Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 coincided with a huge
investment in public parks and open spaces to serve and improve
Britain’s expanding cities and to create local civic pride. In 2012,
another Diamond Jubilee year, the talk is now about whether we can
afford to lose them.
This Groundwork report, called 'Grey places need green spaces - the case
for investing in our nation's natural assets,' argues that the benefits
of green space to our communities are too important to squander.
Some cities, such as Liverpool, have withdrawn from the prestigious Green Flag award scheme because they do not think they can afford to meet the required standard. Others are disbanding park ranger teams, closing sports facilities or introducing charges for services that were previously free.
The welter of reports issued at the turn of the millennium shows us where this trend leads: to unsafe, neglected places that people choose to avoid, and the loss of the many benefits that come from cared-for green spaces.
Communities want to play an active role in preserving the future of their valued local green space – but they can’t do it alone. Everyone has a part to play and it is important that we all rally round the cause: Government, councils, housing associations and businesses must all make a concerted and joined up effort to safeguard the benefits of our natural assets for future generations.