As a Council we face huge financial challenges. The Government has cut our funding by over 56% since 2010 and this has meant that the parks budget has reduced.
However, our priority has been to manage this challenge in a way that minimises the impact on parks users. We have cut back office costs, brought the maintenance service in-house and introduced a ‘Parks Investment Levy’ so that the proceeds from major events can be reinvested in our parks.
All this while we receive Green Flag park status across twelve of our parks in Lambeth – including Brockwell Park – meaning that they are officially ranked amongst the very best in the country.
We have also looked at opportunities for augmenting the reduced budget by earning more from the parks’ assets, such as introducing licensing for fitness trainers or professional dog walkers.
We are confident that the vast majority of residents won’t have noticed any difference in their local park – and we want to keep it that way. The council works very closely with Friends of Parks groups and together a new Parks Charter is being drawn up. This will set out and define the partnership between Lambeth and the Lambeth Parks Forum (the representative body of park users) and will cover things like oversight of the budget, maintenance, consultation on nearby planning applications and how any available money (Section 106 or CIL) will be spent. It will also create a forum where users can propose initiatives, express concerns and receive regular feedback on the management of parks.
Finally, on a very positive note, in January 2015 Lambeth’s Cabinet approved a “Parks Capital Investment Programme”, paving the way for over £20m of investment up to 2019. Around £11m of this will come from Lambeth and the remainder from external sources such as the Heritage Lottery. We are determined to see our parks protected so future generations can continue to enjoy them.
You can find more details on our website: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/pts-draft-parks-capital-investment-plan-2014.pdf