CABE calls for review of funding for parks management
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CABE calls for review of funding for parks management

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CABE Space has warned that unless long-term management and maintenance funding schemes are put in place to follow up the current high levels of investment in parks and green spaces, these parks will see a gradual decline and require further restoration at a later stage.

The organisation has published a report commissioned from PriceWaterHouseCoopers which calls on local authorities to explore new methods of paying for the ongoing maintenance of parks and green spaces, otherwise “the huge areas of new and restored green space due to be created in coming years are at risk of an uncertain future”. This includes funding training to meet skills shortages.

The Paying for Parks report considers eight models used to fund the management of parks including: traditional local authority funding, multi-agency public sector funding, taxation initiatives, planning and development opportunities, bonds and commercial finance, income generating opportunities, endowments and voluntary and community sector involvement.

It also highlights the barriers to developing new methods of funding, such as a lack of awareness of the value of green space among decision makers, restrictions on local authorities to set and control local taxes and the vulnerability of funding for urban green space to competition for funding from other services.

As some of the recommended models could be difficult for local authorities to implement due to a lack of flexibility under current restrictions, CABE has called for the government to take these issue into account as part of the Lyons review of local government efficiency ahead of the White Paper on Local Government.

Dr Edward Hobson, acting director of CABE Space, said: “This research shows that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to funding parks.

“Different models will suit different circumstances and traditional local authority funding is likely to remain key for most parks. But new ways of sourcing and generating revenue are needed to give parks longer term security.

“Implementing the innovative methods we have reviewed requires lateral thinking across the public, private and voluntary sectors if we are to sustain the improvement we have seen in parks over recent years. There is also definitely a role for central government in considering how it can help local authorities to be innovative, and thereby make devolution a reality.” Details: www.cabe.org.uk

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CABE Space has warned that unless long-term management and maintenance funding schemes are put in place to follow up the current high levels of investment in parks and green spaces, these parks will see a gradual decline and require further restoration at a later stage.
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