Funding bid could help city’s parks and open spaces to continue to bloom

Nottingham City Council will find out by the end of May whether a bid for over £1m to develop the city’s parks has been successful.

The potential funding will come through the Future Parks Accelerator (FPA) which is a new national initiative to enable up to eight places to develop, secure, and enhance the future of public parks and green spaces in the UK.

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and National Trust (NT) have teamed up to create the FPA with £10m of resource to back the ambitions and plans of the selected places and help make them a reality.

After being one of only 11 applications shortlisted to go through to stage two, Nottingham submitted a full application on 18 January 2019.

The grant will be used to develop a new 25 year Green Space Strategy, involving a range of specialists including architects, legal experts, business and financial advisors and a team to create a volunteer strategy for the area.

The Arboretum

The project will start with a full audit and quality assessment of all existing parks and green spaces, allotments, sports facilities, cemeteries and amenity spaces. There will be a great deal of pubic consultation, workshops and strategy development working groups and community engagement forums. There will also be many opportunities created through working with other authorities and benefiting from the experiences of the HLF and National Trust.

Business plans will be explored for a range of key commercial development opportunities as well as options for visitor attraction development opportunities.

Cllr Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Localities said: “Our parks have become very popular, well-used local facilities. They are visitor attractions in their own right. People come to play sport, engage with nature, attend events or simply to meet friends and enjoy a walk.

“Nationally, parks and green space services are facing huge financial challenges. We are fortunate that Nottingham has bucked the national trend by attracting funding from external sources and commercial activities to allow significant levels of investment. However, in the future, we are going to need some help to continue developing this very important service for the city and this funding is vital to allow our parks and open spaces to continue to flourish.”

Notes to Editors
As a result of investment over the past ten years, Nottingham City Council now holds more Green Flag Awards than any other council in the country whilst the parks team have also received national recognition as a leading parks and green space service.

Many of the city’s parks have received investments from many external funding agencies such as the HLF, Sport England, Football Foundation, Wren, DCLG and many others, as well as contributions from the council. This funding has helped transform and restore parks’ infrastructure, replaced over 83 play areas and has enabled the service to activate the parks and improve and sustain maintenance standards.

The challenge of the ongoing budget reductions places extreme pressure on front line service delivery. It is in this context and the likelihood of future continued budget reductions that action is needed to accelerate and identify new ways to generate more commercial income and new ways of working to sustain our investment programme and ensure that maintenance standards do not start to fall.

Nottingham’s parks are major property assets and the Future Parks Accelerator Funding Bid allows the council to build on the successes of the past and to realise new initiatives and projects in accordance with the Corporate Asset Management Plan and in line with the adopted ‘Breathing Space’ strategy.

The FPA project will enable the Public Realm and Heritage teams to explore new ways of working and supporting the local community to help sustain and improve service delivery.

A key factor in encouraging more people to be active is to have safe clean, well maintained and accessible parks and green spaces. This project will help to identify opportunities to develop and improve local parks and green space facilities and deliver a wide range of events and activities for people to engage in positive healthy lifestyle activities. The project will help deliver the Nottingham Health and Well-Being strategy action plan.

https://www.hlf.org.uk/about-us/news-features/hlf-and-national-trust-join-forces-improve-parks

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