Local authorities are set to receive an additional £13 million worth of funding to improve their parks and green spaces, in what has been hailed as a boost for the housing market overall.
Indeed, the move has been welcomed by the National Federation of Builders (FMB), who say that buyers will be attracted to areas with nicer and better maintained open spaces. These sentiments have been echoed by Housing Secretary James Brokenshire, who agrees that this is a positive step forward.
Of the new funding, some £9.7 million is to be made available for day to day maintenance and the creation of new spaces, while a further £2.75 million has been set aside for the pocket parks plus programme.
In addition, the National Trust and the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Future Parks Accelerator initiative – a partnership that supports local authorities to test new and innovative approaches to managing and funding parks, ensuring the benefits of public parks and green spaces are enjoyed by future generations – will receive an injection of £1.2 million.
According to the NFB, it is becoming increasingly essential for developers to place green spaces at the heart of new communities, as this has a positive environmental and societal impact, and residents want to see investment in green spaces.
‘New and well maintained open spaces can encourage development by reassuring local people that new homes do not mean a loss of quality green and open space. Strategic green spaces are at the heart of our communities and we welcome every effort to make sure they remain there,’ said Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB.
Brokenshire also says that the creation of communities in which people are able to benefit from parks and green spaces is something the government is committed to providing as part of it’s long term housing strategy.
‘Our parks and green spaces are huge assets to our towns and cities, offering precious spaces for all of us to get together, to exercise and to play. This latest funding will support bold proposals to help renovate and restore existing parks and create new vibrant, safe green spaces for our communities,’ he said.
‘The future of our nation’s parks is an issue close to all our hearts and we will do all we can to preserve these vital green lungs that breathe life into our communities,’ he pointed out.
He added that the government is also promoting initiatives – such as the £1 million pocket parks fund – to encourage people to make the most of local green spaces, and to transform disused sites into open and safe recreational spaces.
Meanwhile, thanks to a recent licence extension, people responsible for creating and maintaining Britain’s best parks and green spaces will continue to be recognised through the Green Flag Awards.
Brokenshire has also confirmed that Parks Action Group will continue to receive government support. The group represents leaders from across the parks sector and helps them to ensure that current and future generations can continue to access safe, high quality and local parks.