Fields in Trust

How to keep watch on your parks and green spaces

We all tend to take parks and green spaces for granted. They’ll always be there, no one will ever build on them, they’re the heart of the community.

The sad truth is that they have no statutory protection. That means they can be bought, sold and built on if a local council needs them to help manage the ever-increasing demands on land-use.

Oftentimes, these hard decisions don’t take into account all the benefits that parks offer and the short-term benefit gained by developing a park has a long-term knock-on effect for the people and nature that once relied on those spaces.

Have a look at our Revaluing parks and green spaces study to see exactly how your park or green space is making a difference to you, your friends and neighbours.

Being alert and preventing the loss of more and more parks and green spaces is where people like you can help. You can act as the local eyes and ears to make sure any planning changes in an area are spotted early, giving local people the opportunity to challenge the plans.

What to watch out for

If your council is preparing to apply for planning permission on a park or green space or wants to sell or transfer the land to another owner, they legally have to publicly publish notices to inform people of their intentions.

The two types of notices that you should watch for are proposal or development notices, and land disposal notices. Knowing where these notices are displayed, and how you should respond when you see one is important and you’ll need to be vigilant.

Planning and disposal are different. Disposal is about selling or transferring the ownership of land and local authorities may dispose or appropriate it for purposes that are not the same as its current use.

Look out for any official notices displayed:

  • At the green space
  • At the council’s offices
  • On the council website
  • In the local newspaper

It is important to respond to the notice in writing by the stated deadline. If you are worried, contact the landowner and your local council planning department immediately and ask for specific information about any plans for development, sale or change of use.

If the information is not forthcoming from the landowner, you could exercise your Freedom of Information rights.

Do you think your park is at risk?

How ever you find out about a proposal, act fast and follow our 8-step guide on fighting a planning application, and be a hero for your local park or green space.

How others have saved a village playing field

The community of Stradishall refused to let development change the heart of their village, learn how they took a stand for their playing field.

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