat her meeting in Trent Park or other parks, in the New Year with anyone who was interested.
The Chair thanked the officers for their presentation and encouraged everyone to take part in the consultation, which would be live on the Council’s website on Monday 30 November 2020. A link would be circulated.