Agenda item

Parks and Open Spaces Strategy

Minutes:

The Parks Horticultural Service Manager introduced the report and shared a presentation with further information on the strategy.

It was noted that the current strategy was out of date and needed to be updated to reflect environmental changes and in response to the Ecological Emergency Strategy, Climate Strategy and Ecological Emergency Action Plan. The new strategy aims towards ensuring that citizens have a park within a 10 minute walk from their home. A series of engagement workshops had been set up and a steering group established to support the work of the strategy.

Members asked what constitutes as a green space and what is meant by ‘accessible’ in this context. It was advised they are public assets that facilitate access to nature on both small and large scale as well as access to play for children. Accessible parks and green spaces are good quality, functional spaces within walking distance from someone’s home.

A Member asked if the decrease in the number of green spaces is as a result of an increased population. Members were advised that Bristol hadn’t lost green space, but the metric is based on meter squared per capita so as the population had increased, it had pulled back the amount available per individual. Bristol has a projected population increase of 70,000 over the next 20 years which will have an impact on provision in the future and is likely to lead to a deficit it the most deprived areas.

A Member asked how the strategy will ensure that everyone has a park or green space within a 10 minute walk from their homes. It was advised that the accessibility standard can be met but not all spaces are good quality; the strategy aims to drive quality predominantly in the most deprived areas of the city.

Members noted that some private estates would have parks and green spaces and asked if conversations with those estates were taking place. It was noted that a number of stakeholders will need to be involved in the co design. 

Members asked if there are any plans to turn undeveloped land into green spaces and were advised that this would happen as part of the Ecological Emergency response. Regional strategic corridor mapping for green spaces had been done by the West of England Combined Authority to ensure that nature was given the opportunity to thrive.

There was a conversation around food growing in the city and the role of allotments as well as food growing in public spaces, and it was noted that this needed to be addressed in the strategy.

Members noted that there is a difference between adaptation and mitigation of climate change which were both competing priorities, and that this should be explicit in the strategy.

The need for investment to address flooding of parks/waterlogged paths was discussed and Members were advised that funds would need to be found to address this.

A Member noted that there is limited play equipment specifically in central areas of the city, and with Bristol having a large population of under 15 year olds living in those areas, lots living in flats with no outside space, accessibility is difficult. Members asked what is being done to help children access green spaces further out e.g., sufficient public transport options. Officers noted that this was a key theme in the strategy and that they were working with colleagues in the People directorate to develop this. It was noted that not every park has the same level of facilities, and this would need to be prioritised.

Members asked about prioritisation parameters and were advised that there will be engagement with communities but were evaluating by observation at this stage for example is the space clean/welcoming, facilities available, safety and quality.

The Chair highlighted the key topics covered within the discussion and noted that priorities for communities would come following consultation of the strategy.

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