London's Open Spaces: A Necessary Protection that is Under Threat
From the Thames at Richmond to Hampstead Heath, there are many wonderful open spaces in London that offer respite from the city. However, it is becoming increasingly challenging to protect these green spaces.
London’s population has continued to grow since the 19th century and this trend shows no signs of abating. As a result, pressure on housing and land remains high and buildings continue to rise across the city. These factors mean there are increasing pressures on open spaces in London and their protection is more important than ever.
This article examines some of these spaces as well as their protections and threats going forward.
Regent's Park is one of London's most important and well loved open spaces. Situated in the heart of the city, it is a large area of green that is popularly used for walking, horse riding, and cycling. In addition, it is home to many cultural attractions, including the London Zoo, the Open Air Theatre, and the Natural History Museum.
In terms of its protection, Regent’s Park is the first open space in London to be given the status of a ‘national park’. This means that it is protected by the same rules as a national park (see Hampstead Heath below). As such, it is protected against development, and it is managed by the Royal Parks (who are responsible for most of London’s open spaces). Therefore, it should be protected for years to come.
Hampstead Heath is a beautiful open space that is situated in the north of London. The Heath, as it is commonly known, covers an area of around 140 hectares, and it has a long history that dates back to the Bronze Age.
This open space is a very important asset for London and it has been protected for many years. In fact, in the early 20th century, the Heath was protected against development by the Metropolitan Commons Act. This meant that it was placed on a list of open spaces that are legally protected from development. As such, it was one of the first open spaces in London to be given the highest level of protection.
Today, the Heath is part of the ‘Regional Open Space’ network, and it is protected under the National Parks and other Wild and Countryside Acts. As such, it will be protected for the forseeable future.
Greenwich Park is one of London’s most beautiful green spaces. Situated to the south-east of the city, it is an area of green that is popularly used for walking and horse riding. It is also a site that is rich in history, boasting many important buildings including the Royal Observatory, the Prime Meridian, and the Observatory Gardens.
Greenwich Park’s protection came slightly after that of Hampstead Heath. In fact, it was given the highest level of protection in the 1960s. As such, it is one of the last pieces of open space in London to be given this highest level of protection.
As a result, the future of Greenwich Park looks promising and it is highly unlikely to be developed in the near future.
London Fields is a large park to the east of London’s city centre. This green space is very popular and is used for a wide range of activities, including walking, running, and cycling. In addition, it is an area that is rich in culture, with a variety of annual events being held in and around the park.
As with many of London’s green spaces, London Fields was protected for a long time before it was fully given the highest level of protection. In fact, it was placed on a list of ‘Conservation Areas’ in the 1950s, a status that means it cannot be developed. However, following the London Olympics in 2012, there were calls to construct a Stadium in London Fields. If this had been carried out, it could have jeopardised the space’s protections. Despite this, the development plans were rejected and London Fields remains protected to this day.
Battersea Park is a large open space to the south of London. It is very popular with both locals and tourists and is often used for a variety of events and activities. In addition, Battersea Park is home to many important buildings, including the Grade II listed Battersea Power Station.
Battersea Park has been protected for many years, even before it was given the highest level of protection. As such, it is one of the older open spaces in London. However, Battersea Park has not been completely protected for its entire history. In the 1960s, there were plans to construct a road that would run through the park. If this had been carried out, it would have severely impacted the park, and would have had a significant impact on it's protections. Fortunately, these plans were rejected, and Battersea Park has been protected ever since.
London’s open spaces are incredibly important. They offer respite from the stresses of city life, they are home to many cultural attractions, and they are crucial for wildlife. However, these green spaces are becoming increasingly difficult to protect. As London’s population continues to grow, there is an increasing pressure on housing and land, and buildings continue to rise across the city. As a result, the future of London’s open spaces is uncertain. Therefore, it is important that we protect what we have and that we are aware of the threats posed to these areas.