Park hubs cautiously welcomed by alliance

The Parks Alliance has cautiously applauded a move by the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames to turn its parks into activity hubs (HW, 19 June).

The borough's parks maintenance budget has been cut by 27 per cent since 2007 and it has been forced to rethink its management approach to stay afloat. The Green Spaces Strategy, developed with community consultation, involves turning each park into a "destination of choice" for a specific activity - from horse riding to barbecues.

Over the next year community groups, the council and contractor Quadron will work together to decide what the destinations will be, based on the spaces' "inherent strengths". The 2016 budget will work from a zero-basis so costs can be allocated as they arise.

Sue Ireland of The Parks Alliance said Kingston should be applauded for thinking creatively about how to provide services while facing major budget pressures. "Kingston is consulting local communities before acting," she added.

"They will need to consider carefully whether this approach will impact equally on their communities and in particular whether this will further disadvantage any specific groups."

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