Parks and open spaces are arguably the most universal of all public services, used by the entire community, from pre-school children to retired adults. A Fields in Trust survey from 2015 found that nearly a quarter of respondents use their local park at least twice a week. Yet unlike education or libraries, parks are a discretionary service which councils have no statutory duty to provide. There is no specific requirement to consult with local planning authorities about disposal of informal recreation space and no national audit is kept, making it difficult to track the losses of these vital assets. While the number of park visits is rising, investment has decreased and maintenance and upkeep has been reduced; local authority spending on open spaces fell by 14% between 2010 and 2014. The Heritage Lottery Fund State of UK Public Parks 2016 report reveals that 92% of park managers reported cuts to their … (To read the full article, subscribe below)
Helen Griffiths is chief executive of Fields in Trust, a national charity working to improve the protection, provision and quality of outdoor recreational spaces for all communities in the UK.
Subscribe to New Start
Full access to all New Start content is just £49 + VAT per year (25% discount for group subscriptions of 5 or more subscribers)