The Neighbourhoods Management Services Manager delivered a presentation about the Bristol Future Parks Accelerator Fund Project (details are in the published pack).
Officer stated they are keen for a scrutiny role in the project to help inform progress.
· Members raised a need to clarify jargon in the prospectus.
o It was RESOLVED that acronyms and jargon will be reviewed and defined.
· Members asked that there is clarity about whether there are proposals to sell any parks.
o Officer response: The Prospectus is to enable an understanding of what we have. This is not about selling – it’s about protecting and maintaining our green spaces taking into consideration resource. There is a need to work with partners to help maintain parks and green spaces. Individuals and organisations benefit from green spaces. There is a need to understand benefits of green spaces.
· There was a discussion regarding the benefits of parks and green spaces.
o Officer raised health example and how partnerships can help enable access to green spaces, benefiting health of local people.
· There was a discussion about land that is leased to organisations, and that these spaces are not included in the prospectus. Members asked that the list should include all parks and green spaces, including those areas leased.
o Officer response: We cannot invite expressions of interest to those leased for long time. The map doesn’t have detail as to what is leased.
o It was RESOLVED that Officers will investigate including leased areas on the list and map.
· Members asked who is able to express interest, and how everyone can be represented in the process
o Officer stated that the process, by going through anchor organisations, can help local groups emerge. One of the outputs is for more people to be involved – using community development approach. An unusual aspect of this project is that someone from national lottery in team sits in the team, and this is able to allocate funds for community development.
· Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities (Public Health, Public Transport, Libraries, Parks), Events and Equalities stated that we have ended up doubling the number of friends of libraries groups, and so hopefully, in this case using same strategy, we are looking for more friends of parks groups.
o Officer said that Members can help feedback information for and about local communities. When opportunities arise for expressions of interest there is a need to ensure everyone understands how to engage.
· A Member asked if there is cross-over with City Leap.
o Officer stated that there are possibilities in terms of energy.
· There was a discussion about commercialisation and whether parameters are clear enough; including a Member stating that it would be beneficial to have clarity to ensure parks can be kept for, for example, quiet contemplation. Also, questions were asked by Members regarding categories – is it possible for those designated green spaces, including allotments, to be re-designated.
o Officer response: BCC is not selling land, but we don’t want to stifle ideas that come back. The idea is for strategy to emerge, including what the commercialisation approach is, what is a formal and informal category. This goes to what we would like to achieve, and this will be reviewed.
o We have learnt from City Leap that we receive a variety of quality; and have learnt that when we know what he have we can then establish red lines, which the project board, stakeholders and Members all have input.
o The objective is to achieve sustainable parks and green spaces that benefit community – a test of analysing an idea is that does it enable this?
o There are 40 key sites which will be assessed, drawing on academic research about what people would like in parks, and business opportunities – acknowledging there is not a wish to over commercialise. Officers would like the National Trust to advise on opportunities.
· There was a discussion about what the plan is for land without clear ownership. Members asked if the plan is for Council will take responsibility of these plots of green spaces.
o Officer response: The ambition is to have green space within 10mins walk of everyone. We can’t take on more green space. These spaces do not need to be taken on by the Council – organisations can do this.
o It was RESOLVED that Members will bring to the attention of Members these types of green spaces known about.
· There was a discussion about governance.
o Officer explained that there will be an Independent Advisory Panel made up of a group of environmental and commercial experts. Members of this Panel will not receive a fee, but will be offered expenses. Partners will be engaged via the Partnership Group, and a Steering Group which will oversee decisions and process will be made up of an internal officer group.
· There was a discussion about play and sports in parks.
o Officer stated that we still want sports facilities. There will need to be further discussions.