Parliamentary Inquiry into the future of open spaces

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The Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into public parks to examine the impact of reduced local authority budgets on these open spaces and consider concerns that their existence is under threat. The Committee looks at how parks should be supported now and in the future. This includes studying alternative management and funding models, such as a mutual or a trust.

All written submissions must be received by 30th September 2016

Key facts

  • There are an estimated 27,000 public parks in Britain
  • Local authorities have no statutory duty to fund and maintain public parks
  • A 2014 report by the Heritage Lottery Fund found 86 per cent of parks managers had seen cuts to their budgets since 201
  • An estimated 2.6bn visits are made to public parks each year

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How to send a written submission

  • Anyone can send in a submission of written evidence to its website on the following issues:
  • Who uses parks and open spaces, how often and for what
  • The contribution of parks to the health and well-being of communities
  • The impact of reductions in local authority budgets on parks
  • What the administrative status of parks should be in light of declining local authority resources for non-statutory services
  • How new and existing parks can best be supported
  • What additional or alternative funding is available and what scope is there for local authorities to generate revenue from park users
  • What the advantages and disadvantages are of other management models, such as privatisation, outsourcing or mutualisation
  • The Committee would be grateful to receive written submissions by 30 September 2016.

Send a written submission

Chair’s comments

Communities and Local Government Committee Chair, Clive Betts MP, said:

“Whether it is kicking the ball about with friends, joining a park run, walking the dog or just relaxing with a paperback, people value their local parks.But with councils under enormous financial pressures and with no legal obligation to fund and maintain public parks, these precious community resources may be at risk.

The Committee will be asking what the future is for our open spaces and we want to explore the ways in which parks can be supported and secured for generations to come.We will be keen to find out about innovative and successful approaches to managing and funding parks and what Government can do to support these.

We know people value their local spaces, and we want to develop a clear picture of the community benefits of public parks as well as who is using them, how often and for what?”