Selling parks will save playgrounds, Bexley claims

The council of the London Borough of Bexley has approved plans to sell off four open spaces despite strong opposition from locals.

Bexley Council approves plans to sell parks. Image: Pixabay
Bexley Council approves plans to sell parks. Image: Pixabay

The decision, made in Bexley's full Cabinet meeting this week, allows for the sale of four open spaces for housing development.

Twenty-seven sites were initially highlighted for investigation for sale, with the eastern part of Old Farm Park, West Street Small Park, Wilde Road (East) and Wilde Road (West) chosen as the first sites for disposal. Sale of the remaining sites is still being considered.

The council claims financial pressures are responsible for the move, saying it must make further savings of £56m by 2019/20. It has previously said it intends to use the money from the sales to reduce its borrowing, generating revenue savings of around £710,000. This money would be used to offset a further reduction in the grounds maintenance for parks and open spaces.

The Conservative council defended its decision. Cabinet member for environment, safety and leisure, Peter Craske, said the borough is "lucky to have some amazing parks, playgrounds and open spaces in this borough" but that the grounds maintenance budget has been cut by 47 per cent in the last seven years, and a further 3 per cent this year.

Craske presented the decision as a stark choice between selling the parks or neglecting grounds maintenance across the borough, with the loss of playgrounds and unmown parks the inevitable result.

He assured members that the revenue saving would be reinvested into grounds maintenance. "It is not going to be used - despite some of the wild claims I've seen - for anything other than that."

Bexley aims to complete the sales in 2017.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.