Help protect the future of School Road Park

TRESA has submitted the statement below to the Bristol Local Plan Review. Our concern is that School Road Park should have the enhanced protection of Local Green Space (as opposed to Reserved Green Space which has protection but could be considered for future development).

We hope Totterdown residents will support the request for Local Green Space by:

  • Email: blp@bristol.gov.uk 
  • Post: Strategic City Planning, Bristol City Council, City Hall, PO Box 3176, Bristol BS3 9FS

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Bristol Local Plan Review: New Protection for Open Space – Consultation (March 2019)

School Road Park, Totterdown

In the Bristol Local Plan Review: New Protection for Open Space – Consultation (March 2019) document School Road Park in Totterdown is described as a playground and designated as ‘Reserved Open Space: ROS34011 Playground at School Road Totterdown’. However, Totterdown Residents Environmental & Social Action community interest company (TRESAcic) strongly believes that School Road Park should be given Local Green Space status.

It is important to note that School Road Park is more than a playground and comprises several different areas designed through collaboration between TRESAcic, local residents and Bristol City Council following a successful bid for People’s Lottery funding (£80,000 awarded in 2007). The area nearest the road is popular with dog walkers, has mature trees and several benches where people sit and socialise. It also contains a useful pathway connecting School Road and Goolden Street. Next to this is the popular children’s play area. Play equipment is mainly at the top of the park, but some was designed to make use of the sloping ground and takes children towards a more natural play area. Beyond this is semi-natural green space containing two small woodland areas, open grass and a lower boundary of trees and shrubs. As well as offering opportunities to play, this area is home to birds and other wildlife.

The following extracts from the Bristol Local Plan Review: New Protection for Open Space – Consultation (March 2019) support the designation of School Road Park as Local Green Space.

National policy context

2.5  A Local Green Space should only be designated where it is:

  • ‘in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves;
  • demonstrably special to a local community and holds particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field), tranquillity or richness of its wildlife; and,
  • local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.’ (Paragraph 100)

2.15  Local Green Space

Draft Policy GI1: Local Green Space

Local Green Spaces have been identified based upon five criteria of local significance:

  1. recreational value;
  2. historic significance;
  3. richness of wildlife;
  4. beauty;
  5. tranquillity.

Interpreting Local Green Spaces within Bristol

3.9  For Open Space to be considered suitable for designation as Local Green Space, sites must be in close proximity to the community it serves, be local in character, and be demonstrably special to the community.

3.12  Indicators of the demonstrably special nature of a green space include the existence of a friends’ group, any recognised awards that the space may have received, use of the area by local community groups and instances where it has been the subject of recent local investment of time or money.

The national and local criteria are considered in relation to School Road Park in the following table.

Criteria Detail
Close proximity to the community The park is within an area of densely populated streets of Victorian terraced houses. It is next to Hillcrest Primary School and Totterdown Baptist Church which is the home of Children’s Community Workshop Afterschool Club.
Is local in character School Road Park is a local park within a residential area and is not an extensive tract of land.
Is demonstrably special

 

In 2007 a successful bid was made to the Big Lottery Fund’s Regional People’s Millions contest and £80,000 was awarded to the community to upgrade School Road Park. TRESAcic and local residents worked closely with Bristol City Council to deliver improvements to the park. Since then it has been a valued and important local green space.

As well as being popular with children and families, the park is an important green outdoor play area for Totterdown Children’s Community Workshop Afterschool Club. The Children’s Workshop is based in a nearby church with no green outdoor space of its own. Similarly, Hillcrest Primary School has no green outdoor play area for the children.

TRESAcic conducts regular litter picking sessions in the park, as well as conducting an on-going tree survey and some community planting.

The park is a popular green oasis for people taking short walks in the neighbourhood, especially dog walkers. It also provides tranquil green space just a short distance from the busy Wells Road.

The mature trees, woodland areas, grass and shrubs are important for wildlife, particularly birds, and support biodiversity amongst a densely populated maze of streets.

Values (TRESAcic assessment) Recreational value Historic significance Richness of wildlife Beauty Tranquillity
x   x x x

Conclusion

School Road Park meets the criteria for Local Green Space. It is in close proximity to the community it serves, is local in character and is demonstrably special to the local community. Although assessment of value is subjective, we believe School Road Park complies with four of the values criteria listed in Draft Policy GI1. (It is worth noting in Bristol Local Plan Review: New Protection for Open Space – Consultation (March 2019) Local Green Space designations have been awarded to: two open spaces assessed as meeting only one of the criteria; 50 meeting two criteria, and; 56 meeting three criteria.)

We, therefore, request that Bristol City Council designates School Road Park as Local Green Space.