Concerns raised over the future of green open spaces in Scunthorpe

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 13 Nov 2017

Concerns have been raised over the future of green open spaces in Scunthorpe in the face of finance-raising plans by the ruling Conservative group on North Lincolnshire Council to sell land in the town.

Campaigners claim the sales of various areas of council-owned land are damaging Scunthorpe’s reputation as the Industrial Garden Town of the North, created 60 years ago by the late parks supremo George Haynes.

Scunthorpe’s Labour MP Nic Dakin is particularly concerned about the decision to sell off the 54-year-old Civic Centre and the impact on the future of surrounding Central Park.

Mr Dakin has sent an open letter to council leader Councillor Rob Waltham and his Labour counterpart Councillor Len Foster, outlining his concerns.

In the letter, Mr Dakin says: "Scunthorpe’s status as an industrial garden town is something that local people and businesses tell me they really value. It’s something we can all be proud of.

"I hope that North Lincolnshire Council values this as well and as the custodian of the area’s heritage and future will act in a way to protect Scunthorpe as an unique place."

The letter sent by Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin to Councillors Rob Waltham and Len Foster

In response, Mr Waltham said: “Nic Dakin is clearly spending far too much time in London.

“He is selling out young people, families and older people who need affordable bungalows, who desperately need housing.

“The council has thousands of acres of land in public ownership which is protected in the greenbelt.

“We have the award winning Central Park, equally beautiful Kingsway Gardens and thousands of acres of land around Scunthorpe which are protected as nature reserves.

“Nic needs to stop campaigning negatively and start backing the town that pays his wages.

“If we are to tackle the housing crisis we need to have politicians who act responsibly and who will do their best to ensure that affordable homes are built for local people, not at any cost, but in the interests of ensuring that people have a home for the future.

“Labour councillors on North Lincolnshire Council are currently trying to block plans to build 250 affordable homes for families in Scunthorpe. Nic Dakin and his activists should hold their heads in shame

“For my part, I will continue to protect valued green open space in the interests of community enjoyment.”

North Lincolnshire Council's Conservative leader Councillor Rob Waltham (left) and Labour group leader Councillor Len Foster

But Mr Foster said: “The council’s desperate need to raise finances by any means is leading to the wholesale disruption of every single piece of green open space within the Scunthorpe urban area.

“Although everyone is acutely aware of the pressing need for new homes locally, there are brownfield sites within the Scunthorpe area that could satisfy the housing need quite easily. Some brownfield sites could be grant-assisted.

“We will do everything we can to protect green open spaces including Central Park for the long term benefits of residents.

“As far as the Labour Party is concerned, Scunthorpe is not for sale at any price.

“Although the pressures the council finds itself under are tangible, the solution to this financial woe should not and must not be alleviated by the eradication of all green spaces within Scunthorpe.”

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