Property developers would be forced to include green space in all new projects under plans unveiled today by Conservative mayoral hopeful Zac Goldsmith.
Mr Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond and a long-time campaigner on environmental matters, says smaller developments would have to include “a green roof” as standard while bigger schemes would be required to include new parks.
He’s also promised that any new public space created as a result of planning obligations will be open to the public, “not fenced-off and ignored.”
Launching his “Green Space Guarantee”, the Tory candidate pledged to bring in new rules “within 6 weeks” of taking office which he said would ensure London’s Green Belt and Open Metropolitan Land “enjoy the highest possible protection” against development.
In addition, communities will be given the right to adopt local authority green spaces, such as the ends of cul de sacs, and convert them into community gardens or allotments.
Goldsmith has also promised to fund a programme of “Pocket Parks” to help ensure all Londoners live within a 10 minute walk of green space by 2020.
He said: “As someone who grew up near Richmond Park, I feel strongly that everyone in our city should have somewhere they can go to escape the frantic pace of urban life. My plans will ensure every Londoner has access to green space.”
Mr Goldsmith also highlighted recent media reports revealing that rival Sadiq Khan supported development on the Green Belt when he was a communities minister.
Khan, who currently enjoys a 10 point lead in opinion polls and is the bookies’ favourite to win in May, has since described the green belt as “sacred” and claimed that it would be “catastrophic” to build on it.
However Mr Goldsmith said: “There is a clear choice at this election: between a lifelong environmentalist who sticks to his guns, and Sadiq Khan, who in government gave the green light to building on Green Belt.
“His experimental policies would pose a huge threat to London’s green spaces.”
Goldsmith’s pledges have been welcomed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, with Alice Roberts saying: “CPRE London has been really concerned that promises to save protected land are not translating into reality, so we welcome this proposal to close what is in effect a loophole allowing protected land to be built on.
“We also welcome the plan to take quick action and to send a really clear message – which is vital to stem the spiralling number of sites coming under threat from development because of speculation arising from lack of clarity.”
Londoners will elect a new Mayor and the 25 members of the London Assembly on May 5th.