Eagerly-awaited parks inquiry report to be published this weekend

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee will publish its report, Public Parks: Securing a Sustainable Future on Saturday 11 February.

In July 2016, the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee launched the inquiry into public parks to examine the impact of reduced local authority parks budgets and consider concerns that their existence is under threat.

Parks minister Andrew Percy spoke at the last sitting of the inquiry in December before the report was written.

He pledged to set up a cross-Government group of policymakers and stakeholders to look at the recommendations of the inquiry.

Committee Membership is Clive Betts (Chair, Lab), Rushanara Ali (Lab), Bob Blackman (Con), Helen Hayes (Lab), Kevin Hollinrake (Con), Julian Knight (Con), David Mackintosh (Con), Melanie Onn (Lab), Mr Mark Prisk (Con), Mary Robinson (Con), Alison Thewliss (SNP).

Last month, new chairman of The Parks Alliance Matthew Bradbury who has taken the helm of the group formed to stand up for parks, said the alliance was well-placed to form the "national centre of excellence" called for by several witnesses to the inquiry.

"We await the outcome of the inquiry with great interest. I'm anxious to meet with (minister responsible for parks) Andrew Percy to look at what that might mean and how we can support the Department for Communities & Local Government in that process," he told Horticulture Week.

"There are many talented past parks managers in the industry who could play a senior role or roles," he added.

"We could be the hub but we could also be a partner to Government depending on the model that they want to put in place," he says, stressing a key priority is to ensure the alliance is at the forefront of pushing for adoption of any positive recommendations that form part of the committee's inquiry report due out within the next few weeks.

"The general public are much more aware of issues than they have been because of austerity. We hope that we will be able to position the alliance in terms of supporting the Government in what its plans are."


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