After a "consultation" with 31 neighbours next to the farm it is said that 15 neighbours wanted this parking scheme. Were the 10,000 visitors to the farm last year consulted? It appears not.
Stonebridge City Farm has been developed under often stressful conditions to get funding over many years. A lot of work and commitment has gone into bringing green skills and values into the city. It encourages local food growing and draws in vulnerable people into that task. The city council should be really grateful for that. It should be celebrating that. Yet they seem to take it for granted and are now acting in a way that undermines it. It appears that they think nothing of undermining the work of generations of people. Stonebridge City Farm is an institution whose longevity against the funding odds is to be congratulated, not cut back for car parks.
The City Council tells us that it supports sustainability, it assures us that it is working against climate change. We are led to believe that you are working to help prepare the people of Nottingham for peak oil. It passes resolutions. It styles itself as the place which issued the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change. It should live up to its words.
The development of local urban food sources, skilling up local people and drawing in vulnerable people are all a major part of giving tangible expression to what needs to be done in the face of energy problems in the future. Nottingham needs all the community gardens it can get and the city council should be giving them all the support that it can. That means giving them secure tenancies and not undermining their long run security. They are vital to the future of the city, to training in DIY cultivation and food skills, for setting examples to people which will ultimately be key to the maintenance of public health in this city. Around the city Transition Groups are trying to encourage local food growing and community gardens. This is not the message that the city council should be sending out - that after the effort has been put in over many years they will think nothing of putting people's work under tarmac.
They want to take this land away to develop a car park! What does this tell us? It tells us that the City Council have a shallow understanding of climate change and peak oil and the important of secure places to cultivate in the city. It tells us that the city council are not reliable partners. It tells people that if they spend years of time and effort developing a community garden politicians can and will undermine their work if it seems expedient to do so - so why should they bother? It is a very ugly and discouraging message and we want it changed.
online petition to the council here