Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Open Space Strategy for Truro and other large towns

As the local member for Truro Trehaverne  I make no apology for considering the draft "Open Space" strategy  from a Truro point of view.   This strategy document is due for sign off by Cabinet tomorrow (today 30th July).

The bottom line is that I am very unhappy with it.

It seeks to count in Truro's open space land which is not in practice freely available as public open space, such as land owned by Truro School.  However, approving a strategy that relies on public access to private land is not practical and consequently not fit for purpose.

The Strategy also takes account of the playing fields at Richard  Lander School. We need to know that this will work in practice. My experience is that public use is almost non existent, apparently due to the fact that the school was funded by PFI.

When Penair became an academy the community lost the use of the Community Room next to the AstroTurf, which has become offices for PE staff. This argument is still going on.

Further, any strategy for getting contributions from developers for open space must take land except on small sites or in extremis a cash sum which will buy the necessary open space nearby. Cash contributions (calculated I think by reference to the average cost of land in Cornwall) as planning officers are recommending on a 70 -acre site for Asda and houses at Willow Green on the west side of Truro, is simply not acceptable.

I also note that the council thinks that Cornwall is cheap when compared to other authorities for the provision of open space facilities.  Really?

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