Industry reactions to Improvement and Development Agency's plants for volunteer model for parks

Parks consultant Sid Sullivan: "'Functions seen as non essential,' it starts. Seen by whom? Who says parks are non-essential? The evidence provided by CABE Space and others proves that they are essential and integral to society's well-being and environmental stability. In my view, it is at that point that the thread of the argument is lost. As for the National Trust, a cursory look at its accounts would reveal a considerable financial base."

GreenSpace business development manager Dave Tibbatts: "The catalyst for the 'big society' idea has been the recession but the impact on individuals means we're all trying to impress our employers by working longer and harder and that's not a climate that produces volunteers. There is also a large cost in money, staff and time managing and maintaining volunteers. Then there is risk and litigation. Councils are limited in how far they can let volunteers go."

Parks consultant Alan Barber: "We have too little appreciation of the asset value of parks and the value of the benefits they provide. CABE is trying its best to remedy this and is also studying asset transfer guidance. Please also remember that however much ownership is split with a town or city, the green infrastructure is a single entity and needs some overview - again an argument for the authority-wide approach."

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