Green spaces review
recommends City sets up a Parks Trust
A Parks Trust should be set up to
safeguard the future of Liverpool's parks and green spaces, a new report
recommends. The Strategic Green and Open Spaces Review Board was set up by the
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, to investigate alternative funding
arrangements for green spaces in light of continuing cuts in Government funding.
The review started in January 2015 and included public meetings and stakeholder
workshops; reviewing information and submissions to the Board's website;
surveying and mapping 1253 green and open spaces across the City and meeting
with a range of key local, regional and national organisations to gather
evidence, research best practice and consider alternative financial and
operational models for green spaces.
An interim report was then published in December 2015.
As well as financial issues the review looked at the contribution of green and
open spaces to health and wellbeing; the opportunities they offer for education
and the resilience they provide to future environmental challenges. The
report can be read in full now
Among the main recommendations in the review's final
► The setting up of a Parks Trust should be
explored. This would maintain, preserve and enhance parks and green spaces which
would remain in the City Council's ownership. If a trust was established it
would free the open spaces from financial constraints the City Council faces. It is suggested that
clusters, each containing a large park and other green spaces, could be
established under a single Charitable Federal Parks Trust
► Revenue generated by assets within the parks should be ring-fenced for future
maintenance of them
► External funding sources should be used to
attract the capital and investment needed in green spaces. An application to bid
for Heritage Lottery funding of between £100,000 and £250,000 to build capacity,
achieve significant strategic change and develop a new framework for parks
should be considered. The report also endorses the City Council's recent work to develop an EU horizon funding
bid which could attract funding support for research and investment in
developing green corridors in urban City locations.
► A proposed 'Green Web' – a network of linking green corridors, should be taken
forward in the 'Local Plan' and a number of projects should be explored and
The Board was chaired by actor, TV presenter and environmentalist Simon O'Brien.
He said:- "The release of the final report concludes a fascinating journey
of discovery for me around a City I love. This unique, independent review will,
I sincerely hope, help the City Of Liverpool continue to maintain and enhance
its incredible un-built environment. It has been drawn up with three questions
constantly running through my mind. How do we look after our precious green
spaces as Central Government ruthlessly slashes local Council budgets? How do we
better protect our public parks and wild areas? How do we better use these
amazing places in the future? I hope that the final report is not the end but
the start of a journey which can answer these questions. This is not a local
issue, this is a subject of national importance and Liverpool can, as it has so
many times in the past, lead the way on into the 21st century. I have met people
whose wish is to walk on water, some who take horseplay seriously and others who
dream of flying over the City on a green carpet. Just some of the many voices in
the final report of the Strategic Green and Open Spaces Review."
Mayor Anderson said:- "This report is an extremely valuable contribution
on how we address the challenges facing us on our green spaces. Liverpool is
extremely well served by the number and quality of parks and open spaces and
they are highly valued by the public. However, maintaining them comes at a high
cost and as the Government intends to reduce its funding by another £90m by 2020
we have to find different ways of doing things. I asked Simon and the other
board members to look at how we can fund our parks in the future and make the
best use of them; it is a review independent of the City Council. The
review sets out a number of possibilities including exploring the Parks Trust
model. It is a very interesting option to meet the challenge how our parks and
green spaces can not only be maintained but improved and it is a proposal we
will actively consider. The interim report contained many interesting ideas and
we have already taken forward some of the proposals. For example, we are using
£1m of funding from developers to invest in refurbishment and provision of play
areas, we have launched a new Environmental Initiative Fund and identified a
site for a new park in Kirkdale. Now we have this final report which is the 1st
major report of my 2nd term of office and we will look to see how the Council
can take its findings forward over the next 4 years. I would like to thank Simon
and the other Board members for producing such a thorough and thought-provoking
In total the report contains 38 recommendations. Other
► Maintenance of the City's green and open spaces should be reduced to 50% to
70% of its current levels if transitional funding cannot be secured before
2017/8 until a sustainable form of financing becomes available.
► A review of the commercial opportunities for the
City's green and open spaces
be undertaken to identify sites where activities and/or businesses can be
promoted to increase revenue.
► All commercial for-profit events held in the
City's green spaces are charged
appropriate licensing fees that cover the reinstatement costs and make a
financial contribution to ongoing site maintenance.
► A 'Green and Open Spaces
should be created.
► A series of interventions to make more effective and visible links between the
City's green and open spaces and improve the health of the City's population
should be introduced.
► The City Council should work with partners to identify and energise
'A Forest School For Every School' starting with the newly created public
woodland, at Woolton Woods being developed as a Forest School.