Camden consults on future parks management plans

Camden Council in London is asking the public how it should look after the borough's parks and green spaces in the future.

Image: Camden Council
Image: Camden Council

The authority currently tenders out its grounds maintenance service – which maintains spaces ranging from the historic squares of Bloomsbury to neighbourhood parks – at a cost of £2.5m annually. Current contractor Fountains Ltd, which is part of the OCS Group, provides park attendants, gardeners and playground inspectors and carries out tasks such as grass cutting, leaf and litter collection, hedge cutting and repairs to play equipment.

The council manages 75 parks and gardens and more than 300 green spaces on housing estates, and 333 play areas.

In a statement, the council said with the ending of the current grounds maintenance contract in 2017 presents an opportunity to explore how Camden's green spaces could be maintained differently, while saving money. The council has saved a total £93m since 2011 but plans to save a further £75m by 2018.

Possible changes include replacing high maintenance plants with lower maintenance ones that better support biodiversity, and increasing opportunities for community gardening and food growing. Changes to aspects of tree maintenance services, including health, safety and pest and disease control, are also being considered.

Councillor Meric Apak, cabinet member for Sustainability and Environment, said nearly 40 per cent of locals had ranked parks and open space as the most important thing in making Camden a good place to live.

"Although Government cuts and other social pressures mean we are having to make savings, we are committed to maintaining quality green spaces that meet the needs of everyone in the borough. We are encouraging as many people as possible to get involved in this engagement to help inform the future priorities of the service."

The survey opens today (17 September) and will close on 30 October.

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