Lottery puts parks at centre of agenda

Parks will have a fundamental part to play in the Heritage Lottery Fund’s aims for the next five years.

Presented last week by HLF chairwoman Liz Forgan, the HLF’s strategic plan Broadening the Horizons of Heritage covers the period 2002–2007. Among the points included in the report is the need for £1 billion to restore historic public parks. At the presentation Forgan stressed the importance of parks to the fund’s plans. She said: “The new word in the strategic plan is ‘involvement’.” Forgan explained the HLF’s four aims in the report. These are: To encourage more people to be involved in and make decisions about their heritage. To conserve and enhance the UK’s diverse heritage by helping to secure the long-term future of sites important to the UK’s heritage. To ensure that everyone can learn about and have access to and enjoy their heritage by helping to make heritage resources and sites accessible to the widest possible public. To achieve a more equitable distribution of grants across the UK by encouraging applicants in communities and parts of the country that have received little or no benefit from the Heritage Lottery Fund. HLF director Anthea Case said she agreed with the Urban Green Spaces Taskforce report, Green Spaces, Better Places, that parks require more cash. Case added: “We will go on supporting urban parks with a heritage element. Over the past three years we have given approximately £30 million a year to parks. It depends on the local authority coming to us with decent schemes.” The HLF’s Urban Parks Programme is now known as the Public Parks Initiative and 25-35 projects a year are hoped to received support through this initiative. It aims “to promote heritage conservation as an integral part of urban and rural regeneration to open up heritage resources and sites to the widest possible audience”. The plan states: “This rebranded initiative assists the restoration and regeneration of historic parks and gardens wherever they are, including urban squares and cemeteries.”

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