Green spaces in urban areas are the lungs of our towns and cities, none more so than here in Hastings and Rye. We are incredibly fortunate to enjoy not only a wonderful coastline, but also accessible and high-quality green spaces in our local towns, such as Alexandra Park in Hastings and The Salts in Rye. We also enjoy hidden pocket parks and sports fields which provide facilities for sport and leisure, both of which provide important health and well-being benefits.
Green spaces help to reduce noise, improve air quality and enhance biodiversity too. Last week, we suffered the reality of extreme heat, arguably making it more urgent to ensure that not only do we protect our green spaces, but that we make the most of the ones we have as well. Apart from the leisure and health benefits, green spaces can help to moderate temperatures and provide cooler shaded areas - these nature-based solutions help to mitigate and build resilience to climate change. Recent studies illustrate that people of lower socio-economic groups reap greater benefits from urban green spaces than more privileged groups, especially in terms of physical and mental health and social integration. Protecting and enhancing urban green spaces, our urban green infrastructure, should therefore be a priority for all local authorities, especially when it comes to deprived communities and housing development.
Last week, I was delighted to receive an email from the charity Fields in Trust, informing me that Alexandra Park has been nominated for their UK’s Favourite Parks award. The charity works across the country to champion and support parks and green spaces by protecting them for people to enjoy forever. It currently protects nearly 3,000 parks and green spaces whilst also championing the health, wellbeing, community, and environmental benefits they deliver for local communities. Once parks are lost, they are lost forever.
Please support our local park and vote! Voting is now open and will close at noon on Thursday 18th August 2022. Alexandra Park has been enjoyed by and acted as a sanctuary for so many people for many years, and now is our chance to celebrate it for the amazing and special place that it is.
(Alexandra Park, Hastings)