Bristol chiefs meet on park plan

An £87m deal to improve Bristol's parks is expected to get the go ahead in a controversial trade-off that will see green spaces sold to raise a third of the cash needed.

Local authority chiefs were due to meet today (10 January) to approve Bristol's Parks and Green Space Strategy. The 20-year initiative is aimed at improving green areas, play zones, wildlife and sports areas. It will also pay for more park keepers.

The council aims to raise the cash through grants and reallocating money. The plan includes a scheme to sell over 14ha of parks to housebuilders to raise £36m (HW, 9 August 2007).

Local councillor Rosalie Walker insisted the strategy was "hugely important" for the city and its success was "crucial".

"By adopting this strategy we are looking to the future with an eye on core policy areas such as sustainable communities, public health, young people's play and economic regeneration," she said.

A representative for the council said that a strategy-delivery team will look at which spaces in the city were "surplus to requirements".

She said: "We carried out a huge consultation and though we don't expect to come out of this unscathed in terms of controversy, people understand the importance of parks, the value of land and the need for finance."

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