Halt plans for advertising boards in Lambeth parks and open spaces. Consult people first

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Plans to put commercial advertising boards in our parks and other public open spaces are in their final stages of being implemented, but there has been no public consultation on the policy decision. Instead, planning notices have appeared outside our own park and other public open spaces across the Borough of Lambeth proposing they are put in place in the near future.

We want Lambeth Council to undertake a full open consultation with the community on whether the policy decision was right in the first place, and whether or not to proceed with these plans. 

In the meantime, all the planning applications related to these commercial advertising boards should be withdrawn by Lambeth Council as the planning process only covers the design and placement of the boards - not whether the decision to allow them was right in the first place. A full list of the 19 planning applications throughout Lambeth that we know of so far, are at the bottom of this petition.

As an example, the planning permission submitted for Hillside Gardens Park (19/03057/ADV), a small community park, includes 9 commercial advertising boards. Four of these would be 10 metres long, and others 4 metres or 2 metres long. the information submitted with the planning application is misleading as it doesn’t show a scaled example of the proposed size, design or content of the boards, and does not provide any background to the policy decision. 

As we understand it, the policy decision allows for commercial advertising boards to be implemented in all of Lambeth’s parks and green spaces, though we also understand these are now planned for a number of open spaces too. There is also no clarity on who would be allowed to advertise on these boards, and who would not be allowed to advertise on them. 

Given that our parks and open spaces are so important to us all, and especially our children, these plans raise a number of concerns and questions that deserve an in-depth engagement with the wider community on the whole approach and whether it is right - not a case-by-case response to individual planning applications. 

Finding information on the decision to go ahead with these advertising boards is hard. There is a report titled “Advertising and Sponsorship Income Generation” from July 2017 about commercial boards in parks and open spaces. But the section on “consultation and co-production” demonstrates no public engagement. The only consultation it lists is with internal parts of the Council, other local authorities, and potential bidders to deliver the advertising. In addition, this decision is over two years old. It states that the advertising boards will be limited to a much smaller size than some of those now planned.

We fully understand there are pressures on local budgets, but we can see no mention in the Lambeth annual budget plan for this year to raise income from commercial advertising in parks to balance its budget.

This all adds up to a compelling case to go back to the drawing board and review whether commercial advertising in our parks and public open spaces the right approach, after consulting with the community first.

Here is a list of planning applications, and planning references numbers, as far as we know. As well as signing the petition you can log onto the Lambeth Planning Applications Database to view and comment on the individual applications at: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-applications/search-planning-applications

Agnes Riley Gardens 19/03049/ADV - Coldharbour Lane Open Space, Somerleyton Road 19/03152/ADV - Eardley Road Sidings Nature Reserve 19/03050/ADV - Hillside Gardens Park 19/03057/ADV - Kirkstall Gardens 19/03068/ADV - Knights Hill Recreation ground 19/03054/ADV - Knights Hill Wood 19/03051/ADV - New Park Road and Brixton Hill corner, Public Open Space 19/03067/ADV - Palace Road Nature Garden 19/03069/ADV - Park Grafton Square 19/03091/ADV - Rosendale Sports Grounds 19/03150/ADV - St Leonards CofE Church 19/03056/ADV - St Luke’s Church  West Norwood 19/03052/ADV - St Matthews Peace Garden 19/03095/ADV - Streatham Green 19/03053/ADV - Trinity Garden Public Open Space 19/03092/ADV - Vale Street MUGA 19/03055/ADV - Windmill Gardens Public Open Space in Blenheim Gardens 19/03093/ADV - Windrush Open Space, Effra Road 19/03151/ADV