Finding sustainable funding is biggest issue for parks

Green space managers face a major hurdle in finding funding for their parks.

Funding parks maintenance is still the biggest problem facing green-space managers, delegates at the GreenSpace: Claiming your Share conference heard last week. University of Sheffield landscape department senior lecturer Helen Woolley said at the Leeds conference that, while capital funding has benefited from lottery money input, “the big issue is a lack of sustainable funding revenue”. She added: “There is no simple answer unless you have got more money coming in directly, which I doubt will happen. You have to make sure other developments put a percentage of Section 106 money in for maintenance.” Some parks managers use innovative methods to tackle funding deficits. Chelmsford Borough Council parks services director Sue Ireland uses a council tax levy identified through parish councils to maintain green spaces. She said: “In Chelmsford, we identify maintenance costs through special expenses and charge the local community within their council tax. We then make a charge for the facility through parishes, which identify where spaces are used locally — if they have regional significance, like Hylands Park, they will not incur a charge. But if they are for local use only, people pay a precept for maintenance locally.” Harrogate Borough Council head of parks and open spaces Patrick Kilburn said: “Match funding is virtually non-existent. Revenue to run parks has always been a problem.” He is looking for capital from Section 106 planning agreements to maintain Harrogate’s parks.

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