There are over 50 churchyards in the City which vary in size, condition, accessibility and character. The City of London Corporation maintains these spaces through numerous individual and collective agreements with the Churches and St.Paul’s, and in return the open spaces are open to the general public for use and enjoyment. With an increasing population, demand on our limited open space in the City has grown and is likely to continue growing. In addition, with continuing pressure on our budget, we need to reduce the maintenance costs on all our open spaces. We need to try to do more with less, maximising the open spaces we have available in the City, and in-short, increasing the quality and perceived quantity of all out City churchyard gardens.
Officers have put together a proposal for a project to enhance these open spaces in the City, which are invaluable resources to workers, visitors and residents. As Chairman of the Open Spaces & City Gardens Committee, or OSCG, I am very pleased to be supporting this proposed programme of work. The report detailing the proposal was agreed at the OSCG in July, and subsequently at this week’s Planning & Transportation Committee on which I sit.
This project aims to improve many, if not all of these churchyard gardens, making them more attractive, visible and accessible, which in turn will lessen the burden and costs on some high-use areas, and reduce the time and money it takes to maintain our City gardens.
This programme is by no means going to be simple or straightforward as there are a host of site-specific issues to address, but rarely are things that are worth doing particularly easy to achieve, and with the opportunity to create much enhanced spaces, such as the recently re-landscaped gardens at St.Olave’s or at St.Andrew’s Holborn, which on the ‘Best New Public Space’ in London award this year, the proposal is exactly what we should be doing for the long term benefit of our City gardens.
I look forward to working with officers and others on this exciting City-wide enhancement programme, which I hope will improve many of the churchyards in Farringdon Within.
Further details can be found in the Committee report (Agenda Item 10).
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