We love our parks! Keep them public

Photo of a park

28 September 2016

Our new polling shows 70% of the public believe privatising parks is unacceptable and 75% believe councils should have a statutory duty to protect public parks. The government's inquiry on the future of public parks closes this week. 

We asked Survation to find out what the public thinks about the possibility of parks being privatised - see the full polling here.

Research by the Heritage Lottery Fund shows that 9% of parks managers are considering selling off whole parks or parts of parks in the next three years. The 'State of UK Public Parks' report suggests around ten parks have been partially (and in one case wholly) sold off in the last three years.

London Councils have warned that cuts could lead to a 'slide towards privately-run parks' by 2020. In Battersea park, private company Go Ape has opened for business, charging parents for their children to be able to use the space.

Cat Hobbs, Director of We Own It, said: 'The idea of privatising parks is hugely unpopular and it should be completely ruled out by government and councils. Public parks are precious green spaces that belong to all of us - but cuts could mean a slippery slope towards sell offs. There should be a new legal duty to protect parks for the future."

Dave Morris, Chair of the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces said: "Our public green spaces are treasured and essential resources for all communities and for all sections of our communities, as underlined by the rise over the last 15 years of the inspirational movement of many thousands of local greenspace Friends Groups. Rather than accept the deepening underfunding crisis we call on the public to demand these vital spaces become a statutory service to ensure they are well managed and secure for current and future generations to enjoy."

Mark Camley, Chair of the Parks Alliance said: 'Parks play a vital role in providing spaces for children to play, and adults to exercise, take part in sport or just relax. With increasing urbanisation they provide a vital free service for families. As well as retaining them, we need to ensure that they are properly maintained and funded because no-one benefits from a poor quality park that doesn't feel safe.'

The Heritage Lottery Fund report shows that parks are used by over 37 million people each year and that 79% of the public support investing in parks, but cuts mean they could be facing 'decline and neglect'.

Over 200,000 people have signed a 38 Degrees petition in support of a statutory duty for councils to protect parks. The We Own It polling shows the strong support for this amongst the general public.

Take action to protect public parks - respond to the government inquiry now.

Photo of a park

Photo used under Creative Commons licensing, thanks to Ricksby.

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Anthony Woods replied on Permalink

Bloody Tories

Andrew Clark replied on Permalink

The parks have always been public and for their enjoyment to relax and just to take time out in a green space have been proven stress relief. We owe it to future generations to protect our parks from private greed.

Morag Green replied on Permalink

The parks belong to all of us, they're not for the tories to sell to their cronies. They'll sell them for some paltry sum of money, then build some luxurious homes on the land and sell them at a huge profit. Never mind that there's nowhere for children to play. It makes me sick. I'm utterly sick of them robbing the poor and give it to these property magnates. Just when are our children, our future, going to stop getting ripped off?

Bernadette Turner replied on Permalink

Parks are a public good. They provide a space to breathe, to think and to play; many were set up by philanthropists for the health and benefit of local communities, and should be kept in public ownership for all to enjoy

Jane replied on Permalink

The whole point is they are PUBLIC PARKS for everyone and as such should be protected. We have "Fields in Trust " status for our local park so that it will never be built upon and is a Green Space for Perpetuity. Volunteers & Residents need to get together to protect their space, by helping in the community you can ensure that you have a say in the running of the park.

Lawrence Wright replied on Permalink

PUBLIC Parks are what they say - PUBLIC. Not private but public. They are part of where we are and part of our life. No-one has MY authority to sell off PUBLIC parks without consulting ME! The Councils want to sell anything they can but our Council Tax does not decrease as a result of it. If you want to sell off the parks, speak to ME first and of course the thousands of other people who think the same way.Once sold, they will be used for building plots - KEEP THE PARKS PUBLIC.

Paul Hinkley replied on Permalink

The parks belong to everyone. If the council sell them it is theft of public property and will be taken to court. If the Court up holds the council's decision then we are living in a totalitarian regime. How are we to stop them with their legal system designed for them?

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