Plymouth Parks and Sports Grounds Belong to Us!
27th November 2009
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Our Parks and Sports Grounds Belong to Us!   


We love our city!  One of the nicest things about Plymouth is that there are lots of parks and green spaces and Plymouth Parks Department does a fantastic job, particularly in the city centre and on The Hoe, maintaining beautiful displays of flowers and neatly cut grass.


We all regard these green spaces as our own, and rightly so!  Some of them were given to us by people like Lady Astor and others were purchased using our council tax.  Sometimes we were helped a bit, as in the case of Central Park, where the original land owners sold us the park very cheaply and the then Ministry of Health lent us some money to help us buy it.  Even back then it was widely recognised that if you want a healthy population they need green spaces outdoors for sports and recreation.  Yes!  These green spaces in our city belong to us.  Either they were gifts, or our parents and our grandparents bought them out of their council taxes, or they bought them out of their income tax - as was the case with the Civil Service Sports Ground.  These areas are not private property!  They are ours!  They belong to us!


We never, for one moment, thought that anybody would dream of taking any of our public urban green space away from us.  We had heard mention of "asset stripping" and "efficiency savings" but never really associated this political jargon with the places where our children dream of becoming football stars or the local tennis courts in West Hoe Park.


The Council's Area Action Plans don't make for interesting holiday reading and a lot of people still haven't realised just what is going on.  Those who have are horrified to find that their beloved urban green spaces are being nibbled away at and huge chunks are being sold off for building.


Local people have spontaneously formed groups to campaign against building houses on Central Park, flats on West Hoe Park tennis courts and flats on the Civil Service Club sports ground, etc. etc etc.  They have attended public meetings, written endless letters, been to public enquiries, plodded their way through all the "democratic" processes available and hit their heads against lots of very hard walls.  Finally they have realised that there is no law to stop people taking our green spaces away from us and building on them.


But the spirit of the people of Plymouth has never been easily daunted and is not going to be daunted by a little thing like a missing law. It is time for us to write a new law to protect our urban green space and the people of Plymouth are leading the way!


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