Parks Alliance meeting with minister will proceed despite cabinet reshuffle

The Parks Alliance hopes to discuss Heritage Lottery Fund's study findings Stephen Williams.

The Parks Alliance: sector’s representative group seeking to ensure that issues are properly addressed
The Parks Alliance: sector’s representative group seeking to ensure that issues are properly addressed

A meeting with Stephen Williams - the Government minister responsible for parks - and The Parks Alliance will go ahead.

The commitment marks a step in the right direction for the alliance, when in July it had been given a "cautious yes" on meeting the minister.

But the alliance is waiting for an official date to put in its diary because the cabinet reshuffle has delayed the civil servants' response time.

Deputy chairman Sue Ireland said: "We've been promised a date but have not got one yet. We've put the agenda to the civil servants and they've said yes and promised to meet us."

Ireland added that the alliance hopes to discuss the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) report State of UK Public Parks, which was published earlier this summer.

The report warns that "parks are at serious risk of rapid decline and even being sold off and lost to the public forever" if future funding is not generated.

Ireland said: "Top of the agenda is how we are going to tackle the issue the HLF has already ably demonstrated and get different parts of the Government working together to ensure that these issues are actually properly addressed."

She added: "We're keen to play our part in tackling it because unless we all come together the matter is not going to be addressed."

Alliance representative and parks consultant Sid Sullivan said: "This (meeting) is going to take another week or so to get into the diary. We are looking forward to the meeting because it's important - especially now that the HLF report is out - that the alliance engages with Government and provides it with rigorous information.

"The meeting will be an opportunity to inform the Government that the alliance should be its first point of contact because our data is reliable, particularly as we get close to the next election."

Minister invited

The Parks Alliance has invited Government minister Stephen Williams to be the guest speaker at its IoG Saltex debate on 2 September. Sid Sullivan said: "It's the same story as the meeting - we are awaiting the minister's agreement."


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