Letter: Urban parks neglect

Sir: You judge perceptively in illustrating the Cambridge-based case study about hi-tech businesses with a photograph of Cambridge's beautiful urban parkland ("Time to get your share", 13 November). The quality of urban open spaces and business success go hand in hand.

It is therefore sad and short-sighted that Britain's urban parks are receiving so little support.

For instance, the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions is proposing to delete recreation, parks and open spaces from its Best Value Performance Indicators, by which the Government intends to measure local authority service.

The Urban Task Force did not consider that greenery, parks, recreation or trees were concepts worth including in its recent report's index. Cambridge's own centre for Architectural and Urban Studies is to hold a conference next year on Cities for the New Millennium which intends to ignore the urban park.

Invited to write the forward to that same Urban Task Force report which so ignored the urban landscape, the former mayor of Barcelona states that "a commitment to develop networks of new plazas, parks and buildings was the cause of our success".

Only the Heritage Lottery Fund is including the repair of urban parks as an important aspect of its programmes for the next three years. But its work is related to conservation of heritage. We need now to be creating new urban parks for a new age and providing resources for their proper long-term upkeep.


Board Member, Landscape Foundation Board