Thursday, 15 July 2010



Ward councillors and members of the residents group that has raised £360,000 to regenerate Dalby Square in Cliftonville are outraged at the possible loss of 1300 square metres of open green space at the south end of the square to proposed development.

The plans were unveiled on Wednesday afternoon (14/07/2010) at St Paul's Community Centre where ward councillors and residents were simply astonished to learn that every single square metre of the land could be developed through the proposed plans, despite many years of negotiations where retention of the green space has been consistently seen as a priority.

Ward councillors and residents agreed that the proposed row of town houses was indeed very attractive but through plans and maps they are now shown to be built ON the green space and not BEHIND it as was previously agreed. The proposed townhouses were shown so far forward onto the green that they opened straight out onto the pavement and the link road.

Cllr Clive Hart said "the row of town houses looked absolutely great but they were shown thirty metres forward of where they should have been, within the current Warren Court site. This means that they would virtually fill the present green space. My invitation clearly stated the proposed development was for the Warren Court Hotel site that we all agree needs redeveloping, but when we arrived, the main row of buildings, attractive as they may be, had moved forward to take up the whole green. That clearly goes against all that had been proposed in the past seven years and everything that residents and we ward councillors have fought for".

Cllr Linda Aldred said "the loss of green space for children to play on and let off steam would be simply appalling in an area like Cliftonville West with such poor health statistics. At present parents can watch their children play from the windows of flats surrounding the densely populated square. This is very important in a Renewal Area like Cliftonville West with very low levels of physical activity reported for children here locally, as many live their lives in extremely cramped flats".

Cllr Doug Clark said "I often pass through the square and there are usually several groups of children kicking a ball about. We need more areas for youngsters to interact positively together and we certainly can't afford to lose this one. My experience as a JP of 28 years tells me we don't need any more youngsters hanging around on street corners and I fear that is what would happen with these groups if such a facility was taken away".

Members of the Dalby Square Project, told developers that they are also concerned about the effect that building on the large open green space would have on adjacent formal gardens that their group have worked so hard to provide for local people and visitors. They were very concerned that the ball games that currently take place on the large open green space would move across to the beautiful formal gardens and ruin all their groups hard work.

The Dalby Square Project Group also claim to hold a lease, signed by TDC officers in the past few years, that could prevent any development on the large open green space to the south of the square.


APRIL 2010

Whatever schemes are eventually implemented in Dalby Square it should be noted that residents (supported strongly by us as ward councilors at every step) have consistently stressed the need to maintain a large green open space at the South end of the square for recreational activities (please see attached note (below) on the national survey published in February 2010).

Note regarding the large open green space at the South end of Dalby Square.

We'd like to quote the key findings of the CABE national survey into green spaces that was published last month. They are all absolutely relevant to the large open green space in Dalby Square and the very last key finding sums things up absolutely perfectly!1) Almost nine out of 10 people use green spaces, and they value them. The 2009 Place survey found that in urban areas, 87 per cent of the population have used their local park or open space in the last year, and 79 per cent have used it in the last six months. The Place survey shows that parks and open spaces are the most frequently used service of all the public services tracked. This compares with 32 per cent who have visited concert halls, and 26 per cent who visited galleries.In fact, Heritage Lottery Fund research reports 1.8 billion visits to parks in England every year. Furthermore, people appreciate these spaces and this appreciation is increasing: in 2007, 91 per cent of people thought it was very or fairly important to have green spaces near to where they live, and by 2009 this had risen to 95 per cent.2) If people are satisfied with local open spaces, they tend to be satisfied with their council. There is a strong link between people's satisfaction with their open spaces, and their satisfaction with their neighbourhood. Satisfaction with neighbourhood is one of the key things that affects perceptions of council performance. This is particularly acute in the most deprived areas, where neighbourhood satisfaction is at its lowest.Putting in place an open space strategy is potentially one ingredient of success. Of the authorities that have shown the biggest improvement in residents' satisfaction in the last four years, nearly three quarters have completed their open space strategy.3) The provision of open spaces in deprived areas is worse than in affluent areas. People in deprived areas, wherever they live, receive a far worse provision of parks and green spaces than their affluent neighbours. They often do not have gardens and so access to good quality public green space matters even more. The most affluent 20 per cent of wards have five times the amount of parks or general green space (excluding gardens) per person than the most deprived 10 per cent of wards (figure 3).So if you live in an affluent suburb, you are also likely to have an above-average quantity of good parks nearby. On the other hand, if you live in a deprived inner-city ward, with high-density housing, you might have many small, poor-quality green spaces, but you are unlikely to have access to large green spaces, or good quality green space. Comparing deprived and affluent areas, residents' general satisfaction with their neighbourhood falls from around 80 per cent in affluent places to around 50 per cent in the most deprived places.4) People from minority ethnic groups tend to have less local green space and it is of a poorer quality. Areas with very few black and minority ethnic residents tend to have more green space, and it is of a good quality. We recognise that this is intimately related to the circularity of disadvantage - nearly all minority ethnic groups are less likely to be in paid employment than white British men and women and are more likely to be living in areas of deprivation.5) The higher the quality of the green space, the more likely it is to be used. Regardless of your economic circumstances, access to green space is beneficial to your health. If an area has high quality parks, it is likely that more residents will use them more often. Parks in the most deprived 10 per cent of wards have an average of 51 visits per year, compared with 62 visits in the most affluent wards.This pattern is supported by research which found that parks restored with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund have seen average visitor numbers rise by 68 per cent.It is important to provide green spaces that are appropriate for people of different ages. Young people aged between 16 and 24 report lower quality across all indicators analysed for the study: 15 per cent think their local parks and open spaces are the aspect of their area that need most improvement, compared with 8 per cent of 55-74 year olds. People's level of physical activity is related to affluence, or lack of it. In the most deprived wards, where quality of green space provision is lower, only 40 per cent of adults engage in moderate physical activity, compared to nearly 60 per cent in the most affluent wards.Overall, the strong correlations between poor quality and quantity of spaces in deprived areas, and the low levels of physical activity of residents, strongly suggest that investing in the quality of parks and green spaces is an important way to tackle inequalities in health and well-being.

Cllr. Linda Aldred Cllr. Doug Clark JP Cllr. Clive Hart

Working together for Cliftonville West

Published by Cllrs Linda Aldred, Doug Clark & Clive Hart - 44 Northdown Road, Cliftonville, CT9 2RW.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sorry 15.45 an unsubstantiated comment suggesting officers are accepting bribes is not acceptable.


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