Liverpool’s green spaces could be maintained and preserved by a Parks Trust in the future if new recommendations are carried forward.
The move, which would ‘free the open spaces from financial constraints the city council faces’, has been suggested in a report by the Strategic Green and Open Spaces Review Board.
The board, chaired by actor, TV presenter and environmentalist Simon O’Brien, was set up by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson to investigate alternative funding arrangements for the 1,253 sites around Liverpool.
The findings suggest that clusters, each containing a large park and other green spaces, could be established under a single Charitable Federal Parks Trust, meanwhile any funds generated by the parks should are recommended to be ring-fenced for future maintenance.
Other suggestions put forward in the report call on the city council to create ‘A Forest School for Every School’, starting with the newly created public woodland at Woolton Woods being developed as a Forest School, the creation of a ‘Green and Open Spaces Ambassadors Programme’ and making more effective links between green and open spaces and improving the health of the city’s population.
Simon O’Brien says: “This unique, independent review will, I sincerely hope, help the city of Liverpool continue to maintain and enhance its incredible unbuilt environment.
“It has been drawn up with three questions constantly running through my mind. How do we look after our precious green spaces as central government ruthlessly slashes local council budgets? How do we better protect our public parks and wild areas? How do we better use these amazing places in the future?
“I hope the final report is not the end but the start of a journey which can answer these questions. This is not a local issue, this is a subject of national importance and Liverpool can, as it has so many times in the past, lead the way on into the 21st Century.”
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson adds: “The review sets out a number of possibilities including exploring the Parks Trust model. It is a very interesting option to meet the challenge how our parks and green spaces can not only be maintained but improved and it is a proposal we will actively consider.
“The interim report contained many interesting ideas and we have already taken forward some of the proposals. For example, we are using £1m of funding from developers to invest in refurbishment and provision of play areas, we have launched a new Environmental Initiative Fund and identified a site for a new park in Kirkdale.
“Now we have this final report which is the first major report of my second term of office and we will look to see how the council can take its findings forward over the next four years.”