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We have deplored plans by Thanet District Council to sell off open spaces, which will be discussed at an extraordinary cabinet meeting on 20 May. The cabinet will hear from members of the public on its ‘potential asset disposal sites’ and will take a decision on the sell-off at a later date.
There are plans to flog off at least two open spaces which are of immense importance to communities. These are Chine (Western Undercliff) and the Eastern Undercliff car-park at Ramsgate.
Says our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook: ‘These open spaces provide recreation and enjoyment for local people and visitors. Thanet is depressingly poor in green spaces. According to Thanet District Council’s 2006 plan, Thanet has less than half the acreage of green space per head of population recommended by the then English Nature. This sell off would make matters much worse.
‘Selling green space is a false economy. Rob people of their playgrounds and they are much the poorer. Green spaces help to keep people healthy: it’s far better to spend on prevention than cure.
‘We deplore Thanet’s decision in 2008 to dispose of land on Westbrook Promenade, and we are delighted that local campaigners, Westbrook Against Selling Promenade Site (WASPS http://westbrookwasps.blogspot.com/), are claiming village green status for the land, to secure their rights of recreation there and to ensure it is safe for the community to enjoy.
‘We urge Thanet councillors to resolve not to sell off any more green spaces in the district, but instead to manage and care for them in the public interest,’ Kate concludes.