Planning Matters

Archaeology - what lies under the surface?
Town and Country Parks - select committee notes
Planning Policy Guidance 16 (Archaeology and Planning)
Noise PPG - Lords written answers - neighbourhood noise strategy; Nov/Dec 2005


What lies under the surface of the top site at the Crystal Palace Park?

It is believed that a number of "studies" have been done on the top site

What is puzzling is why they appear to be shrouded in mystery. Why is Bromley so reluctant to publish these studies? This behaviour while, alas, being what we have come to expect of Bromley, will only fuel rumours. For rumours there are! Some sensible, some wild - believe me.

More to the point, the Crystal Palace is undeniably one of the great buildings of the Victorian era and what remnants of the structure and artefacts lie there are of great archaeological value. More to come on this topic in due course but, for now, some of the planning issues, e.g. How Bromley treats the Policy Planning Guidelines, are covered in a website entitled "Archaeologists campaigning for the environment" - see LINKS.

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Town and Country Parks - 27th October 1999

The House of Commons Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs - summary of conclusions and recommendations(in full).

TWENTIETH REPORT The Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee has agreed to the following Report:


"The measure of any great civilisation is its cities and a measure of a city's greatness is to be found in the quality of its public spaces, its parks and squares". - John Ruskin


Interesting and relevant clauses have been picked out and reproduced here - they mosltly were in "bold" in the original - the full report can be obtained on the website given at the end of this summary.- Ed.

1. During the course of inquiries undertaken in 1998 and early 1999, the subject of parks was informally mentioned several times in connection with discussions on sustainability and urban regeneration. Gradually a consensus emerged among the Environment Sub-committee of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee that this should be a topic for examination at a future inquiry.

2. One of the features of the informal discussions had been the contrast between those who saw parks as the glory of Britain and those who lamented (or complained of) their decline. In the case of urban parks, one of the reasons often put forward for their supposed decline was the rise in popularity of country and wildlife parks. The committee therefore decided to try to establish whether urban parks had indeed declined, and, if so, how serious the decline was and how it might be remedied. In view of the argument that the decline of urban parks coincided with, or was caused by, the rise of country parks we opted to include country parks in our remit.

3. We saw our remit as follows:

There are many interesting insights in the report based on the evidence they received - here are some relevant clauses:

55. We should 'start with the park', as one of the founding architect-planners, Don Ritson, advised:"In many 'developed' societies, economists and politicians are increasingly puzzled by the fact that increased material wealth no longer automatically produces an increased sense of well-being. ... In the search for new values, based less on material wealth and more on the quality of personal and social relationships and community, together with a restored relationship to the natural world, then the urban park could once again come into its own as a site for social renewal ... Asked what was the foundation stone of these new communities ... Don Ritson simply stated that one should 'Start with the Park'".[73]

56. We believe that parks are key features in the renaissance of our urban areas. They have been instrumental in the regeneration of New York, Barcelona and Paris.[74] They need to be recognised and resourced as such by central and local government. In addition, the Social Exclusion Unit should give a high priority to making parks attractive places where all the community can enjoy themselves.

77. We believe that municipal parks should retain their integrity and historic character. However, if they are to have an exciting future larger parks should seek to regain their function as places for entertainment and formal and informal games. City farms and wildlife areas also have an important role to play in our towns, especially in the educational sphere. They need to be looked after and developed alongside municipal parks.

97. Making parks safe, and making them feel safe, must be a priority for local authorities. Plans for park safety should be included in all local authority Crime and Disorder Strategies.[110].

113. If the decline of parks is to be arrested and reversed it is essential that there should be sufficient high quality staff. We believe this is an area the Local Government Association ought to be looking at urgently, and which ultimately ought to be dealt with by a National Agency.

127. We are appalled by English Heritage's neglect of parks and other designed landscapes. Its expenditure and commitment of staff have been derisory. English Heritage must take its responsibility for parks much more seriously. It ought to survey all municipal parks over 30 years old to see if they ought to be included on its register, and make public the reasons for inclusion or exclusion. Once an agency has been established, it should take over responsibility for the register. We intend to consider this issue further during this Parliament.

133. A substantial amount of the New Opportunity Funds should be spent on parks. The funds should go to small local parks as well as to major parks.

137. The criteria for granting a Green Flag Park Award were established after a long process of consultation and debate. They are grouped under eight main headings:how to create a sense that people are positively welcomed into a park;

140. We believe that all involved in setting up and running the Green Flag scheme for parks are to be congratulated. Its functions should, in due course, be co-ordinated with the work of a national agency.

174. The case for establishing a National Urban Parks and Greenspaces Agency ultimately rests on several arguments: Parks are a national asset that has been taken for granted for too long. It is being increasingly recognised that parks make a valuable contribution to urban living. Parks could be used as part of a British prospectus for an attractive green environment for people to invest in. An Agency will ensure thatthese important assets are nurtured and used to their full potential in urban regeneration, making our towns and cities attractive places to live in. Parks and greenspaces amount to around 14 per cent of the developed land area. Such an area must be well looked after if it is to remain an attractive feature of urban living. Parks have been under-funded for some time. New sources of funding have to be tapped, and ways of optimising existing funding have to be developed. We have to ensure that parks are recognised as a major element in urban regeneration. An expert body able to advise government and local authorities on the role of parks in regeneration would be valuable in this respect. An Agency would improve the level of understanding and expertise within local authorities, restore skills at both craft and managerial levels, provide a framework for delivering NVQs, define occupational standards, and, via partnership with local authorities, build up a body of knowledge that can be made available through courses and publications. An Agency would facilitate a national interchange of ideas from 'Friends' groups and be a champion for park users. Above all an Agency ought to be able (a) to give expert advice to Government and Ministers and (b) to offer a lead to local authorities, particularly in implementing Best Value.

181. We are shocked at the weight of evidence, far beyond our expectations, about the extent of the problems parks have faced in the last 30 years. It is clear that if nothing is done many of them will become albatrosses around the necks of local authorities. Un-used, derelict havens for crime and vandalism, it would be better to close them and re-use the land than to leave them to decay further. We agree with Jane Stoneham and Tony Kendle when they say: "We have inherited an infrastructure of parks of priceless value and their documented and visible decline represents a wasted opportunity of tragic proportions".[182]

182. We pay tribute to the small band of enthusiasts who for the last ten years have been spreading this message. At last they are being heard.

184. We call on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when looking at any new green tax designed to change people's patterns of consumption, to consider earmarking a substantial sum so that a major investment can take place in our parks. Such a programme would also offer good employment and training opportunities.

185. While we do not believe in earmarking government finance to local authorities, we do believe the Government ought to help local authorities find ways to reverse cutbacks in park maintenance. It should recognise:that the amount of greenspace most local authorities have to manage has increased very substantially in the last 30 years; that funding has not kept pace with these increased needs; that if our urban areas are to be attractive places, parks and greenspaces must be well maintained; and that since an increasing proportion of the population will be living in towns and cities, parks will become even more important.


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The "Planning Policy Guidance: Planning and Noise" is being reviewed. Local authorities further powers come into force in spring 2006.

Report from Acoustics Bulletin Nov/Dec 2005, page 41


13 October 2005 Noise pollution Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to combat noise pollution. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Bach): The Government is taking numerous measures to combat noise pollution, ranging from the international to the national to the local level, At the national part of the spectrum, the Government is currently implementing an EU directive on environmental noise pollution (2002149/EC) that will lead, in 2007, to transport noise being mapped in agglomerations of more than 250,000 inhabitants as well as at major roads. railways and airports throughout the country. Action plans to tackle problems that are identified will follow in 2008 and then at five-yearly intervals.

The Government's Planning Policy Guidance: Planning and Noise gives national guidance to planning authorities and others on how potential noise pollution should be addressed through development. The Government is currently reviewing this guidance to bring it up to date with, among other things, the UK's sustainable development strategy of 2005. The Government is also committed to developing a national ambient noise strategy by the end of 2007.

At the local level, the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 will give local authorities further powers for dealing with neighbourhood noise once they come into force in spring 2006. The new measures include powers for local authorities to deal with misfiring intruder alarms and the extension of the Noise Act 1996 to enable local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices of [500 to licensed premises causing excessive noise.

The Government is also developing a neighbourhood noise strategy for launch in 2007. This will review existing legislation for dealing with noise nuisance, including the statutory nuisance regime under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as well as any gaps that existing legislation does not address. A draft scope for the Strategy will be consulted on later this year.

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Click here for full text:

Planning Policy Guidance - PPG16, November 1990

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Town and Country Parks:

House of Commons - Publications on the internet:


12/9/99 Last updated 5/10/00; 13/12/2005