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Campaign group critical of Old Farm Park eastern half disposal

PUBLISHED: 17:02 24 November 2015 | UPDATED: 17:02 24 November 2015

Parks and open spaces in Bexley are under threat of being sold off due to budget cuts. Old Farm Park Sidcup

Parks and open spaces in Bexley are under threat of being sold off due to budget cuts. Old Farm Park Sidcup

Archant

Malcolm wright from the Save Old Farm Park campaign group explained his concerns

Campaigners have criticised Bexley Council over a decision to dispose of a popular local space.

Last week, Bexley’s Cabinet approved the start of the statutory procedure for the disposal of open spaces, including the eastern half of Old Farm Park in Sidcup.

Malcolm Wright, 43, from Old Farm Avenue from the Save Old Farm Park campaign, believes the council have missed vital information when preparing to make this decision.

He said: “In council documents, officers took a sample number of visitors in the park on a misty and rainy Sunday.

“They claimed there weren’t many people there; they even claimed there were 37 campaigners present, when in fact there were closer to 70.

Mr Wright explained the importance of the park to the local area,

He said: “There is a wealth of evidence to suggest living close to green space can help tackle obesity, as well as mental health.

“A number of the visitors are retired, and use the park as a meeting point to socialise, without it, people will isolated in their homes.

“The council will sell this off, but in the near future the number of retired people will grow and the council will only have larger costs to pay off.

“I don’t blame the council entirely, the government has put a lot of pressure on councils across the country.

“It will be tragic if any part of the park is sold off, I haven’t given up hope the park will remain the fight is still very much there.

“It’s not just for Old Farm Park, it’s a matter of principal, it is unsustainable to sell land off like this.”

A further statutory public consultation will take place, with results reported to the council’s general purposes committee, which will make the final decision early next year.

Cabinet member for Finance and Corporate Services Don Massey said: “The financial pressures we face are unprecedented and likely to increase. “We have to tackle a large projected deficit, which we estimate at £34million by 2018, so we can continue to meet our legal responsibilities.”

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