Future of Parks - Submission to Select Committee

The Communities and Local Government Committee launches 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.
Public parks inquiry
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. The Following is the submission from Trafford Labour Group, authored by Councillors Jane Baugh and Stephen Adshead.
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Trafford Labour Group strongly believes that councils need statutory funding to maintain parks. Without dedicated funding, our parks will continue to deteriorate. Parks are important to our health and wellbeing, standard of living and to our sustainability agenda. They are free at the point of use and as such should remain in LA control. Many of our local Parks in Trafford are in urban areas some with high density housing and local parks can be the only real green space in these communities. It is vital therefore that parks are fully protected from any form of development or encroachment and we believe this should be enshrined in law. 

Elected Councillors in Trafford take great pride in the parks in their Wards and often belong to the Friends Groups, so important do they believe in the parks in our communities. We believe that local authorities should be encouraged to work with friends groups and support them to help enhance parks for the benefit of local communities. 

Parents know the relief of taking children out of the house to a park for them to have freedom and fun. There is nowhere else like your local park. 

Older people often just want to socialise and sit on a park seat, enjoying the open air; and then there are the dog owners, and youths using the skateboard and playing games and people using the gym equipment not to mention the events, the plays, the local brass band and local choirs.

Given the growing concerns about obesity, parks can and do play an important role in helping to encourage physical activity, access to funding from health based organisations’ could be made available to help both the health issue and encourage the greater use of our parks. 

Local Councillors are uniquely placed as they are involved in monitoring the maintenance of their parks and involving local people to volunteer with small projects in their Parks through groups like Friends group who can often be successful applying for grants.

Parks are so important to the increasingly diverse life of Trafford; our parks are obviously a huge asset as well as massive benefit for all our residents. 

The LA can plan a strategy for its parks calling on local knowledge which is so invaluable.

Budget cuts over recent years are having a dramatic effect on our parks and green spaces here; in some cases this is beginning to limit the diverse nature and use of our parks, to the detriment of the local community. We hope that the Government, local authorities, sports bodies and health agencies and companies and Friends groups can come together to solve the long term funding problem but is our view that only Statutory funding will ensure the long term future of our parks.

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