One in six people believes local park threatened

Sixteen percent of people say their local park or green space is currently or has previously been under threat of being lost or built on, according to a new survey from Fields in Trust.

Path through park. Image: Pixabay
Path through park. Image: Pixabay

And the vast majority - 95 per cent - agree parks and play areas should be protected from development, with 82 per cent feeling so strongly they say they would be willing to campaign to stop a park from being lost.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults by Censuswide found almost half of people say using their local park helps them to feel healthier, with 70 per cent of 16-24 year olds also feeling less stressed as a result of having access to green space.  Half of respondents admitted that they would be less active if their local green space was lost.

Field in Trust released the results of the survey as it prepares to launch its Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play: Beyond the Six Acre Standard at the House of Lords on 5 November. 

Fields in Trust currently safeguards over 2,500 sites; a total of 28,000 acres of land including playgrounds, playing fields, and formal and informal parkland across the UK. As part of its work, Fields in Trust has supported practitioners since the 1930s on open space provision and design.

The latest guidance is intended to act as a tool for local planning authorities, developers, planners, urban designers and landscape architects in the planning and design of outdoor sport, play and informal open space.

Helen Griffiths, Fields in Trust chief executive, said: "These findings demonstrate to us that people really value their local green spaces, with three quarters telling us that they would feel unhappy if their local park was built on or closed tomorrow. We live in a fast-paced world and access to green space provides us all with a chance to take time-out and spend quality time being active with friends and family.

"Whilst we already protect a huge number of spaces across the country, more can be done. People often assume that their local park will always be there but this isn't necessarily the case. The first step in getting a park protected is often for local people to actively campaign for it.

"Today we are encouraging people to take the first step by visiting our website to find out if their favourite local park is safe."

Other results of Fields in Trust's survey include:

- The most regular park users are those in the North East, with one in five visiting their local open space almost daily.

- This is closely followed by Londoners, where almost a third of people use their park between one to three times a week.

- Going for walks (62 per cent), relaxing (31 per cent) and walking the dog (24 per cent) were the main reasons for people visiting their local park.

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