The Land Trust is calling for longer-term funding of green open public spaces.

Land Trust calls for long term green spaces funding

National land management charity, the Land Trust has issued a warning to government, planning and development professionals that new development ‘must plan green spaces for people, and must build in funding mechanisms to manage these spaces properly’.

 
At a House of Commons reception to celebrate the organisation’s 10th anniversary, Land Trust chief executive Euan Hall called for a longer-term approach to managing green open public spaces.
 
‘We have a history in the UK of finding money for development or regeneration but then not identifying the funding for the on-going management of a space,’ he said.  ‘It stands to reason that if there is no funding to manage it, the open space will deteriorate, the community will not want to use it and the area will tumble into a downward spiral of decline, leading to anti-social behaviour, negative effects on the physical and mental health of the local population, feelings of isolation in the community and even crime. We have seen this pattern repeated so many times and yet we continue to make the same mistakes.’
 
Hall continued: ‘It’s about time we ended this short-term approach to managing green spaces and stop seeing them as a nice to have. Evidence is overwhelming that well managed green public space, not only halts the negative effects of anti-social behaviour, but they bring communities together, encourage volunteering and community spirit. They provide people with places to play, socialise and engage with each other to improve their health, learning and cohesion as a community. There is a very definite and proven economic benefit to these things. This is not just about environmental and biodiversity – it’s about real people and real lives.’
 
We need to end the pattern of funding development then relying on charitable grants for their maintenance, Hall urged, as ‘when the money dries up, the site goes into decline’.
 
The Land Trust is an independent not-for-profit organisation which exists to take on the long-term management of green open spaces. It works with partners to generate an endowment for each site, and then invests the endowment. ‘This means that sites are protected and managed in perpetuity as open public spaces.’
 
The return on investment is used to fund the long-term management and improvement of the site. Day-to-day management of the site is funded by the Land Trust and delivered by local delivery organisations, which work with local communities ‘to encourage emotional ownership of the site without the risks and liability of legal ownership’.
 
 

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