On Thursday 12th November 2020, the London Borough of Bromley published the details of their Open Space Strategy Consultation into the future of the many open spaces within the Borough. They are keen to invite feedback as to how these unique and diverse spaces should be maintained and enhanced in the future. The benefits of open spaces in London for recreation and relaxation purposes has never been more important as highlighted throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Open Space Strategy 2021-2031 seeks to meet Bromley’s ambitious plans to ‘Build a Better Bromley’ and to improve its vast parks and open spaces not only for the benefit of its residents but also for the many visitors, well into the future. It has released a public survey to be completed by 7th January 2021 which it hopes will provide a future strategic framework for the running and maintenance of these key resources.

Some of the key strategies documented within this draft plan include the provision of accessible green space and opportunities to work within volunteering groups to effectively manage and promote Bromley’s parks and woodlands.  Open spaces within any area not only provide a sense of welcome but offer possibilities for residents to engage proactively to enhance open space opportunities and a sense of involvement in public planning. This is evident within Chislehurst where the local recreational ground has an active and enthusiastic Friends of Chislehurst Recreation Ground that hugely benefits the local community by preserving and enhancing this key Local Green Space.

Protecting Bromley’s open spaces is vital for us all. The London Borough of Bromley is the largest of the London Boroughs in terms of geographical area with over half designated as Green Belt Land. The views of its residents are of utmost importance within London’s ‘greenest’ of boroughs. Its parks, sports fields, woodlands, and meadows provide space for physical activity and relaxation.

As Councillor William Huntington-Thresher said in the Bromley press release of 12th November, “If there is anything hindering you getting involved in helping out in the conversation and enhancement of our green environment please include that in your responses”.

Now more than ever our green, open spaces are so important. They play a significant role in mental well-being and opportunities to exercise especially important during these two lockdowns. We have all seen how many people within the Borough have utilised and benefitted from the amazing geographical resources that Bromley has to offer.

According to CPRE London, there has been a surge in appreciation for green spaces in London during the lockdowns, with sixty-two per cent of Londoners now believing that protecting and enhancing green spaces should be a higher priority after the lockdown. Moreover, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recognised these benefits by creating a Greener City Fund to improve the 175 hectares of green space in London. The new London Plan also contains policies on open space and biodiversity in relation to future housing developments. There are also many organisations already doing good work such as the London Wildlife Trust, the RSPB, and the Woodland Trust.

Our open spaces within Bromley are essential to us all so it is imperative that we all have a voice in their future. Now is the time to act and contribute to the policy direction within Bromley.