Poll finds public parks backing

A new poll has shown that 75 per cent of the public believe that councils should have a statutory duty to protect public parks.

The poll, orchestrated by campaign group We Own It, also highlighted how 70 per cent of the public believe that privatising parks is unacceptable.

This follows recent research by the Heritage Lottery Fund which warned that nine per cent of parks managers are considering selling off whole parks or parts of parks in the next three years.

Over 200,000 people have signed a 38 Degrees petition in support of a statutory duty for councils to protect parks. A government inquiry into the future of public parks closes on 30 September.

Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It, said: “The idea of privatising parks is hugely unpopular and it should be completely ruled out by government and councils. Public parks are precious green spaces that belong to all of us - but cuts could mean a slippery slope towards sell offs. There should be a new legal duty to protect parks for the future."

Dave Morris, chair of the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, added: "Our public green spaces are treasured and essential resources for all communities and for all sections of our communities, as underlined by the rise over the last 15 years of the inspirational movement of many thousands of local greenspace Friends Groups.

“Rather than accept the deepening underfunding crisis we call on the public to demand these vital spaces become a statutory service to ensure they are well managed and secure for current and future generations to enjoy."