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In our response to the London Mayor’s draft new London Plan we have called for London boroughs to dedicate their green spaces as town greens.
The society has proposed the inclusion of a new policy: ‘Boroughs should dedicate any green spaces in their ownership as town greens, under the Commons Act 2006. This will protect the land in perpetuity and give local people rights of informal recreation there.’
We have also proposed that planning authorities should, in appropriate cases, require developers to dedicate town greens. This could apply to land within the development which has been designated to form open space or to other amenity land.
We want to see much more land dedicated as town green, because it secures it for ever. The London Plan provides a timely opportunity to create these new policies. We are not aware that dedication has yet occurred in London and it is time the boroughs began to do this as an example to other landowners—and to require it of developers.
We have also called for a policy to ensure that green spaces are not exploited for commercial events against the wishes of local people who want to enjoy the land for quiet, informal recreation. The recent Winterville festival on Clapham Common, which left the land as a sea of mud, demonstrates the risk associated with such events.
We have also proposed that the boroughs should investigate how, on metropolitan open land and in the green belt, public access on foot, horseback and bicycle can be improved by encouraging landowners to dedicate new paths and public-access land.