Agenda item

Parks and Open Spaces Strategy

To consider the draft Parks and Open Spaces Strategy and make any comments for recommendation to Cabinet.


The Environment Portfolio Holder introduced a report informing Members that the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy 2019-2019 was a ten year document which had been developed to provide a direction for the management and development of the Council’s parks and open spaces.


The Principal Community Spaces Officer, together with the Green Spaces Officer, presented the report.  The District’s parks and open spaces were critical elements of its green infrastructure network which delivered benefits in terms of meeting recreation needs, delivering health and well-being benefits for all ages, reducing pollution, encouraging social interaction, creating biodiversity networks and creating opportunities for active travel.  Parks and open spaces were also fundamental to the character of the Council’s places and the quality of life it offered to existing and future residents.


The vision for SLDC’s parks and open spaces was, “working together to create valued and sustainable parks and open spaces in South Lakeland.”


To deliver the vision, the following four key themes had been identified:-


·        Health and Wellbeing – opportunities for healthier lifestyles, to improve mental health, reduce health inequality and supporting physical activity;

·        Economy – Enabling and delivering opportunities for sustainable economic growth and investment in parks and open spaces;

·        Community – providing high quality parks where people meet, communities thrive and volunteer; and

·        Environment – protecting and enhancing our place.


The Strategy provided clear direction of the day to day maintenance activities completed by Continental Landscapes Limited, through the Grounds Maintenance Partnership.  It also identified areas to work closely with the Council’s communities, partner organisations and local businesses to improve and enhance its spaces.


The Strategy also identified the types of spaces, items it related to which included; trees and woodlands, cemeteries, playgrounds, sports pitches and parks.


The delivery of the Strategy was supported by a number of parks and woodland management plans, the Play Audit and the action plan which formed part of the strategy document.


The Strategy also identified the continued requirement to maximise the resources available to deliver day to day maintenance, close working with communities and partners to deliver developments and to obtain best value from all resources available to the management of the Council’s parks and open spaces.


Details in relation to consultation which had been carried out were included within the report.


Concern was raised with regard to parishes having to maintain their own play areas and a question raised as to what the District Council could do to assist.  The Environment Portfolio Holder indicated that both she and the Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder were willing to visit parishes.  The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder explained that the District Council collaborated and carried out safety inspections for parishes.  He reminded Members that the Council was open to communities seeking funding to enhance proposals through Locally Important Project grants and work to identify sources of funding.  Furthermore, he pointed out that communities were seeing money coming in through the Community Infrastructure Levy.  He looked to Members to maintain a connection between local councils and the District Council.


Concern was raised regarding cemeteries in Ulverston and the impact of the working hours of the contractors on timely burials in accordance with some religious faiths.  The Chief Executive explained that the hours worked had been arranged in order to address health and safety issues.


The Director of Customer and Commercial Services provided clarification with regard to dogs in the District Council’s open spaces, advising that full details were available on the Council’s Website.


Reference was made to play areas from which parish councils had stepped back due to the cost of public liability and insurance and which were instead being run by charitable organisations.   It was suggested that these organisations might be excluded from grant funding and queried as to how the District Council could assist.  The Principal Community Spaces Officer explained that the District Council offered advice and support on how to obtain grant funding and on day to day management and that she had seen charitable organisations succeed.


RESOLVED – That Cabinet be recommended to approve the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy 2019-2029.


Note – The Committee adjourned for lunch at 1.00 p.m. and reconvened at 2.00 p.m.

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