Newcastle launches parks consultation

Newcastle City Council has invited the views of its residents about the city’s principal, countryside and neighbourhood parks and greenspaces.

Over the past seven-years Newcastle has seen its parks’ budget reduced by over 90 per cent, meaning that finding new ways of financing the city’s parks and greenspaces is essential.

Among the proposals and possibilities which the council wishes to gauge public opinion on is the prospect of transferring the operation, delivery and maintenance of a large proportion of the city’s parks and greenspaces to a Charitable Trust, which would be a nationwide first.

If implemented, the charitable trust would manage approximately 35 parks across the city, as well as more than 50 hectares of allotment land, exploring how to best use the current facilities, spaces and buildings to increase revenue and public enjoyment.

Councillor Kim McGuinness, said: “This is a positive and exciting new journey for Newcastle's parks and sees us lead the way nationally in trying to find a solution and develop the best possible response to the enforced government budget cuts that are threatening the deterioration and even closure of some council parks up and down the country.

“Creating a charitable trust to manage our parks and giving them independence from the council gives them the freedom to explore alternative funding sources to help progress the sites for years to come. Also, within the proposed model, any profit made within our parks can be ploughed directly back into our parks.”

Harry Bowell, National Trust Director of the North, added: “Over the past two years the National Trust and partners have been exploring new ways that others can manage and fund public parks that protect - and enhance - the fundamental benefits they provide to millions of people.

“The ‘Parks Trust’ model has great potential to deliver a huge range of health, economic and environmental benefits. We are excited to be working alongside Newcastle City Council as they seek to secure a sustainable future for its wonderful parks and green spaces through a newly created, independent Parks Trust.”

The council’s parks and greenspace engagement programme will start on 13 February and run through until 21 April.

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