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Parks plan agreed by Knowsley Council’s Cabinet

Knowsley Council’s Cabinet has tonight agreed unanimously that a decision to establish a charitable trust to manage the borough’s green spaces will go ahead.

The ‘Shaping a New Future for Knowsley’s Parks’ report was agreed by Cabinet on 28 November, but was called in for further consideration by the Sustainable Boroughs Scrutiny Committee, which made some recommendations following their meeting on 19 December.

The Cabinet considered each of the recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee in turn before voting again Tuesday evening] on the proposals, which will see a charitable Trust established to manage green spaces in the borough from April 2019, when council funding for the service runs out. The Trust would be funded by the sale of 10% of the borough’s green spaces over the next 15 years. This would create a £40m endowment, the interest from which would be used to manage and maintain the remaining 90%, forever.

Details of the sites to be surrendered were put forward at the Cabinet meeting in November (available on the council’s website) and work will now begin on developing a business case. An outline business case will be considered by Scrutiny in the summer before a final decision is made on the full business case by Cabinet late this year.

Cllr Andy Moorhead said: “We know that our proposals for the future management of parks and green spaces are a big decision for the borough and one that we must get right.

“As a Cabinet, we’re only too well aware that taking no action to protect our parks and green spaces is not an option. With funding running out from April next year we have a responsibility to think creatively to ensure future generations are still able to enjoy quality open spaces as we do.

“This is not a decision we have come to lightly – and it was not a decision we made alone. The recommendations we’ve agreed were put forward following extensive consultation and research by the independent Parks Review Board who were asked to find the best solution. This is about protecting parks, not taking them away.

“Now that the decision has also been through the Scrutiny process I’m even more confident that we’re on the right track. Work will now get underway to develop the full business case which will be back before Cabinet later this year.”

The papers from tonight’s meeting can be viewed on the council’s website.

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