Time to defend open spaces in Eltham South

Eltham South is well endowed with open space; much of it designated Metropolitan Open Land and some Community Open Space. The first is open space important in the wider urban context whereas the second is open space also very important, but only to its local community. In both cases the land is preserved for open space use, for football, grazing horses, allotments, parkland and so on. The only built development allowed are buildings ancillary to that use such as changing rooms and stabling.


Land values for designated open space are significantly lower than land for housing or other built development and huge gains can be made from getting the designation changed - a great temptation for speculators. The approach is all too familiar: stop using the land for anything, let it become neglected and overgrown and then seek its re-designation arguing it is no longer needed as open space, can't be sold as there is no market for it and its open space use is long gone. How can we oppose such assaults on our open space? The Gaelic Athletic sportsground is being subject to such an attempt and other open spaces in the ward are under similar threat.

 

The time has come for an open space defence group of residents and councilors to be set up. It could identify and monitor land under threat and encourage those wanting to bring it back into proper open space use. It must make clear to owners that the apathy which often enables them to succeed is not to be found in Eltham South.