South Ashford Community Forum (SACF) are asking for your help in telling a parliamentary committee why parks in South Ashford matter.
South Ashford Community Forum (SACF) is considering submitting evidence to the Inquiry into the Future of Public Parks being undertaken by the Commons Select Committee for Communities and Local Government (CLGC).
CLGC Chair, Clive Betts MP, has said: “Whether it is kicking the ball about with friends, joining a parkrun, walking the dog or just relaxing with a paperback, people value their local parks, but with councils under enormous financial pressures and with no legal obligation to fund and maintain public parks, these precious community resources may be at risk.
“The Committee will be asking what the future is for our open spaces and we want to explore the ways in which parks can be supported and secured for generations to come. We will be keen to find out about innovative and successful approaches to managing and funding parks and what Government can do to support these.
“We know people value their local spaces, and we want to develop a clear picture of the community benefits of public parks as well as who is using them, how often and for what?”
Ashford Borough Council (ABC) have not given any indication that they intend to cut or reduce funding to our parks and open spaces. In ABC’s Corporate Plan they propose to “Maximise the value of our key green sites” and have already published the Draft Masterplan for Victoria Park and Watercress Fields, showing their commitment to them. However, as for all local authorities, their finances will continue to come under pressure as central government funding comes to an end.
Parks and open spaces in the unparished area of South Ashford include Victoria Park, Watercress Fields, Cuckoo Wood, Noakes Meadow, Cryol Road and St. Annes Road open spaces, local play parks and the many open spaces on our housing estates (to which reduced mowing is already a concern for many residents).
SACF would like to know:
- which of our parks and open spaces you use, how often you use them and what for.
- how parks contribute to you and your family’s health and wellbeing.
- what you think of use of parks by organisations, whether non-profit or commercial – should they be charged for that use
- if insufficient funds were available from Ashford Borough Council, how funds could be raised in future for improvement and maintenance of parks and open spaces
- whether you would be willing to get involved in running your local park or open space, either by helping to manage it or volunteering your time to help maintain it.
You can add your comments to the copy of this article on the South Ashford website, https://southashford.org.uk/.
We will be discussing the Inquiry at the Forum meeting on 21 September and would like to prepare a draft submission before the meeting, so we would like your comments by 14th September.
Chris Dixon, of Ashford Borough Council will also be updating us on the Victoria Park and Watercress Field Masterplan at the meeting , so put it in your diary now.
For more information on the Inquiry follow these links:
- Inquiry: Public parks
- Communities and Local Government Committee
If you would like to submit evidence directly to the Committee: