New plans to perk up parks and freshen open spaces

Published Monday, 22nd June 2015

Red, yellow, pink and white flowers in Chalkwell Park

A proposed five-year plan has just been unveiled to safeguard and enhance Southend’s open spaces.

This draft new Parks and Green Spaces Strategy is due to be considered by the Council’s Cabinet when it meets tomorrow, Tuesday 23rd June.

If agreed, there will then be a 12- week public consultation about the proposals so residents, stakeholders and partners can have their say about it too.

The strategy’s five key points are:

· To provide and maintain good quality parks and open spaces

· To connect these spaces with a well-maintained and attractive street scene

· To provide recreation and sports facilities to encourage active, healthy lifestyles

· To protect and promote our natural green heritage and biodiversity, preserving it for future generations

· To encourage community involvement in the development and management of green spaces

It also sets out the following important standards:

· To ensure that all residents have easy access to a public open space of at least 0.2 hectares

· To provide one hectare of public open space per 1,000 people

· To adopt the Green Flag quality criteria for its major destination parks and open spaces

To help meet these targets, the strategy proposes wide-ranging actions and projects.

These include creating community orchards, boosting tree donations, increasing educational visits and developing wildlife schemes, using recycled materials such as granite kerb edgings in parks, restoring Southchurch Hall, re-landscaping Southchurch Park, encouraging more volunteering, and much more.

This is in addition to introducing management plans to maintain and improve parks, as well as increasing the numbers of events and activities there.

Executive Councillor for Enterprise, Tourism and Economic Development, Councillor Graham Longley said: “Parks and open spaces are vital for the health and wellbeing of residents of all ages as well as adding immeasurably to Southend’s attractions as a visitor destination – and providing a haven for wildlife.

“In this difficult financial climate it is essential that we find innovative ways to make sure we protect and develop these green lungs of our town which are becoming increasingly important.”

Details of the proposed strategy being considered by tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting can be found on the Council’s website:

The meeting takes place from 2pm in the Jubilee Room at Southend Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend, SS2 6ER.

Meanwhile, information about how to take part in the subsequent consultation will be widely publicised when this is launched later in the year.