Mark Camley to chair The Parks Alliance

New body to champion the UK's public parks and their stakeholders appoints its first chair.

Mark Camley aims to improve park quality - image: HW
Mark Camley aims to improve park quality - image: HW

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park park operations and venues executive director Mark Camley is to be the first chair of the Parks Alliance, formed to provide a single, unified voice for the UK's green-space organisations and stakeholders.

The Parks Alliance, which held its first board meeting on 9 August, seeks to champion parks, making the case for their protection and sustainable investment in them, in the face of growing concerns over the impact of cuts to local authority parks budgets.

The establishment of the Parks Alliance follows two Parks Leadership Round Tables, hosted earlier this year by Horticulture Week, which brought together nearly 40 key sector executives from across the UK to discuss how best to tackle the challenges facing the sector.

Camley said: "The Parks Alliance aims to raise awareness of the crucial role parks play in the lives of people across the UK.

"We want to highlight the benefits parks bring to communities, as well as helping to raise the quality of parks overall."

As well as appointing a chairman and investigating funding and communications issues, the first meeting of the Parks Alliance board agreed to write to the Prime Minister to ascertain with whom the Parks Alliance should liaise at Government level in the absence of a minister for parks or indeed a civil service function with responsibility for parks.

The board also agreed to write to the chair of the local government select committee backing industry calls for an urgent inquiry into the challenges facing parks.

A total of 43 MPs signed an Early Day Motion during the last parliamentary session supporting the initiative.

The meeting opened with a tribute to co-sponsor of the Parks Alliance Nick Reeves, who died earlier this summer.

A meeting of the wider membership of the Parks Alliance will take place in September at the IoG Saltex trade show and exhibition.

Also in attendance at the board meeting were Horticulture Week editor Kate Lowe; Andrew Gill  from the Institute of Horticulture; ?Geoff Webb, chief executive, Institute of Groundsmanship, Clive Ivill, managing director, Quadron; Nigel Thorne, International Federation of Landscape Architects; Dr Sid Sullivan; Bob Ivison; observer Laura Grant from the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. BALI's Wayne Grills was unable to attend.

Parks Alliance role

The newly formed Parks Alliance will be a single, unified voice for the UK's green-space organisations and stakeholders. It aims to champion public parks across the UK, filling in a voice that is currently missing.


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