What does the future hold for public parks?
Towards the end of 2016, the CLG Select Committee held an inquiry into the future of public parks.
As a major funder of UK parks – to the tune of £850million in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund - HLF gave evidence to the inquiry drawing on its State of UK Public Parks 2016 report.
Today the committee publishes its report. It outlines the considerable challenges facing local authorities in light of reduced budgets and pressures to increase housing supply and recommends:
- Councils should publish strategies recognising the value of parks in the context of wider local objectives such as health and wellbeing
- Innovation and transition funding is needed to develop management models and funding sources required to sustain parks in some council areas
- There should be a mechanism for evaluating, benchmarking and sharing best practice from across the UK and internationally
HLF welcomes the recommendations of this report - and we are already doing our bit to help.
Next steps for Newcastle
We are funding a groundbreaking scheme that will enable Newcastle City Council (NCC) to test a new funding, management and maintenance model for 35 of the city’s parks and allotments.
[quote]“We are funding a groundbreaking scheme that will enable Newcastle City Council to test a new funding, management and maintenance model.”[/quote]
The proposal will see Newcastle’s parks and green spaces remain the property of the city council but transfer day-to-day responsibility of funding, managing and maintaining them to a new charitable trust whose sole purpose is to manage the parks.
If implemented, the charitable trust would independently manage approximately 35 parks across the City and possibly over 50 hectares of allotment land. It would explore new ways of best using the current facilities, space and buildings to bring in revenue for the successful running of the parks, without undermining free access.
NCC will explore whether an endowment could be put in place to support the trust.