Bexley Parks Strategy
Most people recognise that our green open spaces are an essential "quality of life" resource and a vital component of a balanced urban environment. Bexley's parks and open spaces are wildlife havens and act as a focal point for healthy exercise and community interaction.
They also make a key contribution to the image, identity and status of our borough.
Our latest parks survey showed that 95% of Bexley's population uses the parks and open spaces regularly for a variety of reasons. The survey results clearly indicate that residents in Bexley really do value their green spaces and care about what happens to them.
In fact, the same survey showed very strong support for promoting public awareness and for more community involvement in parks and open spaces. London Borough of Bexley has a long history of commitment to top quality park and open space maintenance and management. This is reflected in regular London in Bloom awards and, previously, the nationally prestigious Green Flag Awards for Hall Place, Danson Park, Lesnes Abbey, Footscray Meadows, and East Wickham Open Space.
The Bexley Parks Strategy is a statement by London Borough of Bexley of the overall aims together with the medium term objectives and key park and open space issues.
London Borough of Bexley's overall aims for parks and open spaces are to:
- Plan develop and promote diverse and balanced leisure use
- Achieve best use and maximum benefit for park and open space users with resources available
- Take account of the sustainable needs of the environment and wider community
The strategy is defined by eight key aims
- Customer care
Each aim reflects a principle or standard of public service which London Borough of Bexley commits to with regard to parks and open spaces. Further information can be found by using the key objectives link on the right.
An important part of identifying the issues important to local people as well as setting the aims and objectives of the Parks Strategy was to seek out and respond to public opinion.
A draft version of the Parks Strategy underwent a thorough public consultation. People all over Bexley were asked to comment on the strategy and also to complete a survey questionnaire. Over 1000 people replied and the survey response reflects a sample of 0.5% of Bexley's population.
In its response to the results of this public consultation, London Borough of Bexley has made sure that the final Parks Strategy includes clear commitment to:
- Keeping heritage landscapes
- Sports provision
- Open consultation about development and change
- Wildlife protection
- Community involvement in planning and managing our parks and open spaces
- Dealing with issues like litter, dog mess and vandalism
- Improved attractions, visitor information and events
You can see the results of the parks survey by using the link provided on the right.
What are the benefits?
It makes good common sense to target resources to where they are most needed. One of the greatest benefits the Parks Strategy will bring is to establish openly what the important issues are for people living in and visiting Bexley. The public consultation and parks survey have already brought valuable results. Once we know what you want, we can carry on with work we know is publicly supported and which focuses on the needs of park and open space users.
The Parks Strategy will enable longer-term strategic and structured planning and management of parks. This will involve agreeing the strategic role and intended use of every park and open space, taking into account the needs of organised and informal leisure activities, environment, heritage and the needs of different groups in society. An important part of this is the staged introduction of Park Management Plans for individual parks and open spaces which are agreed with nearby communities and appropriate external agencies.
The Bexley Parks Strategy, by setting a commitment to clear corporate goals and a framework for action, will enable other Council departments to understand and integrate easily with park and open space issues and vice versa. At present relevant Council policies include Local Agenda 21, the Unitary Development Plan, the Tree and Woodland Strategy, the Community Safety Strategy, the Regeneration Strategy and the Leisure Strategy. There is plenty of scope for strengthening links with health and education as well.
In a similar way, the Parks Strategy will help to encourage a range of different partners from the wider community to work on planned improvements in Bexley's parks and open spaces. Already London Borough of Bexley is working with bodies like the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, the Countryside Agency and Capital Challenge as well as several local voluntary and residential groups on park and open space improvements. The Parks Strategy will play an increasingly important role in justifying and supporting external funding bids.
Finally, London Borough of Bexley is accountable to its local community. The Parks Strategy will provide a baseline for evaluating progress and achievement against stated objectives. The Council's performance will be regularly reported to residents.
What you can do
It doesn't matter about your age, gender, ethnic group or ability. You can get involved in your local parks and open spaces by:
- Letting us know your ideas
- Taking part in public consultations
- Working in a community group on developing park/open space management plans
- Taking part in a Local Agenda 21 action group
- Setting up or joining a Park Watch Scheme
- Helping to carry out park and open space surveys
- Supporting local voluntary groups and community projects
- Telling your local Area Team (day-time) or London Borough of Bexley's emergency service (night-time) as soon as you spot something wrong in a park or open space
Write to Colin Rowland, Head of Parks and Open Spaces using the contact information provided on the right.