William Eichler 11 January 2018

Council agrees to place parks in charitable trust

Knowsley Council has agreed to establish a charitable trust to manage the borough’s green spaces after the scrutiny committee requested the decision be put on hold.

The council agreed last November to set up a trust to manage green spaces in the borough from April 2019 when council funding for the service runs out.

The trust would be funded by the sale of 10% of the borough’s green spaces over the next 15 years. This would create a £40m endowment, the interest from which would be used to manage and maintain the remaining council parks.

However, the plan was put on hold last month after the Sustainable Boroughs Scrutiny Committee recommended a full public consultation was necessary before it could go ahead.

The cabinet agreed on Tuesday to push on with the plan and an outline business case will be considered by the scrutiny committee this summer before any final decision is made.

‘We know that our proposals for the future management of parks and green spaces are a big decision for the borough and one that we must get right,’ said council leader Andy Moorhead.

‘As a Cabinet, we’re only too well aware that taking no action to protect our parks and green spaces is not an option.

‘With funding running out from April next year we have a responsibility to think creatively to ensure future generations are still able to enjoy quality open spaces as we do.

‘This is not a decision we have come to lightly – and it was not a decision we made alone. The recommendations we’ve agreed were put forward following extensive consultation and research by the independent Parks Review Board who were asked to find the best solution.

‘This is about protecting parks, not taking them away.’

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