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Funding of Parks


New ways of running Cardiff parks are to be considered by the Cabinet later this month following an in-depth scrutiny inquiry.

Members will have the opportunity to hear recommendations from an inquiry into how our award winning Parks and Green Spaces can continue to be improved and delivered, during a time where the Council faces £91 million savings over the next three years. 

Key findings from the report include:

-         Parks enable residents and visitors to connect with nature which is important to mental health and wellbeing; this is even more important in urban environments where connection to nature is typically low.

-         Several Cardiff Parks and Green Spaces contain protected wildlife species.

-         A recent Cardiff Civic Society survey found respondents rated parks as the most important element affecting their quality of life.

-         The 2017 Ask Cardiff survey found that parks and open spaces in Cardiff scored the highest levels of satisfaction.

-         Parks Services have reduced costs by 24% over the last four years and have increased income by 18.6%.

-         Partnership working between dedicated Parks staff, Friends Groups, wildlife organisations and sports pitch users is essential in improving the future security of funding for Parks and Green Spaces in Cardiff.

Income generating schemes with notable success have included events taking place at Bute Park, the Council nursery which has increased overall plant sales and has won the contracts to produce floral displays, increased visitor numbers to Roath Park conservatory, and income raised from the grounds maintenance and the arboriculture teams.

Further recommendations set out by the committee include:

-         A clear vision statement to be agreed which willdetermine the scale and scope of requiredincome generation and cost reduction.

-         Exploration of sports pitch users to take on responsibility for grounds maintenance in a Community Asset Transfer type model.

-         Consideration to offer smaller sites for events use across the city.

-         No further cuts should be made to the park keeping budget as these services are vital to ensure parks are safe, secure, well managed and of a high quality. Consideration should also be given to increasing the budget for the Park Ranger team.

Chair of the Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Nigel Howells said: "We are very lucky in Cardiff to have so many beautiful parks and green spaces and I am sure we all fully appreciate the physical and health benefits they afford. But, with Cardiff Council facing savings of £91million over the next three years the question of how we can continue to provide such excellent facilities without lowering standards needs to be addressed. My Committee Task Group has worked closely with Green Spaces Wales, Park Friends groups and wildlife organisations throughout this inquiry and we believe that our recommendations will improve the security of funding in the future.With the overall savings required of local authorities, it is clear that non-statutory services such as Parks have to work hard to find income sources and efficiency savings. Partnership working is integral in ensuring we can keep our first rate Parks and Green Spaces by generating income and reducing costs in ways that do not lower standards or adversely affect the experience of Park users."

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury said: "I welcome this Scrutiny Committee report on the funding of parks and I am grateful to scrutiny for the hard work which has gone into it. Some good ideas have been raised I look forward to discussing key findings with cabinet colleagues before any decisions on recommendations are made. We all appreciate the natural splendour of Cardiff's parks and green spaces and it's important that we work together to protect and fund these important public assets."      


The report goes before the Cardiff Council Cabinet at a meeting on Thursday 17thMay.