GR: This article points out how tempting the blank spaces are for planners and developers. Of course, the blank spaces are usually critical bits of nature in otherwise human-destroyed landscapes. My home happens to sit on the edge of one of these places. Ecologists and some urban planners recognize the value of these open spaces, but most “planners” in urban governments do not. Here’s a bit about my local open space efforts.
“Valley bottoms are the last green corridors in congested cities and towns because most planners sensibly refuse to allow houses to be built on land that floods. However, these accidental linear paradises are temptingly blank spaces on planners’ maps: perfect for parking.
“A resident of Reading recently used the three minutes allotted to people speaking at local planning meetings imaginatively: Linda Trenchard attempted to persuade councillors by singing her own version of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi: “Don’t pave paradise and put up a park-and-ride.”
“Wokingham borough council was this month granted approval for a 277-space park-and-ride scheme on the banks of the Thames. Bath and North East Somerset council will next year decide which bit of Bathampton Meadows will be sacrificed for a £12m new park-and-ride. South Norfolk district council last month ignored objections by environmental scientists to wave through proposals for new rugby pitches and 315 car parking spaces on water meadows in the Yare valley.
“Never mind the Pooterish sacrifice of beauty for a convenient parking space: from a practical point of view, water meadows are giant sponges for floodwater. Councillors shouldn’t need the help of scientists to grasp that floodwater will cascade into rivers much more swiftly from asphalt car parks than pasture. Even the government recognises the value of such “natural” flood defences. Last week’s spending review saw £15m invested in natural flood management. Local authorities haven’t caught on.” –Patrick Barkham (continue reading: Park and flood: why do we let planners pave over our green valleys?)