The Landscape Guide

The Layfield criticism of the GLC Open Space Plan

London Landscape Plans: 1829, 1900, 1929, 1943, 1951, 1969, 1976, 1988, 1990, 1992, 2000, 2004, London landscape architecture,

The Draft Greater London Development Plan was subjected to a searching inquiry, conducted by Frank Layfield.’5 With regard to the Green Belt, Layfield criticised the GLDP for being ‘distinctly half-hearted’ in its commitment to the recreational use of the green belt land, and for lacking ‘a firm statement’ that local plans must provide for the rehabilitation of derelict land. With regard to Metropolitan Open Land, the Layfield Panel found that ‘the policies .. . convey little meaning to us and that it would be no loss if the concept disappeared.’ It was recommended that they should, instead, be designated as Green Belt: ‘To argue that, because they are detached patches or fringes and not part of a belt, they cannot form part of the green belt, seems to confuse metaphor with reality.’ He was right.

Layfield accepted the GLC’s criticism of the Abercrombie standards of open space per 1000 population, but did not accept the logic behind the proposed hierarchy. As the Draft GLDP itself pointed out, the hierarchy takes no account of density of population. Layuield concluded that: ‘Because, in our view, the suggested systems are both misleading, we asked ourselves whether there is any point in having a system for determining the amount of public open space to be provided. We do not think there is.’ His logic is refreshing. The Panel recommended a plain assertion that ‘London has not got enough public open space.’