By Chris Young | LDRS

The lack of access to parks and green spaces for families living in some areas of the Bradford District has been described as a “cause for concern.”

The importance of local green spaces has been highlighted during the Covid pandemic, when people have been urged to remain local when they leave the home for exercises.

But a recent briefing by Bradford Council has pointed out that in many areas of Bradford, families do not have access to quality parks or outdoor facilities.

And these areas are also the most likely to ones where residents live in cramped housing, often with no garden.

Members of Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee were recently sent a briefing document titled “Green Spaces and Covid 19.”

It refers to the inequalities facing the District’s residents when it comes to access to open space, and suggests more needs to be done to create new public parks, gardens and play areas in areas that are currently lacking in such facilities.

The briefing says: “Access to natural and green space will have been increasingly important to individuals, families and communities during the pandemic.

“The role of green space in providing free access to ways to exercise and relax is particularly important in areas of low-income and in times when people are struggling financially.

“However, levels of provision and access are not the same across the District. Communities in areas without parks or other local green and natural spaces will have had restricted access to a resource that has helped to support wellbeing during the first wave of Covid.

“Areas of Bradford which have less green space and parks are typically areas with high density terraced houses which often lack private garden space as well.

“These two factors combined mean that there are fewer opportunities for adults to spend leisure time outdoors and for children to play outdoors where the risk of Covid transmission is reduced. This is clearly a cause for concern not only during the pandemic but for the longer-term impact on wellbeing.

“Whilst people can and do take exercise on their local streets, increasingly evidence shows that time spent in green and natural spaces brings an added mental wellbeing benefit, which has had the potential to be particularly beneficial during Covid.

“Urban parks and green spaces are highly valued by their local communities.

“Widening access to their benefits by creating new space where it is lacking, and improving existing space is an important aspect of recovery from the pandemic generally for individuals, communities and local areas.

“Evidence brought to the committee over the last two years has included research indicating that adding or renovating a number of small spaces in areas which lack green space can reach more people and cost less than creating a single larger space.

“This also brings the opportunity for people to get involved in decision-making and in caring for local spaces.

“The greening of urban streets and areas of public realm is also being built into schemes and bids for urban renewal, public transport and active travel schemes.”