The Society has responded to a consultation on a new Parks Strategy. Since the last Parks Strategy was written in 2008, new priorities have emerged, and these have driven the themes of the Strategy:
- nature and climate
- children and young people – fun, play and learning
- community participation
- health and well-being activities
- cultural events and making heritage accessible
- employment and skills – developing the workforce
This is in the context of big budget cuts in recent years, which lead to drives for volunteer involvement and new commercial opportunities.
In addition, the Parks Strategy incorporates:
- a Food Growing and Allotment Strategy
- green space provision standards. A review of the existing space per person, which is reducing as the population grows, and the potential supply of additional space.
We welcome and support the new strategy as much has changed since the 2008 strategy was written, and there is much within the new framework that we can support.
We do however, have a number of practical concerns about how the strategy will be applied and what the consequences will be for both people and green spaces. Our main concerns are as follows:
- a lack of clarity as to how the strategy will be delivered and what the consequences of following it will be: it is not clear how tensions between the various principles will be resolved.
- the new world of partnership and mixed funding requires managing, and this may require new structures. The strategy is silent on the point.
- the number of missing key documents, the loss of an explicit link between the strategy and the near final Local Plan, and differences in definition of open space between this strategy and the supporting paper.
- a much reduced open space provision per person in the inner city.
- the potential reduction in available open space through use for new infrastructure and more big events.
Image: View over Victoria Park towards Park Street © Boys in Bristol