A step forward for parks

While it is disappointing not to have seen an inquiry begun into the funding crisis facing public parks before the end of the current Government's term of office, the decision of the outgoing members of the communities and local government committee to recommend a parks inquiry to their successors is, nevertheless, a very significant step forward.

Firstly, we now have, as a matter of public record, recognition from this powerful parliamentary body of the need for Westminster to properly examine the very great risks facing public parks - a job that has not been done since the hugely influential 1999 town and country parks inquiry conducted by the House of Commons environment, transport and regional affairs committee.

Secondly, the recommendation marks the success of the strategy to unite professional bodies concerned with public parks through the cross-sector Parks Alliance - a body formed at a groundbreaking parks leadership event hosted by Horticulture Week and sparked by our Make Parks a Priority campaign.

The select committee makes it clear that a submission from The Parks Alliance influenced its decision to include a recommendation for a parks inquiry. Now we need to do everything in our power to ensure that those who take up membership of the new select committee act on the recommendation of their forerunners.

With the very latest Association for Public Service Excellence figures showing one in five parks managers anticipating further budget cuts of between 20 and 50 per cent, a parks inquiry cannot come a moment too soon. Everyone concerned with the UK's urban green spaces must now support the efforts of The Parks Alliance to make that inquiry happen.

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