Cabinet decides the future of Newcastle’s parks

Newcastle City Council’s cabinet has approved a proposal for innovative plans to set up an independent charitable trust to run the city’s parks.

The proposal for a Charitable Parks Trust model was the result of a 91 per cent fall in the parks budget over the last seven years.

The pioneering approach, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the National Trust, to parks sees Newcastle become the first major metropolitan authority in the UK to establish such a trust, allocating £9.5 million revenue contribution to the Charitable Parks Trust over the first 10 years of its operation.

This means that parks will remain free for residents and visitors to use with the changes not affecting how people enjoy the city’s parks or allotments.

Kim McGuinness, cabinet member for Culture and Communities, said: “This is the first time that a charitable trust has been set up to manage parks and allotments on such a large scale, and I am delighted. Government cuts of more than 90 per cent to our parks budgets left us with no option but to look at alternative ways of running our open spaces – spaces that are vital to keeping this city a safe, clean and green environment where people can relax and enjoy their leisure time.

“We have worked for many months with the National Trust, Social Finance and Heritage Lottery Fund to bring this plan to life and we are proud of what we have achieved so far. Let me assure people that all money raised in the parks will be spent in the parks and their future remains in public ownership for everyone to enjoy. This new and innovative approach will open up our parks and bring back the days when parks were venues for social and community events. Now we must get on and lay the foundations for a 10-year plan that will nurture and develop the Charitable Trust that will guide our parks and allotments for future generations.”

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