Public Space within Rushcliffe

Survey Results

The green spaces that lie between houses, particularly on newer estates can belong to the Borough or County Councils, or to the developer who built the estate. These patches of green are fundamental to the visual appearance of the estates, and the community gardens, vegetable patches and bug and bird houses springing up on them help to build strong neighbourhoods. On the other hand this land can be poorly maintained, especially when it is hard to establish who owns it. Some residents have tried to buy patches of land to incorporate them into their gardens, and some areas may have been informally enclosed.

In February I ran an online survey to try to gauge the views of residents on this via the Abbey Park Facebook Page (this is not a fully representative). The results are in the graphs above and I have summarized the text comments below. The comments have led me to think that we probably need to do the following, but I welcome more feedback:

  1. Make sure that both the Borough and County councils understand that residents value this land, and ask them to commit to never sell it without proper local consultation (beyond the normal planning process).
  2. Work with the Community Associations to ensure that someone (maybe the Borough Council) records when someone is maintaining the land for the community across the whole area. This might help avoid conflict and stop the council inadvertently cutting back new plants.
  3. Work with the Community Gardeners to decide how areas can be maintained with limited input in some cases.
  4. Campaign to ensure that on all new estates the public spaces are owned and managed by an local council rather than the developer to ensure that residents do not end up paying large management fees and to avoid storing up problems for the future.

Have you any ideas on how the community could use or help to maintain these patches of land?

Generally people commented on the importance of green spaces for well being and nature and they applaud the community gardeners. They also commented that these spaces, and open, unfenced front gardens were important to the visual appearance of the estates and several people thought that the default position should always be to keep this land as open to the public. However

  1. There are issues with the areas veering between being overgrown or blitzed by the council, with the council sometimes cutting back what people have planted.
  2. They can get dirty
  3. One person who had started to clear an area to tidy and clean it had been wrongly accused of trying to enclose it.
  4. Quite a few people recognised that there are some very small areas of land in out of the way places that might be more easily managed by incorporating them into gardens but some also recognised that they may then end up getting built on if an extension is built sometime in the future.

Have you any ideas on how the community could use or help to maintain these patches of land?

There were a lot of ideas which can be summarized for as: Organize a local gardening club, and maybe a ‘get to know your neighbours day’ with refreshments, and some funding from the Council and plant not just flowers but wild flowers, vegetables, fruit, easy to maintain bushes.

Some people commented that not all community gardening was of the same quality and that there would need to be proper oversight if it was to be managed by the community. It should be noted that the land belongs to various people (County, Borough and Redrow) which complicates maintenance at the moment.

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