William Eichler 28 February 2018

London councils protecting parks ‘despite cuts’, report finds

London boroughs are working hard to protect parks and green spaces ‘despite funding cuts’, research says.

The charity Parks for London has published a report evaluating how well local authorities in the city are performing when it comes to protecting parks.

The criteria included public satisfaction with parks, collaboration with other boroughs, and community partnerships.

Parks for London said the councils that went ‘the extra mile’, and continued to invest and innovate despite funding cuts, were those that were placed at the top of the charity’s Good Parks for London table.

This included promoting events which help to increase social cohesion, but also provides extra income, and using apprenticeships to attract and develop a skilled workforce within the borough.

Lambeth came in at number one with a score of 19.5 out of 20. Newham came last with 5.5.

‘Good Parks for London is the first report to look at all London Boroughs and how well they are doing at protecting and managing our vital parks and green spaces,’ said Tony Leach, chief executive of Parks for London.

‘Our hope is that all local authorities will look closely at the findings in this report and see where they can collaborate more to maintain these essential community resources.’

Cllr Sonia Winifred, cabinet member for equalities and culture at Lambeth, said: ‘Lambeth Council, in common with many of our neighbouring local authorities, put an enormous amount of work into maintaining, improving and promoting our borough’s green spaces and parks because we know how important they are for all our communities.

‘So I welcome this report which looks at how much time, effort and energy councils across the capital have invested in their parks as it demonstrates the real outcomes achieved that are benefiting our residents, that are boosting our biodiversity and making our borough ever better places to live.’

According to a 2016 report from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Government cuts were impacting upon the running of parks. Around 92% of park managers reported cuts to their budget over the previous three years and 95% of park managers expected their budget to be cut over the next three years.

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