Open Spaces Strategy

Ended on the 2nd October 2015
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(1) Chapter 20 Aim 6. Open Space supports business and income is maximised


20.1. By providing a range of environmental, health and social benefits green spaces contribute to reducing the costs incurred by employers and business in addressing health challenges in the work place. Green spaces are thus able to provide a number of indirect economic benefits to society.

20.2. Urban residents are willing to pay a premium on house or rent levels in order to live in areas close to green spaces. This results in local increases of property and land value, linked directly to their proximity to green spaces.

20.3. Green spaces are not only attractive to a local population, but also to tourists. Welland Park has become a destination park and attracts visitors from beyond the district boundaries. Based on their capacity to make urban areas more attractive, green spaces play a beneficial role in our towns approaches to marketing themselves.

20.4. In addition to attracting leisure visitors to a town, green spaces may play a role in businesses' decisions to locate in a certain area. Some research (Understanding the Contribution Parks and Green Spaces can make to Improving People's Lives) proposed business decisions to locate to an area may be driven to an extent by green spaces' attractiveness for workers as well as their ability to increase customer footfall (due to the areas' general attractiveness for residents and visitors). The findings are, however, inconclusive and it is more likely that green spaces are more attractive in close proximity to peoples homes than peoples places of work.

20.5. Harborough District Council open spaces are generally free to access, but some charges are made for use of individual items. These being:

  • Burials in cemeteries

  • Sports pitch use

  • Tennis court use

  • Bowling Green use

  • Hiring and lease/licencing of some pavilions

20.6. Sponsorship by business could generate income to subsidise the maintenance of open space. A similar approach has been used by the County Council for sponsorship of roundabouts.

20.7. Supporting community groups to achieve funding bids could be the most effective way of increasing capital funding of open spaces. It is however, unlikely that officers have sufficient time and resources to support a rolling programme of funding bids with detailed input.

20.8. Officers should always endeavour to help community groups find where they can source advice and help for grant applications. This means working closely with the voluntary sector support network and keeping appraised of which organisation will be best placed to help community groups.

20.9. While capital funding can be a great boost to provision of facilities and amenities on open space, funding is generally not available for revenue and maintenance of projects. Care should be taken to ensure that the overall burden for maintenance is not increase without increasing a revenue stream or off setting the additional costs by reducing costs elsewhere.

20.10. Income generated per annum from Open Space Activities (figures to be inserted)

Cemetery and Burial Ground

Civic Spaces

Pitch Hire

Bowls Hire

Tennis Hire

Building leases

20.11. Related Policies

Corporate Property Strategy

Corporate Charging Policy

20.12 Objective 18: Review pricing policy for open spaces

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Review the sites which are used by external organisations, compile a list of lettings, licences and leases and consider whether a pricing review can be undertaken.

  • Review the pricing policies and scale of fees and charges for all typologies open space to assess whether the charge meets the real cost of provision

  • Review the exclusive right of burial policy to determine whether the time period for exclusive right of burial should be altered and whether an renewal of the exclusive right of burial should be introduced.

20.13 Objective 19: Investigate the benefit of sponsorship of open space

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Review where open space could benefit form sponsorship and consider whether it is possible to issue tender notices for specific locations

20.14 Objective 20: Continue to support community groups in seeking external funding for open space projects that make open spaces attractive for all residents and visitors

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Continue, with partners, to promote grants through the Grants Surgery.

  • Officers to identify and be aware of the support available for community groups to apply for external funding

  • To encourage community groups and Parish Councils to have 'shovel ready' schemes to take advantage of funding when available

  • Continue to work with Parish Councils and other community groups to ensure that open space projects are identified, costed and included in Section 106 agreements where appropriate.

20.15 Objective 21: Support Local Business first

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Give opportunity for local business to quote or tender for works in open spaces

  • Consider the benefits provided by local employment when issuing service contracts one off works to companies.

  • Where tenders are submitted of equal value priority should be given, where possible, to a local business or employer.

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