Open Spaces Strategy First Stage Issues Consultation

Ended on the 13th April 2015
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Chapter 13 The Way Forward – Strategy Implementation

13.1 Intended Outcomes

  • To consider how the vision for the Open Spaces Strategy can be resourced and delivered
  • To acknowledge the policies in the Asset Management Plan for future management of Council open space assets
  • To incorporate the polices within the refreshed Provision for Open Space Sport and Recreation Document
  • To consider resourcing through sponsorship and partnership
  • To highlight opportunities for external funding
  • To consider the current pricing structure for use of open space
  • To consider the resource required for maintenance operations for open space

Approach

13.2 The vision for open space in Harborough District gives the Council and its partners an overall direction for open space planning and development. This vision should be reflected within the strategy implementation.

(2) 13.3 The Asset Management Plan seeks to make best use of Council Assets and achieve the best possible outcome for the Council in financial terms. This should not be in conflict with the aspiration of the Council to deliver its corporate priorities, nor should the Open Spaces Strategy so constrict the Council that it cannot legitimately consider disposal of assets.

13.4 Considerations concerning the value of an open space asset may be for the monetary value, the income generating potential of the asset and also the social capital that an asset provides.

13.5 Careful consideration will be needed to strike a balance between the aspirations of the community to retain open space facilities, and the requirement of the Council to obtain maximum value for its assets.

(1) 13.6 This will be further explored through consultation with the community and views of HDC officers, communities and partners are welcomed; policies will be developed that reflect the requirements of the community for open space in the future and how the District Council can play its part in securing the future for open space irrespective of ownership.

(2) Question: Do you consider that the District Council should protect and maintain open space at all costs?

(2) Question: Should a more flexible approach be adopted to allow the District Council to dispose of assets if a surplus of open space has been identified?

(3) Question: Should the District Council seek to dispose of open space assets to communities to reduce the Authorities responsibilities for maintenance?

13.7 The refreshed Provision for Open Space, Sport and Recreation: Developer Guidance document will give a mechanism for obtaining new open space within developments and seeking contributions for maintenance and/ or off site financial contributions. The consultation concerning the Provision for Open Space, Sport and Recreation: Developer Guidance document is in part 2 of this document.

13.8 The District Council currently makes little use of sponsorship to offset the costs of its open space assets. It should be considered whether this is an opportunity that is being missed, and whether officers of the Council have sufficient capacity or expertise to make sponsorship viable. Views are sought whether this should be included as part of the Open Spaces Strategy.

(1) 13.9 External funding is an important part of resourcing open space. In order to achieve the aspirations of the Open Spaces Strategy higher levels of capital and revenue investment are necessary, so that good quality parks, recreation grounds and open spaces can be sustained for the use of future generations.

13.10 Views are sought concerning the ways that the Council should seek to maximise external funding sources, and the level of capital investment that can reasonably be expected to be invested in open space.

(3) Question: Should sponsorship of open spaces be included as part of the open spaces strategy?
(3) Question: How can external funding opportunities be maximised by the Council?

13.11 The Council has many options to consider concerning reduction of costs such as:

  • redirection of existing resources
  • by the restructuring of existing responsibilities
  • by working in partnership with other agencies.

13.12 It is unlikely that additional Council funds will be made available to support new and costly objectives of the Open Spaces Strategy. Working in partnership with other agencies, such as the nationally registered environmental charities and local Friend’s Groups, is an important means of unlocking additional funding sources and capacity.

(1) 13.13 It should be recognised that while officers can support Friends Groups and other voluntary organisations to seek funding they do not have the capacity to carry out and pursue a rolling programme of funding applications. It is proposed that officers need to be aware of other agencies that can support volunteers and seek their input and support for funding bids. Views are sought whether this should form part of the Open Spaces Strategy and the level of detail that the Strategy should contain.

13.14 There are a number of funding sources that can be explored including Lottery funding, charitable trusts, environmental funding and local charities. The Council has been successful in the past in achieving funding for large and small projects and views are sought concerning the most effective way to build on this success.

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