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NEW VISION FOR FUTURE OF PARKS AND GREEN SPACES

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Their message is a simple one - the time for a renaissance of parks ...
Their message is a simple one - the time for a renaissance of parks

and urban green spaces is now. Today the urban green spaces

taskforce, a body set up to advise the government on improving the

quality of our urban parks, play areas and green spaces, presented

their report to regeneration minister Sally Keeble.

The report, 'Green Spaces, Better Places' , proposes a number of

options for ensuring that this renaissance takes place. Its main

recommendations include a new national agency for urban parks and

green spaces to issue advice, improve co-ordination and look at new

funding mechanisms and£100m in capital funding per year for

each of the next five years;

The minister with responsibility for parks and green spaces, Sally

Keeble welcomed the report, saying:

'This report fills a chronic vacuum - we now have the first major

government inquiry into parks and green spaces for 50 years. We will

take its findings very seriously, putting this issue where it belongs

- right at the heart of government policy.

'Quality parks and open spaces are fundamental to making towns and

cities better places to live - they should offer something to the

whole community. A place to play, a place to exercise, somewhere to

meet and relax.

'The taskforce has started the ball rolling with this report and I

thank them for their hard work. I am now keen to ensure that this

momentum continues.'

The minister therefore proposed a number of immediate actions the

government would be taking:

- A steering committee within DTLR to continue the work of the

taskforce;

- A bursary scheme to fund 'enablers' to work with certain local

authorities, voluntary and private sector organisations to develop

local strategies for improving green space;

- A further six demonstration projects around the country to

spread good practice and improve the provision of green spaces for

children and young people.

The minister also announced the forthcoming release of a CD-ROM aimed

specifically at children. The disc is part-game, part-questionnaire

and gives the chance for young people to register with the government

what they see as important about their local green space.

* see LGCnetfor reaction from the urban parks forum.

Notes

1. The urban green spaces taskforce was set up in January 2001 to

advise the government on improving the quality of our urban parks,

play areas and green spaces. Chaired by Sally Keeble, the other

members of the taskforce are: Alan Barber, Institute of Leisure and

Amenity Management; Councillor Raj Chandarana,

Croydon LBC; Councillor Brenda Clarke, Birmingham City Council; Michael

Dunton, Tesco; Clifford Davey, British Trust for Conservation

Volunteers; Philippa Drew, DCMS; Gilly Drummond, Association of

Garden Trusts; Stephen Dunmore, New Opportunities Fund; Tim Gale,

Landscape Institute; Jackie Hall, NSPCC; Lorraine Hart, Environment

Trust; Tony Hawkhead, Groundwork UK; John Newton, Turfsoil Ltd;

Mukund Patel, DfES; Eileen Thomas, RTPI; Judy Ling Wong, Black

Environment Network; Ken Worpole, writer and environmentalist, David

Payne, Sport England.

2. The government will publish a policy response document to the

taskforce report later this summer.

3. The CD-ROM, 'The Green Street Gang find Max', is available from

Friday 17 May from Green Street Gang, Freepost, PO Box 2002, Burgess

Hill, West Sussex. RH15 8BR. Fax - 01444 246620, email:

greenstreetgang@accelerated-mail.co.uk

4. The demonstration projects will be located across the country -

Torquay, Winsford in Cheshire, Burnley, Scarborough, Stockport and

Tipton in the West Midlands.

5. The minister also took the opportunity to announce a new award to

celebrate high quality voluntary and community-managed green spaces.

The Green Pennant Award will be managed by the Civic Trust and will

run alongside the well- established framework of the Green Flag

Awards.

6. The Children's Play Council (CPC) also launch a guide today:

'More than Swings and Roundabouts: Planning for outdoor play' at the

press conference. This comprehensive guide is aimed at helping local

people to create sustainable, exciting and attractive places to play.

The guide moves step-by-step through the process of creating and

improving outdoor play and includes a comprehensive checklist to help

make the process easier. Also contained in the guide is a list of

useful organisations and resources. More than Swings and Roundabouts

is available through NCB Book Sales by calling 020 7843 6029. A summary will shortly be available on LGCnet.

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