Knowsley Council to sell off 10% of parks for development
A council has agreed to sell off 10% of its parkland in order to secure the future of the rest of its green spaces.
Knowsley Council in Merseyside said the plans would protect the remainder of its parks from government funding cuts "forever".
It said it will invest £40m from the sale of land over the next 15 years in a charitable trust which will run the borough's 144 parks.
Green Party Councillor Kai Taylor said he was "disgusted" by the plans.
The Labour-led authority said the funding for its green spaces would end in March 2019 and it could no longer afford the £1.3m annual costs.
The costs of running the other 90% of parks would be met by the interest generated from the sale of green spaces for development, it said.
The recommendations by the Knowsley Parks and Green Spaces Review Board were unanimously approved by the cabinet on Tuesday evening.
Gideon Ben-Tovim, chairman of the board, said it is a "credible solution" that will "protect the vast majority of the borough's parks and green spaces".
Council leader Andy Moorhead said the scheme "safeguards" the parks for future generations.
"We hope that residents will recognise the only other option would be to allow these wonderful spaces to simply deteriorate," he said.
Green Party councillor Kai Taylor described the consultation as "shambolic".
"The council could have reduced the services in the parks to allow saving whilst waiting for more money to become available," he said.
"Austerity will not last forever, but once we build on our parks they are gone for good. "
The 17 green spaces the council plans to surrender are:
- Alt Park (part of)
- Broad Lane Playing Fields
- Copthorne (adjacent community centre not included)
- Court Hey Park (part of pending separate tender exercise relating to the future of former National Wildflower Centre)
- Cowper Way
- Field Lane
- Finch Wood
- Frederick Lunt Playing Fields
- Grace Park
- Halewood Doorstep Green (part of)
- King George V Playing Fields, Prescot
- Pool Hey Playing Fields
- Roby Playing Fields (adjacent community centre not included)
- St John's Millennium Green
- Spring Wood
- Syders Grove (part of)