The Green Spaces Investigative Committee (GSIC) is a sub-committee of the Environment Committee of the Greater London Authority, the working home of the Mayor Ken Livingstone. The Association welcomed a party from the GLA on 16th July 2001 to show them around our three sportsgrounds, LESSA, Royal and Sun Alliance and Prince George's.
The GSIC has been set up to conduct a scrutiny of open green spaces in London, with three main objectives :
Thanks very largely to the magnificent efforts of Bob Simpson - a Westway resident - the GLA party (including Roger Evans, the Chair of the GSIC, Elizabeth Howlett, the GLA council member for Merton and Wandsworth, and Catherine Bickmore, a consultant to the committee) found their way to Raynes Park on a lovely sunny morning, and we gave them a guided tour. I am pleased to say that Wally Duyile from Merton's planning department also joined us.
The idea is that the work of this committee will be fed into a GLA report which will form part of the environmental input into a document which the Mayor is required to produce, called the Spatial Development Strategy (SDS). The latter is a sort of master plan for London, and, when it is finally approved, all London Boroughs will have to draft future local plans (their own Unitary Development Plans) in conformity with the SDS.
I'm sorry this all makes rather heavy reading, but the key point is that it should be good news for all local residents who are interested in preserving our environment. The GLA party showed considerable interest in our concerns, and we gave them loads of briefings on the state of play of the three sites.
I hardly need elaborate on all the reasons why we believe these sportsfields need protecting ; the reasons go well beyond the simple desire to retain the "green" aspect of the area. There is a widespread view - not just in this Association - that, for a variety of reasons, Raynes Park in general and West Barnes in particular are already over-built. And there are sound arguments in support of strict control over further development in these areas.
To return to the GLA visit, it may be quite a while before we hear from them, but we will of course keep you informed.David J. Freeman