White Paper is opportunity to strengthen parks policy

White paper can help parks regain importance in community, Parks minister believes.

Parks minister Baroness Andrews has urged parks managers to make sure green spaces are at the forefront of a Government White Paper designed to empower citizens and help strengthen communities. Speaking at GreenSpace’s Parks For People conference last week, Andrews said the Strong and Prosperous Communities White Paper, published last October, provided an opportunity for parks to be placed at the centre of local authority policy. She said councils’ green space policies could be strengthened by connecting plans to broader policies such as environment, health, safety, wellness and education. Andrews added that it was clear that parks mattered to people and could be used to unite a community. “I’ve seen the way saving a park can galvanise communities in a way other issues can’t. “There is a real opportunity for the White Paper to give power back to people and local authority. It will give local people a great voice in saying what they want. It will also give local people a new route to voice concerns.” Parks and green spaces policy manager Louise Enticknap said the White Paper would give local authorities a stronger role in leading their communities, shaping their areas and bringing local public services together. She added that the parks sector had an opportunity to make green spaces an important element of how council services were delivered, and parks managers needed to work out ways to connect parks to various targets, such as health and environment issues, and use parks to achieve those targets.

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