Liverpool City Council vows to NEVER let its 100 parks to be sold or built on
- Liverpool City Council is first council to have made a vow not to build on parks
- This follows court ruling stopping council building homes on Calderstones Park
- Such areas have been vital for locked down Britons seeking places to exercise
One of Britain’s biggest cities has pledged in a landmark deal to always protect its parks from developers.
Liverpool City Council has agreed that 100 parks, covering around 100 hectares, will never be sold or built on – the first time a council has made such a vow.
Councillor Wendy Simon, the acting mayor of Liverpool, said: ‘The wellbeing and community benefits that these locations deliver are priceless, demonstrated so clearly during this pandemic where they have become such a central and important part of our lives.’
The pledge follows a High Court ruling that prevented the Labour-run council from building homes on Calderstones Park, which was previously featured as part of The Mail on Sunday’s Save Our Parks campaign
Chrisie Byrne, chairman of Liverpool Parks Friends Forum, said: ‘Never before has any city council in the UK secured 100 per cent of its parks this way, and we hope other cities follow Liverpool’s lead to protect theirs for communities.’
The pledge follows a High Court ruling that prevented the Labour-run council from building homes on Calderstones Park, which was previously featured as part of The Mail on Sunday’s Save Our Parks campaign.
Helen Griffiths, chief executive of Fields in Trust, a charity involved in securing the deal, said: ‘People have really come to recognise the value of their local parks during the pandemic and it has led to a national conversation about our green spaces. We are thrilled Liverpool City Council has pledged to save its parks and we hope other areas take note.’
Liverpool’s protected areas include local recs, parks and children’s playgrounds.
Such areas have been vital for locked down Britons seeking places to exercise during the pandemic.
The UK has the equivalent of 324,000 football pitches of public parks and green spaces, but less than six per cent has legal protection from developers. The Save Our Parks campaign highlighted how playgrounds are closing at the rate of nearly two a week due to neglect, vandalism and voracious property developers buying land from cash-strapped councils.
Fields In Trust, whose president is Prince William, says 2.6 million people now live more than a ten-minute walk from a park or green space. Research by the charity valued the health benefits to the NHS brought by parks, such as increased exercise and improved mental health, at £111 million every year.
Campaigners have been encouraged by the surging popularity of parks in the pandemic, with some seeing a 300 per cent rise in visits.