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GOVERNMENT PLANS EARLY RESPONSE TO TOWN PARKS REPORT

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By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley ...
By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley

The government intends to publish its response to the final report of the urban green spaces task force published this week, entitled Green Spaces, Better Places - in July.

Planning minister Lord Falconer told peers that if the quality of parks and green spaces was improved, more people - young and old - would use them. That was at the heart of the task force reportand of the current review of public space withinin the comprehensive spending review.

'That is achieved by focusing on who is responsible for keeping them in proper condition and making them much more accessible to young and old alike. That is the process in which we are engaged', added the minister.

Liberal Democrat Lord Greaves said a vital part of the report was that during the next five years a capital contribution of£0.5bn would be required.

'In the government's response to the report, will they not only agree to find ways of contributing that money, but also find ways to reverse the catastrophic decline in revenue spending on parks which has taken place over most of the past 50 years in the face of dramatic cuts in, and pressure on, local government spending?', he asked.

Lord Falconer said the report also called for partnership agreements to improve delivery and maintenance - but he could not indicate what the government response might be.

He also agreed with Liberal Democrat frontbencher Baroness Hamwee that planning gain was a useful way of ensuring funds were available for parks maintenance in certain cases.

'Just as important is the design of public buildings and public parks because that contributes hugely to the quality of the parks and the ability to maintain them', he added.

Hansard 9 May 2002: Column 1262-1264

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