What additional or alternative funding is available and what scope is there for local authorities to generate revenue from park users?
Ashford Borough Council does not generally charge organisations for use of parks, with the exception of funfairs, which pay a nominal fee. We believe there is scope for charging for organised activities in the parks. Some discretion should be applied where the organisers are non-profit making.
Provision of revenue raising activities in parks would need to be approached with great care, there is a risk that the relaxed atmosphere could be lost if excessive commercial activity was undertaken in parks.
In adopting the Victoria Park and Watercress Fields Masterplan referred to in 1.4.3 above, Ashford Borough Council has assumed that some money will be available from contributions from developers of new residential development in the vicinity. This income will be used to make the improvements proposed but will not be available for maintenance of the Park.
As noted, an application for funds to HLF was also made but was unsuccessful. Whilst grants could be sought to offset the reduction in expenditure by local authorities, many grant funding bodies prefer to see funds spent on new capital works or identifiable enhancements rather than operation and maintenance. There is also a limit to grant funding available, which could result in too many parks chasing the same funds.