Community and council co-operation in parks examined by DCLG

Representatives from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have visited a London park to examine a council-community partnership in action, as the parks sector awaits the parks inquiry report.

Lordship Recreation Ground. Image: Alan Stanton/Flickr/Creative Commons
Lordship Recreation Ground. Image: Alan Stanton/Flickr/Creative Commons

Two DCLG policy officers visited Lordship Recreation Ground, in Tottenham, north London, after being invited by the Friends of Lordship Park at the end of last month. Minister for Parks, Andrew Percy was also invited but was not able to attend.

The Friends had contacted the DCLG in the light of the current Communities and Local Government Committee (CLGC) parks inquiry into the funding of parks.

They prepared a pack of documents to give to the officers, including information from many of the 20 user groups based in the park and the co-ordination and co-management body, the Lordship Rec Users Forum, strategic documents outlining the recent Lottery-funded community-led regeneration of the park, partnership history and current decision-making processes, maintenance and co-management schedules and issues that arise.

Friends chairman Dave Morris, also the chair of the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces which represents 6,000 community local groups, said: "The select committee and the DCLG are interested in various organisational models for managing parks and the visiting policy officers were particularly interested to see how our successful community/council co-management model works in practice and what are the key issues relevant to parks elsewhere."

Morris, who was among those who gave evidence at the parks inquiry, said that the visitors asked a series of questions about the model, which has been in place since 2003 but solidified from around 2010 when the park was regenerated following a successful campaign to attract £5m of funding, mainly from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Lordship Rec Users Forum, which has seen its membership mushroom in the intervening years and Haringey Council meet monthly to discuss park management issues.  

In his role as chair of the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, Morris has long campaigned for parks provision to be made a statutory service, a call backed up by more than 300,000 signatories to a 38 Degrees petition also delivered to the parks inquiry.

The CLGC’s inquiry findings are due to be published on Saturday. 


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