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5 new Parks for London and a new organisation – Parks for London, PfL, possibly even ‘oyster style’ donations for parks, just some of the ideas London campaigners want the Mayoral candidates to get behind

CPRE London launches its Mayoral election manifesto today

Five major new parks for London, a new body PfL - ‘Parks for London’, and a London Parks Festival … all ideas London campaigners want London Mayoral candidates to get behind.

Alice Roberts from CPRE London said: “We can sit and watch parks fall derelict through lack of funding (2); we can watch as councils all individually conduct uncertain commercial deals, effectively ‘renting’ out parks, to obtain desperately needed cash for parks maintenance – and hope it’s enough (3); or the new Mayor can use his or her powers to actually do something for London parks as a whole.

Alice continued: “It’s a little known fact that no-one is actually responsible for our parks.(4) There is literally no statutory requirement for councils even to maintain them, let alone ensure the maximum potential benefit is achieved from them.    So we want the new Mayor to create Parks for London – PfL – and basically take responsibility. Transport for London has transformed the city: now we want a new PfL to do the same, working with our boroughs to make parks better, create more parks and raise the necessary funds to do it.

CPRE London says that a parks festival could help bring funding in for one major park re-vamp every 4 years; that a new ‘PfL’ could seek corporate or charitable sponsorship, or even organise ‘oyster’ style donations for parks; or even that taxpayers’ money could be put towards improvements, given the well documented health and mental health benefits of parks, and the contribution they make to avoiding the costs of flooding and air pollution.

Alice concluded: “Up to now City Hall has written a lot of well-meaning policy about the benefits of parks, but now we need action. What’s the point in having a Mayor if they can’t be the champion for the issues which mean most to Londoners.

“Londoners love their parks – they provide a little piece of countryside in the city. Now we really need a champion for them – we want the new Mayor to take some bold steps and we’ll be asking the candidates whether they will just talk a lot about the importance of parks or actually show how they will walk the talk!

Ultimately we want recognition that there is a need for someone to take responsibility for London’s parks, we want the new mayor to take responsibility and we want to see action, not just talk.”


Notes to editors
1.CPRE London launches its Mayoral election manifesto today
2.London Councils warned last year that cuts to local government funding mean money for parks “simply isn’t there”
3.Events in parks such as Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park or Formula E in Battersea Park raise fund for parks but are often controversial, taking away park space for long periods and sometimes causing disruption and unwanted noise
4.Local authorities do not have any statutory responsibilities in relation to parks. They have in the past been funded to maintain parks. However, in recent years, cuts to local government funding have meant that councils must focus on statutory duties – that is, the services which they are statutorily bound to provide.

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