WALTHAM FOREST: Debate rages over "threats" to green space (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WALTHAM FOREST: Debate rages over "threats" to green space
LABOUR and Lib Dem councillors have clashed over the extent to which green spaces in the borough are under threat from new developments.
At a town hall meeting last night John Macklin put forward a motion calling for the council's policy towards the protection of green spaces and playing fields to be strengthened.
Cllr Macklin, who is also deputy council leader, said: “I am not keen on Waltham Forest becoming a dormitory town.
“It is not just a matter of protecting green spaces, we have to make sure they are utilised effectively.”
Fellow Lib Dem councillor Bob Sullivan said there is “no doubt” residents are concerned about encroachment on to green space.
He said the Northern Olympic Fringe masterplan shows roads going across marshland and said there is confusion as to whether Draper's Field, off Leyton High Road, is under threat.
He also cited loss of space following the construction of Leyton Grange estate and on Lammas Land in Leyton as examples of the borough's history of not protecting its green space.
But the Labour group attempted to change the wording of the motion to remove a reference to “threats” to green spaces.
Cllr Marie Pye, a Labour cabinet member, said: “This seems to me like scare-mongering.
“The election is still five months away and we don't need scare-mongering at this point.
“If there are threats let us know what these threats are because I don't know of any.”
Cllr Terry Wheeler, cabinet member for enterprise, described the borough's record of protecting green space as “exemplary” and said nearly £3m has been invested in parks since 2006.
He said Draper's Field will be protected and will become one of the best parks in the borough.
The Labour attempt to get the motion altered was voted down by the Lib Dem and Conservative groups.
The original motion was then passed unanimously.
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