Councils across the country are to benefit from a multi-million pound funding boost to ‘breathe new life’ into green spaces.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire MP has promised local authorities £9.7m to better maintain, protect and increase their recreational spaces.
An additional £2.75m will also be made available for the pocket parks plus programme, which supports community groups who wish to create new parks or refurbish older ones that have fallen into disrepair.
The National Trust and The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Future Parks Accelerator initiative have also received a further £1.2m.
‘Our parks and green spaces are huge assets to our towns and cities, offering precious spaces for all of us to get together, to exercise and to play,’ said Mr Brokenshire.
‘This latest funding will support bold proposals to help renovate and restore existing parks and create new vibrant, safe green spaces for our communities.’
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said he was ‘pleased’ with the ‘much-needed investment’.
‘Our public parks and green spaces are some of our most cherished local services, and this injection of money will boost councils’ efforts to keep these open and in good condition, despite facing significant funding pressures,’ he said.
The money that councils have to spend on parks is ‘running out fast’, Cllr Vernon-Jackson added, and ‘huge uncertainty’ remains about how they will pay for services in the future.
‘With councils in England facing an overall funding gap of £8bn by 2025, the forthcoming Spending Review will be make or break for local services and it is vital the Government uses this to put local government on a sustainable footing into the next decade and beyond.’