Lambeth council has become the first council in the country to offer its residents the chance to be involved in decisions over the future of their local parks. Lambeth’s ‘Cooperative Parks Programme’ will see residents working alongside the council to improve local parks and given the chance to take decisions about where money is spent and how parks are designed.
The Cooperative Parks Programme was approved by Lambeth’s cabinet. There will now be a series of public face to face events across Lambeth later this year to gauge the demand from residents and community groups to the proposals. Under Lambeth’s Cooperative Parks Programme, the council remains the custodian of green space in the borough.
Councillor Sally Prentice, cabinet member for culture and leisure said:
“Our Cooperative Parks Programme is the first of its kind, giving residents the chance to take part in decisions about their local parks. It means local people getting the chance to work alongside the council and take decisions about how Lambeth’s parks are run and where money is spent.
‘We want to build upon the success of the friends of Myatt’s Field Park, the Friends of Brixton Windmill and Brockwell Park who led their Lottery investment programmes working in partnership with the Council’s Park’s Service.’
‘We have a long history of working successfully with friends of park groups, and the resident-led approach has led to real improvements with new community gardens and areas to grow food. Our new Cooperative Parks Programme will build on that work and make our 60 parks and open spaces, wonderful places to relax and play sport.”
1. Examples of community parks projects in Lambeth:
The parks programme could lead to smaller, unused green spaces turned into community gardens or growing areas and builds on projects already delivered by the council and park friends groups.
Local examples include;
• Myatt’s Field Park Project Group, in Camberwell, which takes an active role in managing the Greenhouses where people grow fruit and vegetables
• Brockwell Park Community Partners, which delivers projects including the popular Brockwell Park Music, Arts and Drama programme;
2. More on Lambeth’s Cooperative Parks Programme
Under the cooperative parks programme the council could share a park’s management with a community group or hand it over completely and perform a monitoring role. If there is no interest from the community, the council would retain full control. Local groups would be free to seek sponsorship and outside grants from organisations such as the Lottery individually or in partnership with the council.The programme was drawn up following consultation with the Lambeth Parks Forum, an umbrella group representing the borough’s parks friends groups.
3. Funding for parks in Lambeth
The cooperative parks plan will also help save £400,000 from the parks budget and protect Lambeth’s parks from government funding cuts. Government funding to Lambeth council has been cut by 45% between 2010 to 2016.
4 More on the cabinet report – http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=225&MId=8561