the quality of life in our towns and cities and should feature in the
government's Urban White Paper, Countryside Commission chief
executive Richard Wakeford has said.
Eastbourne, he told delegates: 'The deputy prime minister John
Prescott is right to want to produce attractive vibrant towns and
cities. This objective will be widely welcomed. The quality of towns
depends on their urban green space such as parks, urban greens and
informal green spaces. These provide the breathiing spaces that are
so important to people in built up places. The countryside around
towns provides the setting of the town, helping to give identity and
to give people opportunities to enjoy fresh air nearby. It is
important that we use brownfield sites for new homes, wherever
possible, and provide properly for greenspace.
'However brownfield development is not always the best option,
especially if it means sacrificing urban green space. There's no
point in cramming houses on every last brown field site if that only
encourages those who can afford it to move off to the countryside for
a better environment.
'Open green spaces should be a characteristic of all new development
- be it in the town or the country. Though the volume housebuilders
have achieved a great deal in cost effective design, there are still
too few examples of the well-managed open space and cycleways which
should feature in sustainable settlements. This is an enormous
opportunity which should not be missed, as it will have a major
impact on the lives of most of our future citizens.
'One of this commission's objectives is that planners need to provide
for the right setting for towns. All towns should sit in well managed
countryside. Development plans need restraint policies on urban
growth and positive objectives for the countryside around towns.
'Every town and city should develop a greenspace programme, so that
everyone, including socially excluded groups, has access to, and is
able to enjoy, open space near their homes.
'Our vision has nine strands:
- Everyone should have access to open space within a quarter of a
mile of home
- Every town and city needs safe routes for access to the
countryside by foot or bicycle
- Every child needs the chance to value and enjoy the countryside
- Every town or city should have woodland and parkland with
provision for sport and recreation
- Countryside in and around towns should be managed to maximise
environmental and recreational benefits
- Every area awaiting development should be positively managed, not
allowed to become derelict
- All new development should reflect and strengthen the character
of the local landscape or restore distinctiveness
- Every town or city, if it expands, should retain green corridors
or wedges - areas of greenspace - to create a planned 'greenspace
- Every town or city should have a greenspace programme', to plan
and manage the settings of towns and cities for environmental and
economic regeneration and improved quality of life
'For each town or city the greenspace network could include urban
parks, country parks and Millennium Greens, as well as Community
Forests, with a programme which builds on the character of the area,
adapted according to local circumstances.
'We hope John Prescott will make sure his Urban White Paper, which we
welcome, contains a clear approach to urban greenspace. It is an
opportunity which must not be missed,' Mr Wakeford concluded.