In this update:
Parks Forum Waste Survey Summer 2021
Following the numerous comments about litter & waste in parks at our meeting in May, the Parks Forum Committee has put together a short survey to get the views of Park groups.
The survey aims to collect information from Parks groups about the litter and dog poo bin provision and collection in your park or open space as well as information about how littering and fly tipping are dealt with. This survey uses the word "park" to mean all parks and green open spaces.
It would be helpful if just one representative for each Parks Group completes this survey – BUT we would rather to have more than one response from a park, than none; so please don’t leave completing the survey to someone else in your group unless you know they are going to do it!
The survey is on Survey Monkey here - https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MTVHXPV
Please complete and submit this survey by the end of Sunday 18th July, thank you.
Your Park Bristol & Bath
It is now two years since the launch of the Bristol & Bath Parks Foundation. Covid delayed the charity’s progress, but it is now very much back on track.
On the back of a pilot project in Netham, a similar project in Bath and the wildflower planting at College Green, the charity are busy applying for more grants and are also starting to get some funds coming in from donations.
The charity has been using 'Your Park' as the branding for their activities in parks and online as it is more user friendly & memorable. Following comments and feedback received over the past few months, the charity has now decided to adopt the working name 'Your Park Bristol & Bath' in everything they do.
There will soon be a new updated Your Park website, and the charity will be running a small grants scheme to support community groups to run small projects & events in parks.
The grant programme will launch in 'Love Parks Week' which runs from 23rd July to 1st August - a 9-day week to include two weekends!
I will send out more details in future emails, so watch this space.
Parks for People – A New Report
Parks for People was a programme offered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund launched in 2006. It aimed to revitalise historic parks and cemeteries in the UK. It supported a total of 135 projects through £254million of funding.
A new report
The Parks for People report is an evaluation of the programme which provides clear evidence for the value of investing in parks. It highlights the multiple social benefits that can be achieved by investing in public parks and in the people who bring those parks to life. It can be used to support decision-making about parks investment and to support development of new practices and policy for parks management.
This is a report that everyone with an interest in parks and how they are managed should read. As well as the main report there are six case studies highlighting some of the parks around the country that the scheme has invested in.
The report highlights the benefits of investment in parks across six policy areas:
1. Improving health and wellbeing
2. Reducing isolation and loneliness
3. Increasing public participation
4. Tackling inequalities
5. Connecting people with nature
6. Growing local economies
The importance of park groups comes through very strongly.
“The case studies show the importance of inclusive local partnerships and an overarching vision that all the key groups and organisations support. These will usually involve the local authority and local residents (often in the form of a ‘friends of ’ group). But it is important to understand who else may benefit from the park and to include them in strategic thinking at the outset.”
“Volunteers are essential to the successful completion of parks projects. They are the ones
who link the project with local people and create a sense of inclusivity and ownership. But projects should not presume on volunteers’ capacity or willingness to take on work previously done by paid staff. Volunteers need to feel their skills and capacity are being built through the course of the project.”
“It is important to have continuity of staff and an on-site presence: a face for people to get to know and trust in the park.”
“Parks can bring people together across class and cultural divides, but these activities need staffing and support – they do not emerge spontaneously”
“Events need to be managed carefully and need to balance ‘everyday’ users’ needs with those of event-goers and need to generate income. There needs to be clarity about where any surplus will go to help overcome residents’ concerns about events”
“It is important to build capacity within communities and within the organisations involved in park management. The need to support local residents was evident from all the case studies”
“The challenge for local authorities is to work out how to deliver similar benefits across all their parks and not just to the small number that can successfully bid for external funding. With stretched budgets, this means taking seriously the value of parks across a range of policy goals. Parks funding needs to be integrated into decision-making within (for example) public health, social care, infrastructure and economic development”
Downs for People
As you may have seen in the press, Downs for People achieved an out of court settlement in May to prevent the Downs from being used for car parking for the Zoo or any other non-Downs activities.
Read more about the case here.
The group are now calling for a review of the Downs Committee, which was set up under the 1861 Downs Act to manage the Downs.
They have submitted a public statement to the Downs Committee meeting to be held on Monday (5th July) at 11am.
In a statement for the Committee meeting on Monday 5 July, Downs for People said:
“Observation over many years has shown that the Downs Committee is not fit for purpose. Its members do not understand its statutory remit, nor do they act in the open and accountable way expected of a public body. The Committee’s failures led to our court case about parking on the Downs. This has probably cost Bristol City Council and the Committee about £250k.
To prevent more money being squandered and to safeguard the future of the Downs, the composition and operation of the Committee require urgent review. Downs for People would like to help with this.”
Speaking for the group, Susan Carter added:
“A review of the Downs Committee is long overdue. Central Government reviews all its ‘quangos’ at frequent intervals. The Downs Committee has continued unexamined for 160 years! We have written to the leaders of the four main political groups on the City Council about this and the response so far has been encouraging.
There are examples of better management bodies elsewhere: we have suggested that the Open Spaces Society, with its national oversight, should be involved in any review, as well as a wide range of local interests.”
Bristol Future Parks
Following the disruption to the Future Parks Project due to Covid-19; Bristol City Council has been reviewing the project with the national Future Parks Accelerator Programme to agree a revised project plan.
The Council was unable to agree a way forward with the national FPA as the required scale back the FPA requested meant the programme would not reflect the ambitious ideas that Bristol put forward in the original bid.
Instead the programme will be continuing led solely by Bristol City Council. This will allow the team to deliver the aims of the project in a way in which they would have been unable to do in partnership.
The project will soon be relaunched focusing on 6 pilot sites, before being rolled out more widely incorporating any lessons learnt during the pilots.
The team expects to launch the ‘Expression of Interest’ process for the 6 sites in the autumn.
South Bristol Cemetery Expansion
There are plans to expand the South Bristol Cemetery as there is only circa 12 months of remaining capacity at South Bristol Cemetery for non-denominational burials within areas presently allocated for burials.
The expansion would be onto adjacent fields previously designated for cemetery use in the site’s 1969 planning approval. The Council wants to consult with interested groups ahead of ahead of a proposed submission of a certificate of lawful development (though it does not legally need to).
Part of the area earmarked for expansion fall within the bounds of the Colliter's Brook SNCI. The Council say “An ecological assessment has been undertaken by Wessex Ecological Consultancy and we have been liaising with internal BCC Ecologist to identify suitable ecological design proposals and mitigation measures, which we are finalising ahead of seeking further input through consultation.”
Bristol Parks Forum has been approached to find out whether we would be interested in taking part in this process. If you would like to get involved either as an individual or with your group please let us know.
Bristol Parks Forum
The minutes from the May meeting are on our website at www.bristolparksforum.org.uk/meetings/ Next meeting Sat 16th October – we will decide nearer the time whether this can be a face to face meeting or whether it will be on zoom.