Parks Inquiry to question local authorities, landscape and planning experts at next live sessions

Local authority politicians and officers and landscape and planning experts are the next people to give oral evidence as part of the parks inquiry, following a committee visit to Newcastle.

Newcastle's parks department lost 91 per cent of its budget since 2010/11. Image: Newcastle City Council
Newcastle's parks department lost 91 per cent of its budget since 2010/11. Image: Newcastle City Council

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for clean streets, recycling and environment, councillor Lisa Trickett, Andrew Hinchley, green space development officer at the London Borough of Camden, greenspace manager at Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, Ian Walmsley, councillor Matthew Balfour, cabinet member for environment and transport at Kent County Council will share experiences of delivering parks services across England at the next Communities and Local Government Committee oral session on Monday (14 November).

Landscape and planning experts, president of The Landscape Institute, Merrick Denton-Thompson, Julia Thrift, projects and operations director at the TCPA, Dr Katy Layton-Jones of The Gardens Trust
and James Harris, policy and networks Manager at the RTPI are also due to give evidence.

Committee members also visited Newcastle earlier this week, where a team led by Tony Durcan is investigating establishing a mutual parks trust to care for the city's parks, after the council admitted it did not expect to have any money for non-statutory services by the 2017/18 financial year. The parks budget for the city has been cut by 91 per cent since 2010/11. 

Durcan was among the speakers at the recent Future Parks conference, organised by the National Trust social sector financial advisers Social Finance and law firm Winckworth Sherwood, where an online toolkit sharing knowledge on establishing parks trusts was launched.

He said: "We felt the visit went really well. We were able to ensure that the MPs could talk to our political leadership, see a variety of parks, meet representatives of Friends’ Groups and other stakeholders, and hear about our plans."

The agenda also included meeting National Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund representatives.

Next week's oral evidence sessions are due to take place in The Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, Westminster. 

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