William Eichler 28 October 2019

Council chiefs sceptical of £1.35m parks fund

Local government leaders call for ‘long-term, sustainable funding’ to support green spaces in response to the Government’s launch of a £1.35m pocket parks fund.

The communities secretary Robert Jenrick yesterday opened bidding for the fund which is designed to help local areas develop new parks for everything from children’s play areas to vegetable patches.

‘We want to improve the mental and physical health of local people by providing a sustainable and affordable sanctuary away from the hustle of urban life,’ said Mr Jenrick.

‘That’s why we have launched this fund to encourage projects led by community groups to renovate parks and encourage community activities of all kinds.

‘Establishing more pocket parks is part of our wider ambition to ensure that communities have a real sense of identity and place, and that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy green spaces nearby.’

However, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, responded that the Government needed to invest in green spaces over the long term.

‘The LGA has long made the case for the importance of green and outdoor spaces for people’s health and wellbeing,’ he said.

‘In the face of the current childhood obesity epidemic, green spaces are a key resource which are enjoyed by people of all ages across the country, and sit at the heart of local communities.

‘However, it is important that councils can maintain their core leisure and green spaces so our residents can keep active, host community events, and enjoy top-quality, safe, children’s play areas, all of which benefit the mental and physical health of people who use them.

‘It is therefore important that the Government provides long-term, sustainable funding so they can continue to provide excellent services for their residents, including green spaces.’

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