History of Public Park Funding and Management (1820 – 2010)

Author(s): Katy Layton-Jones

There are an estimated 27,000 public parks in Britain and 2.6 billion visits to parks each year. Many of these parks are of historic and cultural interest, and some 300 are registered as nationally important. For over a century, the vast majority of public parks have been provided and run by local authorities but these authorities have no statutory duty to fund or maintain public parks. The Heritage Lottery Fund’s new State of UK Public Parks (September 2016) highlights that “92 per cent of park managers report their maintenance budgets have reduced in the past three years and 95 per cent expect their funding will continue to reduce”. In July 2016 the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee announced an inquiry into public parks to examine concerns that public parks are under threat. Historic England commissioned Dr Katy Layton-Jones, a cultural historian and historical consultant, to provide an overview of past public park funding models, and their management. Her research findings show a long history of funding problems but also the important role of local authorities in developing, and often rescuing parks, and delivering public parks for all over 170 years. Historic England has included this research report in its submission to the inquiry as in looking for new funding solutions we also need to understand why funding issues have arisen. The research report will be of interest to local authority portfolio holders, parks teams, friends groups and urban historians.

Report Number:
20/2016
Series:
Research Department Reports
Pages:
133
Keywords:
Gardens, Parks and Urban Spaces Public Park Building and Landscape Conservation Historic Funding Green Spaces Management

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