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Publication date:- 2017-21-10

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 4 news items.    Page - 10.

Merseyside Parks compete for UK's Best Park Award

14 Merseyside Parks nominated for public vote, 360 nominated parks across the UK compete to be declared the nation's favourite park and research shows how Parks and Green Spaces contribute to health and well being.

The Fields in Trust UK's Best Park, Award is now open for a public vote to select the nation's favourite local park. A total of 14 cherished green spaces in Merseyside are featured in the 360 UK wide nominations, each a much loved part its local community.

Wirral has 5 nominations, those being Arrowe Park; Birkenhead Park; Harrison Park; Thurstaston Common and Vale Park and there are 8 Liverpool parks:- Calderstones, Croxteth, Derby, Everton, Rimrose Valley, Sefton, Walton Hall and Wavertree Playground. Southport's Botanical Gardens was also nominated. Now it is time to choose the winners via an online public vote.

Nominations include small community gardens and large nature reserves, sports fields and playgrounds, each green space valued by its community and nominated by the regular park users who love to:- walk, run, cycle, relax, picnic and play with their children in the UK's parks.

'The UK's Best Park Award' will see the park with the most votes in each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland shortlisted and nominators invited to attend the prestigious:- 'Fields in Trust Awards,' at Lord's Cricket Ground, in November 2017, where the UK's Best Park, as voted by YOU! 2017 will be named.

Fields in Trust is a national charity that operates throughout the UK to safeguard recreational spaces and campaign for better statutory protection for all kinds of outdoor sites,

The latest research from Fields in Trust shows, for the 1st time at national level, a direct and statistically significant link between public parks and green spaces and health and wellbeing. There is an established link between an individual's use of parks and an improvement in their physical health, life satisfaction, sense of worth, happiness and anxiety levels.

Minister for Local Government, Marcus Jones MP has convened a new Parks Action Group to review how parks meet the needs of local communities.

Appointed to this Government advisory group, Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths, said:- "Despite their clear health benefits, parks and green spaces are facing an uncertain future; across the UK outdoor spaces are under threat. The UK's Best Park Award celebrates the parks and green spaces which are so vital to the communities that use them.  Recognising the UK's Best Park is a way of revaluing our green spaces; not viewing them just as a drain on resources for maintenance and upkeep; but seeing what benefits they bring; access to good quality recreational space can contribute to the physical and mental health of their local population and provide places for people to get together for community events."

In 2016 Rouken Glen Park in East Renfrewshire was named UK's Best Park out of a field of 214 nominations this year a much bigger number of 360 cherished local parks have been nominated and are available for public vote on the Fields in Trust website.

Liverpool pilots empty homes matchmaker service

THE Council is aiming to introduce buyers and sellers of vacant properties in a bid to bring more empty homes back into use after slashing long term vacancies by a quarter since 2014. 

Liverpool can reveal its number of long term empty properties (empty for more than 6 months) has dropped from 6,382 to 4,800. And to mark Empty Homes Week, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has set a new target of bringing a further 3,000 new homes back into use over the next 3 years.

Key successes in this regeneration drive includes Liverpool Council's celebrated homes for a pound scheme which has now seen 40 properties fully converted with another 60 in the pipeline.

The City Council also works with private sector partners in the Liverpool Housing Partnership, a scheme which aims to bring up to 1,000 vacant homes back into use as part of a ₤205 million investment over a 5 year period which this year saw the opening of the award winning regeneration of Marwood Towers in Everton, North Liverpool.

Mayor Anderson said:- "Empty properties are wasted homes and can cause a range of problems that impacts on the environment and value of neighbouring properties. We've made huge strides in bringing down the number of long term vacant properties in recent years and this matchmaking service is part of a new approach to stimulate the market and create even more new affordable homes for families."

Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet Member for Housing, added:- "We are regularly approached by investors enquiring about empty homes in the City so we know the demand is there. A lot of effort will be going into making this pilot scheme work, with an empty homes loan being looked into, because it has the potential to make even more progress in breathing new life back into communities blighted by this issue."

The free matchmaking service has been designed to be a simple step by step service. All empty home owners have to do is complete a property information form, the details from which will be shared, via email, to more than 100 investors already registered on the Council's database. Owners of an empty property wishing to register for the scheme, or if you are interested in purchasing an empty property in the City, should email them.

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