COUNCIL ELECTIONS 3rd May 2018

Council elections in May: Safeguard our green spaces!

Council elections are being held in May. Haringey and Hounslow Friends of Parks Forums have called for all local parties and candidates to commit to effective long-term action to protect and improve their borough’s public green spaces, Why not do the same in your borough?

 

Haringey Friends of Parks Forum calls for all local political party election manifestos to back our parks 

This is the email we sent to all parties:

Please include in your Manifesto

SUPPORT FOR HARINGEY’S PARKS

Summary sentence: We will commit to supporting Haringey’s parks and public green spaces which we acknowledge to be essential facilities for all neighbourhoods and all sections of our local communities. We will protect all our recognised and designated sites for all time by increasing the number of ‘in perpetuity’ legal covenants with Fields In Trust from the existing 8 to 50. And we will ensure that such sites have the levels of staffing, maintenance and investment needed to achieve ‘Green Flag’ award status. We will fully back our dedicated Parks Service, and ensure they get the level of long-term funding and resources they need. We will continue the close partnership with the borough’s Friends Groups and the Haringey Friends of Parks Forum.

More detail

Adequate and long term revenue funding for our in house Parks Service. All relevant depts/sources to contribute appropriate percentage of funds direct to Parks Service (eg Highways, Waste Collection, Planning).
On-site staffing in all substantial green spaces (return to 2008 ‘parkforce’ LBH policy), and effective levels of ‘backroom’ staffing.
Goal is to maintain and improve standards for all designated / protected spaces to at least Green Flag status.
Ongoing capital investment eg capital pots, CIL, NHS and Public Health, taxation (eg a Haringey precept), lobby for a London-wide precept and for UK Govt to declare parks management a statutory service backed by Government funding. Match funding (eg for Haringey’s Lottery-funded sites) to come out of wider capital pots not parks budget.
Effective protection for all public sites, with all designated / protected spaces to be put into Fields In Trust covenanting scheme (joining the 8 so far)
Community Involvement and empowerment: taking on board Friends Groups’ views for each site, and those of the Haringey Friends of Parks Forum as the key long-term strategic partner

Parks and Open spaces: What any Party Manifesto for Hounslow Borough needs to include

The Hounslow Friends Forum is a unique collection of advocates for local parks. Across the Borough, often in any weather, members of Friends groups are on the ground making a difference. We are all passionate about our parks and green spaces. Our collective experience across Hounslow have led us to identify the following principles and priorities that we invite all parties to adopt:

  1. Protect Parks and open spaces
  • All parks and open spaces are safeguarded from loss or unwanted development.
  • All decisions affecting parks or open spaces are decided locally, with residents and Area Forum given the opportunity to shape and make decisions.
  • Parks and green spaces are managed to best practice standards.
  • Ecology, habitats and green networks of open spaces and river corridors are enhanced in line with the All London Green Grid
  1. Ensure everyone can enjoy high quality parks andopen spaces
  • Safe and pleasant places – litter is cleared promptly, repairs are carried out, antisocial behaviour dealt with promptly, in co-ordination with relevant agencies.
  • Healthy places – sports facilities, conservation volunteering activities
  • Accessible places– with signage, paths, and walking and cycling routes, safe crossings, public transport services and car parks where appropriate.
  • Designed for the whole community – for all ages, including playgrounds, facilities for teenagers and places to rest and meet others.
  1. Sustainably fund parks and open spaces
  • Commit adequate long-term resources for management, maintenance (including repair) and improvements
  • Any savings are made through genuine efficiency improvements, including ‘investing to save’ (e.g. providing more or bigger bins, so bins need emptying less regularly). If grass is allowed to grow long (potentially with environmental benefits), adequate areas (e.g. near entrances or by homes) are cut and maintained for people to exercise and play.
  • A percentage of the revenue generated in parks (from events, parking etc.) to be re-invested
  • Invest in strategic projects to protect heritage, connect open spaces and create new routes – providing initial funding or match funding to leverage external sources
  1. Involve the local community
  • Support the establishment of new Friends groups for parks and open spaces(targeting support for areas which currently lack these)
  • Support volunteer activities, such as clear ups and conservation days (sometimes known as ‘Green gyms’) to improve areas
  • Support for greater devolved management of parks where Friends groups have the capacity to take this on.

Outcomes:

  1. No net loss of parkland or open space
  2. A Green Flag park in every Ward.
  3. Condition of parks improves – amount of broken, damaged or overgrown amenity features reduces.
  4. Increased number of community-led activities in parks – e.g. clear ups, events

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