Developing a new parks service
Partnering with BCP Council, we’re one of nine organisations across the UK who have been selected for the Future Parks Accelerator fund from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Trust and MHCLG to find new, inspiring ways to develop and manage our greenspaces.
The project will help to develop a new open space – or green infrastructure – strategy for the area, something that will influence development positively for people and nature. Alongside this, a business plan will be created that will set out how this partnership can enhance its parks, nature reserves and open spaces for future generations.
The partnership has been selected for its innovative approach to parks and open spaces, with the project looking to widen the charitable partnership to help bring more funds to parks across the area; improve the systems it uses to manage and recognise volunteers who give their time to help its parks; trial different approaches to make its parks health and wellbeing centres of the future; test a landscape scale approach to managing the spaces along the Stour Valley corridor; and ensure that its green spaces offer opportunities for all ages and abilities.
Three ‘Pilot Parks’ have been selected across the conurbation with the intention to trial health initiatives and develop new ideas with the community to make physical and management improvements to the spaces, making them much more relevant to the community that live around them. The parks chosen are Watermans Park in Somerford, Winton Recreation Ground and Alexandra Park in Parkstone. The project hopes to develop inspiring ways of improving the parks – such as re-wilding, upgrading or opening a café or improving access – while ensuring the local community are engaged in the process.
We’ll work with partners at Environmental Finance and Vivid Economics to look at innovative finance models for parks and recognising the true value of our open spaces.
We’re creating a 25-year parks and open spaces, or green infrastructure, strategy and business plan to create a sustainable model for 21st century parks.
This plan will influence the new Local Plan, the South East Dorset Green Infrastructure Plan and dovetail with the Government’s 25-year environmental plan. The new unitary authority will deliver a service to c.450,000 people, working across parks and nature reserves, covering over 2,500 hectares of land.
To date we’ve been auditing our parks and open spaces across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to know exactly what’s in our parks- this is over 450 open spaces so it’s keeping us busy! We’re working with Chris Blandford Associates to develop the strategy and are on-track to deliver this new strategy by autumn 2021.
We have lots of opportunities across our parks and open spaces to generate income which can be put back into our parks to keep them looking great.
We’ll evaluate our current commercial activities and explore various delivery models. Our ambition is that the Park Cafés become the café destination of choice, and that some of the money you spend goes directly towards maintaining the park. There will be room for social enterprises, such as volunteer-led cafes. Initiatives such as these not only generate vital revenue, but also nurture the formation of community hubs in our parks.
We’re working with Acorn Tourism on this piece of work and are hoping to have some new plans we can start to embed throughout 2021.
We want to create an ambitious plan to provide public access, environmental, economic and health benefits through the Stour Valley: from Christchurch Harbour to Kingston Lacey along the 22km stretch of river.
This will test a landscape scale approach to managing the spaces along the Stour Valley corridor – bringing landowners, user groups and professionals together to enhance the area for nature, visitors and the local economy. This will include researching habitat evaluation, biodiversity improvements, water management, pollution and flood alleviation along the river.
Funding through the FPA has given this project a real boost, bringing in Landstory Design Ltd who are co-ordinating engagement with partners, communications and direction with governance. Their brief is to develop a strategy that tells us how to make the park a reality over the next few years. More detail can be found on the Stour Valley Park website.