Parks and local neighbourhood schemes will receive a much needed cash-boost if a Green Party amendment is accepted by other parties at the Council’s budget meeting later this month. The £12.5m investment would come from unspent money which was previously allocated to community investment linked to the cancelled Arena scheme. Greens want this to now be spent on local neighbourhood infrastructure and investment in parks and green spaces.
The £12.5m fund would be spent over four years across the city – half on upgrading Bristol’s parks and green spaces and half on schemes to promote more liveable neighbourhoods to tackle pressures from Bristol’s growing population and congestion.
These could include changes to make residential streets safer and healthier by improving walking and cycling, and curb ‘rat running’ from through traffic. With access to a strategic fund (or ‘central’ fund) other funds could be drawn in to scale up the overall investment.
Green Councillor Martin Fodor, who has tabled the proposal, said:
“Our parks and green spaces have hosted more people than ever since the start of the pandemic and many desperately need upgraded facilities. This funding would help improve accessibility and pathways, provide more waste and recycling facilities and deliver more water and power points for park cafes. We also need funding to improve drainage problems and invest in space for nature and wildlife. Our parks are the lungs of our city, and provide vital space for our communities, especially for those who don’t have gardens. They are where our children play, where we connect with nature and where we get our exercise. The pandemic has reminded us just how important they are, and now they must get the funding they need.”
“Our neighbourhoods also need urgent investment to deal with congestion and the rising population in our city. Our communities should not have to deal with rat running and dangerous parking on a daily basis and we need investment to help sort out these problems. Funding would also be spent on improving disability access, road safety measures and installing cycle hangers and electric vehicle charging points. If we want our streets to be the heart of our communities we must invest in the things which make a real difference to people’s lives.”
The amendment will be voted on during the budget meeting on Tues 23rd February. Councillor Fodor is calling on all those who want more money for parks and neighbourhood improvements to write to their local councillor asking them to support it.
See amendment details below:
|Description of Budget Amendment, Rationale and Implications||2021/22||2022/23||2023/24||2024/25|
|Reallocate the strategic CIL that was previously allocated to the Arena.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is the money that developers contribute to the city to help deal with the impacts of development.15-25% of this is allocated by communities, to be spent on small capital projects. The remaining is allocated for wider strategic projects. These can include funding for capital improvements to deal with rising population and ever busier neighbourhoods and capital projects. There is currently £12.5M unallocated from this strategic fund, due to the cancellation of the Arena.
|Create a strategic capital fund for Growth and Regeneration to spend on Parks and Green Spaces.
This capital fund will deal with the greater pressures from our rising city population, many of whom are spending more time in our city’s green spaces. Many of these spaces have been under pressure throughout the pandemic and there is a deficit of capital investment to upgrade and modernise them.
This 4 year capital investment fund will help deliver many of the capital improvements needed and other initiatives developed by local parks groups. This could include improved accessibility, drainage, water and power points for cafes and events, recycling facilities and improved space for nature and wildlife. It can also unlock match funding and leverage in capital from elsewhere, to support the areas that need it most.
|Create a strategic capital fund for Growth and Regeneration to spend on Transport.
This capital fund will help deal with the increased traffic from development and the rising city population. It creates a 4 year capital investment fund to make ever denser neighbourhoods more liveable.
This fund can be used to deliver infrastructure projects in consultation with local communities. These could include capital investment in facilities to curb rat running, prioritise walking and cycling, improve disabled access, EV charging points, road safety measures, solutions to manage dangerous parking and installing cycle hangers.