Ryeview – July 2009

Pickering needs a green space plan

John Clark writes…

First published: July 2009 – Gazette & Herald

The need for people to connect to nature is beyond doubt. People have a need to get out, take to the hills, take the dog for a walk or just go down to the park. There has been research in the US that shows there is a correlation between antisocial behaviour and the state of public parks.

Public parks do not have to be provided. So with the forthcoming public spending cuts, the likelihood of a substantial improvement in the provision of parks in the short term is small. However, Climate Change and the deepest recession for 70 years have produced social pressures meaning that the need for parks is greater than ever.

Pickering has its own need for Public Open Spaces that provide a whole range of facilities: playing fields with marked out pitches; goal posts without markings; areas of open grass; areas that for Biodiversity; children’s play areas; skateboard parks; bike tracks; peaceful areas for people to walk or sit and more and more others.

Park users will range from the young to the old; the extremely fit to the not so sprightly; the very noisy to the silent; from the resident community to the tourists. That doesn’t mean complete segregation but it does mean a lot of thought and planning will be needed before Pickering sets off in any particular direction.

Before we get to that position, Pickering needs a ‘green-space plan’. This may not be as snappy a headline as PICKERING NEEDS A PARK or as wonderful as PARK FOR PICKERING. Nevertheless, just like any jigsaw, what goes where is vital. Forcing the wrong pieces into the wrong places makes it worse.

Ryedale Council is creating its Local Development Framework. This is the follow-on Local Plan. Pickering Town Council has submitted the idea of a community park. A good step forwards but it needs to be taken as part of the provision for Public Open Spaces in Pickering. Does this community park include the skateboarding, rock climbing, extreme sports and ball games? All these activities are needed by the Pickering community.

All kinds of questions go into the melting pot.

Does the recent mowing by RDC of the Vivis Park fit in with the Ryedale Biodiversity Action Plan?

Does the proposed plan for parks improve or reduce the wildlife corridors across Pickering? (A town can be a massive barrier to wildlife moving from A to B)

Does the proposed community park reduce the ‘no ball games’ culture?

Will the park provide a garden that is accessible to adults and especially children that don’t have one?

Will the proposed park provide a Tourist attraction? Will tourists enjoy some time and either be encouraged to stay longer or return another time?

The above is not a list of negatives; it is a list of aspirations. If money, time and effort go into parks then this is the list of results that must come out. So yes, Pickering must have a Park but before that Pickering needs a ‘GREEN SPACE PLAN’.

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