Sefton Council has moved to clarify its position regarding the future of the boroughs parks as it looks to reshape its greenspaces in the face of further budget cuts.
As part of the ongoing evolution of the how the council manage its parks and greenspaces, a brand new draft strategy has been created. The document, which outlines a vision for all of the sites across the borough and how resources will be used moving forward, was set to be put forward for consultation but has been deferred for further consideration.
If agreed, one of the main proposed changes will see 28 parks within the borough assigned as ‘main’ sites, meaning they are within around a 1 mile walk of all local urban communities. Acting as the focal point of the areas greenspace offering, these parks will have facilities equal to, if not better, than they have currently.
The remaining sites will continue to provide good quality open spaces for the community but will see some changes in how they are managed and maintained. This may include the introduction of long grass and meadow areas, the redesign of other horticultural and park features, and rethinking sport and play facilities.
While the document outlines some potential ideas, no specifics are discussed as Sefton Council hopes to explore opportunities and alternative approaches before any changes are made. This will give local communities, partners and volunteering groups the chance to propose ways in which they can help maintain their local parks and assets.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “This draft strategy is not about ripping out children’s play areas, which is definitely not the case, but looking at how we better manage our parks and greenspaces in face of further cuts
“As a draft document we are keen to hear the thoughts and opinions of all of our residents, as our main objective is ensuring that everybody has access to great outdoor facilities.
“Nothing has been agreed yet but the proposed changes will also provide greater opportunities for our volunteer groups, who already do such a fantastic job across the borough. In the last 5 years we have seen an 1100% increase in the number of volunteers working alongside our Parks and Greenspaces team and this is something I believe we can be very proud of.
“Unfortunately recent reports have focussed on certain elements out of context and I understand that this has caused some distress amongst local residents. However, once the document eventually goes out for consultation, I would ask everyone to take the time to offer their thoughts on how we manage our service.”
Sefton Council is having to find a further £64m worth of savings between 2017/2020 and is looking at how it provides numerous services across the borough.
A new consultation date and further information will be available soon.
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