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Call for more green spaces
CITY dwellers shouldn’t live further than 300 metres from an open space, according to campaigners pushing for more green areas.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England Oxford branch has called on the city council to adopt the minimum requirements set out in Natural England’s Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard (ANGSt).
In the city’s Green Spaces Strategy, due to be presented to the executive at the Town Hall on February 13, it says local people should not have to walk more than 300m to their nearest small park.
But CPRE Oxford member Dr Sarah Milliken said: “Natural England’s Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard recommends that everyone should have access to a quality natural green space of at least two hectares within 300 metres from their home. The distance thresholds used in ANGSt are not arbitrary, they are based on what studies have revealed about people’s actual behaviour.
“For example, it is known that the majority of parents are unwilling to allow their children to be unaccompanied more than 300 metres from home.
“Although local circumstances may lead to variations on this distance, adopting this as a standard would help ensure that the majority of Oxford children do indeed have a green space near their home, which they can use freely.”
CPRE Oxford chairman and community campaigner Dr Sietske Boeles, pictured, added: “Residents in some parts of the city such as Blackbird Leys and Littlemore have less access to green space, which has a knock-on effect on people’s health and well-being.
“This situation will get worse when all the planned development is completed. For example the planned new park at Minchery Farm East, between Blackbird Leys and Littlemore, can no longer be brought forward due to recent amendments in the city’s sites and housing plan.
“One possibility is for the city to open up some of the land it owns south of Grenoble Road for public access, including for food production, which would be compatible with green belt policies.”
The pressure group previously criticised an earlier draft of the council’s strategy because it did not include an up-to-date audit of green spaces.
Council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “For a city Oxford’s size, we have a remarkable amount, variety and quality of green space available for all who live, work and visit the city.
“But we are not complacent and this innovative Green Spaces Strategy explains how we are seeking to build on this legacy.”