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Millboard

The Parks Trust shares Annual Report and Financial Statements at public meeting

The Parks Trust, the self-financing charity that manages and maintains over 6,000 acres of Milton Keynes’ green space, has published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2016-17.

These show the charity has continued to strengthen its financial position, largely due to the success of its commercial property and investments. This has enabled the Trust to continue to manage the parks, woodlands and lakes across the city to a high standard and to invest in new facilities in the parks. The Parks Trust is also getting closer to achieving its objective of long term financially sustainability.

David Foster, chief executive, commented: “When looking at our financial performance it is important to remember that we are entirely self-financing and receive no money from the government or council tax; all our work is funded through our commercial property, our investments and various enterprises on our parkland including the leisure activities at Willen Lake, cricket bat willows and our farming.

“This is why our target of becoming financially sustainable is so important if we are to continue to be able to manage, maintain and improve the city’s green spaces while weathering any financial storms that may come our way in future.”

The report and statements were presented at The Parks Trust’s annual public meeting, which was held at Campbell Park Pavilion, the Trust’s head office, attended by around 100 people.

This meeting gave residents and stakeholders the opportunity to find out about what The Parks Trust does as a charity, while giving them a platform to feedback and ask any questions they may have.

Presentations were made by David Foster; Richard Forman, chairman; and Julie Dawes, events & community engagement manager. These reflected on the achievements of the last year and provided insight into what the Trust has planned for 2017/18 and beyond.

David added: “Our Annual Public Meeting is a key event for us as it is the way we account to the people of Milton Keynes. The parks, lakes, woods and landscapes are such a significant part of the fabric of Milton Keynes.  The green space continues to play a vital part in the success of the city, both culturally and economically and it is really important to us that people have confidence in the way we are managing them and in the Trust.

“This is particularly important when you consider the large-scale investments that are currently being made into our green spaces, with Willen Lake partway through a multi-million-pound improvement programme, and projects shortly due to commence at Furzton Lake and Campbell Park.

“We are dedicated to ensuring the parks of Milton Keynes can be enjoyed by all, both now and in the future, and this would not be possible without the hard work of our staff, volunteers and trustees; we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all they do.”

Questions raised by the public at the meeting included those about the role of the Trust in the new green space being provided in the expansion areas, which David Foster said continued to be somewhat unsatisfactory: “With the really good developers we are very involved and there is a coherent and sensible process for the design, implementation and transfer of new green space.

“But in some areas the landscape is being dealt with as an after-thought and this leads to travesties, such as some of the lovely old agricultural hedges in the Western Expansion Area being sold off piecemeal to individual housebuilders who are proposing to set up local management companies that will impose an annual charge on the new households to pay for their upkeep.

“It’s such a shame especially as we have a tried and tested model that has been working well for 25 years.”

Another question asked what the Trust could do to help Milton Keynes Council maintain its landscape to a better standard and David Foster replied that the Trust was keen to explore ways to do this in the coming year.

To download The Parks Trusts’ Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2016/17 please visit: www.theparkstrust.com/annualreport.

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