Politicians fail to join the dots

So the department whose political masters had a hand in the axing of green-space champion CABE Space, expelled the last civil servant with responsibility for green space and put the Green Flag Awards at risk thanks to a six-month delay in issuing future tender arrangements is now keen to tell us all how important public spaces - including pocket parks - are to the liveability of our town centres.

(see Frustration as Green Flag bid call leaves industry short of time)

The irony will not be lost on green-space and landscape professionals. Not that there is anything wrong with the message of the report that has just been issued by the Department for Communities & Local Government as part of its Portas programme of support for high streets, and which highlights the "vital role trees, parks, gardens and waterways and other green spaces can play in promoting sustainable places".

We couldn't agree more. No. It's the staggering disconnect between the latest guidance that is being issued to "encourage" professionals charged with improving streets and town centres and the actions of the politicians in charge of the department issuing the guidance.

Those actions, as supporters of Horticulture Week's Make Parks a Priority campaign are all too aware, have compounded the crisis facing the green-space sector from disproportionate local authority spending cuts by creating a void at national level where there is now no body or function with a watching brief for the UK's public parks and green spaces.

Until that situation is resolved, and the severity of the crisis facing the maintenance of treasured public spaces is addressed, all the guidance in the world won't stop the decline we are facing.

Join the Make Parks a Priority campaign


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