The Head of Service - Natural & Marine Environment, and Future Parks Programme Manager delivered a presentation on the progress of the Future Parks Project.
· This project aimed to ensure the sustainability of Bristol Parks in the years to come with the development of a 25 year strategy. Data analysis had found that Parks brought a £300million per annum benefit. Partnership working across sectors was in place, and a volunteer database had been developed. A diagram showing the relationship between Parks and stakeholders was provided.
· Covid-19 had impacted the progress of the project and amendments were being discussed with the funding partners.
· It was noted that some workstreams previously raised (e.g. Environment and Workforce Change) had been removed as they would form business as usual within existing teams.
· It was confirmed that the Clifton Downs were out of scope for the project as council owned sites were being prioritised.
· Volunteering would feature as part of this project, and this had been encouraged by the funding partners. Volunteering opportunities were to be advertised once the expression of interest stage was reached.
· Members queried local and community input around expressions of interest. The aim was to be clear around evaluation criteria in advance, and significant input from anchor organisations was planned following the approval of the mid-point review.
· The deliverability of proposals was queried. Small scale trials were expected to explore this in order to manage expectations and learn lessons along the way.
· ‘Free at point of entry’ was clarified; all Parks would remain free to access but particular events or activities within the parks may have a cost associated.
· 13 sites had been identified across the city, with a further 14 to identified through conversations with anchor organisations. It was confirmed that these were located across the city and data (including the Quality of Life survey) had been used to ensure equality of opportunity. Officers agreed to provide a list of identified sites.
· A concern over future funding was raised. A piece of work was taking place around establishing the exact level of investment required. This had not yet concluded.
· The application for the £900k grant was considered by Members. This demonstrated that 25% cost was for consultants, and that no contingency or income was shown. Officers clarified that the funding would not permit a contingency fund; this type of project is the first of its kind conducted by funding partners. The funding match was to be through Officer resource / time.
· Members requested details of what a ‘gold standard’ of Park would look like. The Green Flag standard was a national benchmark which had been used.
· Addressing health inequalities featured as a significant part of the project with work being conducted with Public Health.
· Members noted that brochure and mapping had been anticipated in February 2021, but this was not available at the time.
· A concern was raised over the use of the phrase ‘our approach is to reposition the Parks service politically and societally.’
RESOLVED; That Officers provide the list of identified Future Park sites; and
That Officers note the comments of the Communities Scrutiny Commission.