Bristol looks to sale of green space to fund parks strategy

Bristol City Council has drawn up plans to sell off 14.4ha of green space as part of a plan to raise £100m to fund its 20-year parks and open space strategy.

Plans to sell parks for £36m for housing development to fund improvements to “major green spaces” are sure to be controversial, said Bristol parks manager Peter Wilkinson. Bristol has started a 10-week consultation at Its draft Parks & Green Spaces Strategy covers issues including: the provision of 790 play spaces; promoting safety and tackling antisocial behaviour; maintaining formal green spaces; employing park keepers in all major parks; protecting nature reserves and natural spaces; creating dog-free spaces; encouraging community involvement; setting core standards; identifying long-term investment; and finding practical measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. Wilkinson said: “If we’re going to put forward a manifesto it has to have a bottom line. We’re trying to raise £100m over 20 years.” Around £30m will come from Section 106 agreements, while other cash will be raised from grants and reallocations. Wilkinson added: “One of the controversial aspects the consultation identifies is that there’s too much low-value open space in suburban neighbourhoods that could be used for housing or commercial development, and that money could be reinvested in our major spaces. I’ve not seen a green space strategy like this before. The public might reject it. But our research in Bristol shows levels of satisfaction lean towards quality, not quantity.” He said the 14.4ha was just one per cent of Bristol’s green space. CABE Space representative Nicole Collomb added: “[The strategy] is thorough and comprehensive. Its development over many months has incorporated a number of examples of good practice in terms of research techniques and community involvement, making it a good model for other cities and towns to use.”

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