Notices have recently appeared on all the Park Gates, detailing in very vague terms, the City of London Corporation’s plans to ‘lease’ at least half of the existing Nursery Site on a 999 year lease – which sounds much more like selling it to me. The Friends of West Ham Park are asking as many local (and less local) residents to write to Savills, the project agent, to make them aware of local opposition to development and wish for more parkland. It is essential that as many people as possible respond and we ask that everyone sends a personalised email and copies it to CoL and FWHP.
Here is a copy of the letter FWHP have sent in, and below some points that it might be good for you to include in your own, personalised letter. Thank you again for all your support on this matter
Suggested content for your letter/email to Savills
Your email to them should be your views but without using inflammatory or abusive language and should include the following points in your own words. Please remember Savills are acting on behalf of the City of London; it would be unreasonable to imply any blame to them concerning the City of London’s actions. The email should be sent to [email protected] and [email protected] by the 10th April and copied to [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]
Key points to include in your own words –
1. I object to the City of London Corporation’s proposal to sell the land edged red in their public notice. The land is part of West Ham Park which is listed by Historic England as a Grade II Park. Newham Borough has the least Green Space per resident of any London Borough. West Ham Park is the largest park in the borough and is a vital asset as recognised in its Local Plan (2018-2033). Newham is one of 4 least active boroughs in London. 12.3% of Newham children aged 4-5 and 27.5% aged 10-11 were classified obese in 2012/13. Newham has the fifth highest rate of children in poverty after housing costs of any local authority area, 37.66% of children in West Ham and 37.46% in East Ham live in poverty. The local plan also highlights the large number of homes that are to be built in the borough – 43,000 borough wide, with 4286 units in the Stratford and West Ham area. Therefore, access to quality public green space is a priority for this area if we are to reduce inequality of access to physical activity and help improve people’s wellbeing. Maintaining the current size West Ham Park and increasing the area of public open space is absolute priority. I note the City of London is not proposing to sell any part of any other public open space they manage, and in some cases have bought land to protect and increase their Open Spaces
2. The City of London have promised to keep residents and park users informed of progress with their proposal. The made a statement in the Newham Recorder to say “We are very pleased to be moving forward with this project which will be of great benefit to park users.This is an opportunity to make effective use of previously developed land and we are excited to move onto this next step. We will keep residents and park users fully informed as we progress with this long term project”. The public promises made by the City of London have not been kept by this notice. The information given presumably does not reflect the extent of the trustees’ knowledge of what is proposed for the land. In what way is this keeping residents and beneficiaries fully informed? The notice is unclear and fails to deliver on both the statutory duties of the Trustees and the public promises by the City of London. It reflects the completely opaque manner in which City of London have handled the development of their proposals and the complete lack of any form of public engagement or consultation over what is public land and facilities.
3. As a matter of common sense, the notice should be sufficient to allow the public to make representations effectively. The information regarding what they are doing with the land edged red and blue is completely unclear. Residents can’t tell what will be built on the land or what “improvements” will be made. What does this actually mean for the Park? What is happening to the disposed land and the retained land?
4. The City of London should abandon their proposal to sell the land, the notice should be withdrawn and the City of London should engage with the local community to agree a plan to transform these areas of a Grade II Historic Park, to public parkland.