Locals take on memorial upkeep

Residents take on responsibility for mowing and clearing litter around London war memorial.

No money changing hands in two-year licence agreement
No money changing hands in two-year licence agreement

A south London council has signed a grounds maintenance agreement with residents after its decision to concrete over a war memorial garden caused an outcry.

The two-year licence, with no money changing hands, makes residents associated with the Wimbledon Society responsible for mowing the grass around the memorial, and clearing away droppings and litter.

Bin collection, paths and the memorial itself will be looked after by Merton Council, which also provides public liability insurance for the volunteers. They can withdraw from the contract by giving a month's notice. The council is in talks with residents on similar schemes at other green spaces.

Wimbledon Society chairman Asif Malik said: "Local residents are very happy to carry out the work. The council is increasingly looking to local groups to take green spaces on."

London Parks & Green Spaces Forum director Tony Leach said while there is a growing trend for councils to hand work over to residents, a formal contract is rare. "Given the right conditions it works successfully, but only in small areas," he said.

Parks and green spaces have been hit hard by Government austerity cuts since 2010 because of their discretionary status. Even the Royal Parks has seen a 36 per cent cut to its funding.

National Federation of Parks & Green Spaces campaigns officer Dave Morris said as a consequence some friends groups are "being backed into a corner" and feel they have no option but to take over.

He added: "This is a huge legal, financial and collective responsibility to take on forever. It is no solution for the vast majority of the UK's 30,000 urban parks." He called for the Government "to wake up to the crisis they are causing".


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Opinion... Image update for horticulturists

Opinion... Image update for horticulturists

Parks provide rest, relaxation and renewal. Increasing density of population in our urban areas makes these attributes ever more valuable.

What's new in amenity sector weed control?

What's new in amenity sector weed control?

Get set for this summer's Parks & Gardens Live 2019

Get set for this summer's Parks & Gardens Live 2019

Product showcase, kit demos, expert workshops and careers advice all on the schedule.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Parks & Gardens Live

Product showcase, kit demos, expert workshops and careers advice all on the schedule for gardens teams, parks managers and landscape maintenance professionals at Parks & Gardens Live 2019.

HW Custodian Awards

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Products & Kit Resources

HORTICULTURE WEEK Custodian Awards

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2018 winners.