Government plans to give local people greater say over parks

People angry about the state of their parks will be able to take them over or force their local authorities to improve them, under new government plans.

The new White Paper aims to "deliver a fundamental shift in power, influence and responsibility", said communities secretary Hazel Blears.

Locals will have more influence on decision-making, will be able to hold politicians and councils to account, and will be given more chances to manage local services.

New rules, for example, will make councils respond to petitions and force issues onto their agendas that must be discussed and voted on in full meetings.

"This could be used to raise issues as diverse as bin collections and street cleaning or the state of local parks," said a representative.

She added that parks and community centres would be handed over to locals if they could do a better job of running them. "There's nothing to stop parks being taken over. Like any other asset transfer, it's up to the local situation."

A new asset-transfer unit would be formed in central government to help community groups in leadership and management issues.

Blears said: "In many parts of the country local democracy needs a boost, with low turnout at elections and people feeling they can't influence the way issues are decided. The White Paper provides practical ways to put communities in control and push any issue they think important up the priority list of their council."

Communities in Control: Real People, Real Power states that chairs and chief executives will face regular public hearings. "Community kitties" will let locals decide how to spend cash.

The Government gave examples of "empowerment in action", which included Kendray, a big housing estate in Barnsley, nicknamed "the Bronx". The council teamed up with residents to form a "clean-and-tidy agreement". Locals had different tasks including cleaning verges and keeping gardens clean.

The YouGov survey of almost 2,000 people in England found:

  • - 63 per cent signed a petition in the past five years;
  • - 90 per cent feel councils should take account of petitions;
  • - 84 per cent were more likely to petition if a response was guaranteed;
  • - 34 per cent don't know their council's process for submitting petitions.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Be wary of unscrupulous clients who may look for loopholes to avoid settling up at the end of a job, Alan Sargent warns.

Living walls

Living walls

The benefits of green walls make them worth investigation by all green-space professionals, says Miranda Kimberley.

Business planning - improving productivity through training

Business planning - improving productivity through training

How to create a structured training programme for your staff to give your business a competitive edge, by Neville Stein.


Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

BALI National Landscape Awards 2017

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

-Download the Digital Edition

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space
 

Read Noel Farrer