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  2. 2. LANDSCAPE DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT SECTION LEISURE SERVICES DEPARTMENT PARKS AND GREENSPACE ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY Contents: Introduction Overarching strategic principles Land classification Site prioritisation Area by area priorities Ainsdale Aintree Bootle Crosby Formby Litherland Maghull Melling Netherton Southport The Way Forward Potential funding Summary Appendix 1: Site sheets sites under executive control Appendix 2: plans Appendix 3: Performance Indicators
  3. 3. Introduction The Landscape Development and Management Section is one of the largest land managers within the authority of Sefton. It owns and manages a wide range of sites from sites on the coast, to large Parks and open spaces, to smaller local sites in residential areas. In total, the section manages some 700 ha of land. Management of land sites provides many challenges and opportunities especially in a public context. Over time, significant conscious designs needs to be made as to the development and ongoing management of each facility and features in every site. On a micro scale, features such as play areas, footpaths, fencing etc require regular maintenance a replacement on cyclical basis. Further, open spaces are often made up largely of plant material – living, growing, dying material which requires constant management. On a macro scale, entirely new sites are frequently created whilst other older ones may be disposed of from time to time. The purpose of this document is to guide the resources and efforts of the section with strategic priorities for management and development of this land stock in the future and to inform the allocation of external monies including those generated from s106. In order to achieve this, all sites have been classified within this document, they have then been assessed in terms of their current condition, and their condition when compared to the proposed designation, and sites have then been prioritised on an area by area basis. Basis for development: consultation This strategy has been written in response to a wide variety of sources including current government guidance and legislation, the Unitary Development Plan and associated Supplementary Guidance Notes, professional assessment by officers, and importantly the General Best Value Survey last undertaken in 2003, recent Citizens Panel results and the Leisure Services General Residents Survey 2005. The most comprehensive of the consultation survey was the Leisure Services specific one undertaken in the autumn of 2005. Extract from summary of this document: Mott MacDonald MIS were commissioned by Sefton Leisure Services Department to carry out a ‘General Leisure Survey of Residents’. The survey was conducted to provide baseline information on leisure activities in the Borough and also follow up information to information previously obtained in Sefton Councils General Best value Survey 2003. Two mail outs were carried out one at the beginning of November 2005 and then a further one to those who failed to respond within the set time period was sent at the end of November in an attempt to maximise response rates. Some 749 completed questionnaires were returned by respondents from the 2997 valid addresses which were mailed to after invalid addresses (e.g. gone aways) had been removed giving an overall response rate of 25%.
  4. 4. • Respondents were asked how frequently they had used parks and open spaces in the last twelve months. Three quarters used them in the last six months, and just under one quarter never used them. • Over four fifths of respondents said they felt Sefton’s parks and open spaces were either safe or very safe during the day, whilst just over a tenth felt they were safe at night. • The three most important factors in respondents’ decisions to visit a park/open space were a place to walk, to enjoy the atmosphere, and a place to relax. • When asked which issue mattered most to their enjoyment of parks and open spaces respondents most frequently said feeling safe. Followed by cleanliness, followed by general quality of the environment. • The change most frequently selected as being one respondents would like to see in their local park was better toilet facilities. This was followed by the provision of emergency call points/security cameras, and improved play facilities. • When asked what their main reason was for not visiting any park or open space in Sefton over the last 12 months, one fifth said work commitments, followed by the standard of facilities and being old/infirm. • When asked for comments on what could be done to improve Seftons parks and open spaces, the most popular suggestion, given by three tenths of respondents was regular security patrol. The second most popular suggestion was to keep them clean, given by just over one fifth of respondents, followed by the suggestion to keep them well maintained, given by just under a sixth of respondents. • When asked what their most visited park or open space was over the last 12 months respondents most frequently (three tenths) said Botanic Gardens, just over one tenth said Hesketh Park, followed by Victoria Park, Southport. Overarching strategic principles Its is widely recognised that parks and open spaces offer many crucial benefits to the quality of life for local residents as well as contributing towards the vitality of towns and cities and major national agendas such as social inclusion; Heath and well being; childhood obesity; children’s play and youth diversionary youth activities. Sefton’s parks and open spaces are no different and we must plan how best we can meet the needs of our residents and visitors against the budgets that we manage and what external funding can be attracted to continue to provide the best quality facilities that we can afford. Whilst each and every site requires specific thought and proposals, several overarching strategic priorities have been created to guide the management and development of the overall land stock:
  5. 5. - To increase the quality of spaces more evenly and to avoid sharp contrasts between sites and areas, ie to not provide one excellent space and many others which are very poor - To have the biggest impact, we must rationalise and consolidate sites in order to avoid spreading resources too thinly. This may mean difficult decisions to close several poor sites, but the result should be one better quality site which can serve a wider range and number of the community - Increase the provision for better quality formal pitch sports - Increase the provision of better quality children’s play spaces and opportunities - Increase the provision for older children and young adults - Increase the provision of skate Parks Land classifications: With well over 200 sites under the departments ownership, a classification system is required to assist in rationalisation. As per the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy (1994, and updated in 1998), the following four classifications have been made: Borough scale • Few in number • High profile – marketed and promoted on a borough wide scale • Provide a wide range of facilities (including built facilities with toilets) • Fairly large in size, able to accommodate a large number of visitors (attract over 50,000 visitors per year) • Worth travelling some distance to – serve the whole of the borough (and beyond) • Good community involvement – friends/ user groups • Highly accessible by all • Site specific management and development plan in place • Have green flag status District scale • More in number than the borough scale • Marketed and promoted at a district level (eg local newsletter etc north southport wide etc) • Anticipate visitors from district area only (eg north sefton/ southport wide etc) • Smaller than borough scale, able to accommodate a smaller number of visitors (attract 20,000 - 50,000 visitors per year) • Highly accessible by all • Good community involvement – friends/ user groups • Provide major facilities, but with less of a range than a borough scale facility • Site specific management and development plan in place • Have green flag status
  6. 6. Neighbourhood scale • More frequent than district scale • Marketed and promoted at a neighbourhood level (eg local newsletter etc in Churchtown etc) • Smaller than district scale, able to accommodate a smaller number of visitors (attract up to 10,000 visitors per year) • Anticipate visitors from neighbourhood area only (eg Churchtown etc) • Accessible by all • Some community involvement as appropriate, possible including friends/ user groups • Fewer major facilities • Different neighbourhood scale facilities would provide differing facilities • Site specific management and development plan in place Local scale • Frequent – within walking distance • Not marketed or promoted • Should be many in number • Small range of less intensive facilities • Generic management and development plan Status An assessment has been made for each sites for its existing condition, and comparing this against its proposed designation/ vision. A score has then been assigned each of these as follows: Good Average Poor Very poor Priorities Bearing in mind the status scores described above, each of the sites have then been given a priority score. The order for this prioritisation is as follows: • To address Health and safety issues • To maintain standards and prevent/ stop deterioration • To increase standards/ plug gaps in distribution of spaces Other factors considered in prioritisation: • Condition of existing facilities: This has already been measured in the audit, as described earlier. The existing condition score must have some input into choosing the priorities, but will not be the over-riding factor, as it is important to think
  7. 7. strategically to approach the process in the most fair and beneficial manner. • Number and condition of other facilities in that area: As in the case above, the presence of a reasonable number of high quality facilities in an area will reduce the need to prioritise others in that location for up grading. • Demographic population within the catchment area: It is strategically paramount to upgrade facilities in an area where there is a high number of potential users • Presence or absence of gardens or other facilities in the catchment area In districts with a high proportion of large gardens, or near other open spaces, for example, a lower frequency of public open space may be compensated for by these facilities. Gardens, however, will not provide the range of facilities or social opportunities that are present in a well designed public open space. • local demand for improvements If a certain community has expressed concerns about an open space (or lack of), and is keen to become involved in the process, it is more likely that the project will be successful, and this should raise its priority. In summary, priorities are as follows: • Priority 1 recognised important as space is in need of improvement/ repair, and/ or if prioritisation could attract additional external funding • Priority 2 could be improved to increase function, but where standards are currently reasonable, or where function already provided by neighbouring space • Priority 3 other spaces to be maintained at current standards to maintain the status quo, however may benefit from minor improvements/ investment as resources allow Potential improvements categories: A broad assessment has been made for potential improvements for each space in categories as follows: • Infrastructure footpaths, boundaries, lighting, lakes, street furniture (bins, benches, signage, cycle Parking etc) • Built facilities community centres and pavilions, bowling pavilions, toilets blocks, aviaries etc • Historical features, and other artefacts statues, monuments, bridges etc • Formal sports facilities pitches, tennis courts, bowling greens, croquet lawns
  8. 8. • Play and informal sports equipped play areas, multi use games areas, skate Parks, kickabouts, football corals etc • Vegetation includes management of existing as well as development of new: Trees, shrubs, herbaceous borders and bedding, bulb planting, wildflowers, grassed areas etc Area by area priorities Ainsdale There are eleven sites in this area, and all are of a reasonable standard and do not suffer from high level of vandalism or misuse. Coast and access to English Nature land represents a big asset for this area. Few ‘Parks’ are currently available – Liverpool Road Recreation Ground and Sandbrook Road Recreation Ground represent the best options for upgrading to ‘Park’ status. This will require downgrading the formal sports pitch provision, which will need to be served in other areas (such as Carr Lane Recreation Ground). The remaining spaces are vital, as they are few in number. Priority 1: Ainsdale Lido/ discovery centre Kennilworth Road - proposed local nature reserve Liverpool Road Recreation Ground Priority 2: Pinfold Lane Play Area Sandbrook Road Recreation Ground, and woodland Bootle There are eighteen sites in this area. They are generally poor, suffering from high levels of vandalism and misuse. Many require significant investment to bring them back to a minimum acceptable standard. It should be emphasised also that Parks are of high importance in this densely populated area – many families do not have back gardens or access to transport, and so the local Park presents a key opportunity to spend recreational time in green spaces. The Parks listed as of high importance are the larger district and neighbourhood Parks serving a wide range of the community. Derby Park has a restoration strategy which highlights the need for major investment in its features. North and South Park both received city challenge funding in the late 90’s, but still require an amount of investment to refresh the impact of these works. Priority 1: Bowersdale Park Derby Park North Park South Park
  9. 9. Priority 2: Centenary Gardens Deepdale Park Kings Gardens St Mary’s Gardens Crosby There are nineteen sites within this area, and these are in a variable condition. The biggest site overall is Crosby Coastal Park. It is hoped that this will receive major capital investment via external funding to provide and develop it as a tourist attraction of regional importance. The main ‘district’ scale urban Park in this area is to be Victoria Park, which should be developed as such with a wide range of activities catering for all users. The only formal pitch sports provision in this area is to be at Chaffers Playing Fields thereby releasing other sites for other uses – all other formal pitch provision should be consolidated to this site, and the facilities here should be improved accordingly. Alexandra and Coronation Park should be regarded as complimenting each other – Alexandra catering for quiet, passive recreational activities, whereas Coronation caters for more active informal sports and play activities. Priority 1: Chaffers playing fields Crosby Seafront Gardens (Marine Gardens, Crescent Gardens, Adelaide Gardens and Beech Lawn Gardens) Crosby Coastal Park Potters Barn Park Victoria Park Priority 2: Alexandra Park Coronation Park Moorside Park Formby There are fourteen spaces in Formby, most of which are in a generally good condition. Duke Street Park requires work to establish it as the main Park in the area. This will entail removing the formal pitch provision which currently takes up the vast majority of the space, and providing new infrastructure to provide ‘Park’ features. Deansgate Lane Playing Fields should be further developed as the main site in Formby which caters for formal pitch provision. As this site will need to take much of the capacity from Duke Street Park, the Cable Street end will need to be developed as will the changing facilities. Lifeboat Road Recreation area and beach present an excellent opportunity for development as part of the wider coastal improvements. Priority 1: Deansgate Lane Playing Fields Duke St Park
  10. 10. Lifeboat Road Recreation area and beach Priority 2: Cambridge Road Recreation Ground Smithy Green Playing Field Hightown There are four sites in this area and none suffer from high levels of vandalism or misuse. The main priority highlighted already by community support, is Hightown play area. This site presents the only opportunity for equipped play, and ‘Park’ features’. Priority 1: Hightown children’s play area Litherland There are seventeen sites in this area. They are generally poor, suffering from high levels of vandalism and misuse. Undertaking the works described for the priority 1 sites would effectively ensure a reasonable network of accessible spaces. Hatton Hill Park has received major capital investment in recent years, and completing the works described in the Vision Plan developed in conjunction with the Friends of… group would establish this as the main site in this area. The remaining sites listed below require more complete refurbishment and as such demand a development plan to be drafted in conjunction with the local community. Broad Hey Community Woodland would be a new use/ site. Priority 1: Hatton Hill Park Hapsford Road Park Lonsdale Park Mellanear Park Priority 2: Amos square Broad Hey Community Woodland Kirkstone Park Orrell Mount Park Maghull/ Melling There are only three sites in these areas, the remaining sites being managed directly by the relevant town and parish councils. These sites are geographically removed from the main areas of work within the borough and, as was highlighted by a recent Scrutiny and Review Working Party, are impractical and uneconomical to manage. Investigations should be made into passing these remaining sites over to the town/ parish councils. However, in the meantime, the main priorities for improvement is
  11. 11. Rainbow Park which requires further works to achieve the vision set out in consultation when the park was initially established. Priority 1: Rainbow Park Priority 2: Old Hall Park Netherton (incl Aintree) There are twenty one sites in this area and most suffer from high levels of vandalism and misuse. There are many sites in this area which are listed as priority 1 and 2, this is partly due to existing conditions of the spaces, but also due to the dissection of the area by major roads leading to distinct communities which require their own spaces. Browns Lane Allotments is an under used resource, and it is recommended that this site be partly disposed of to allow the remaining area to be transformed into a community woodland. Ollery Green Playground is in a poor location and in a poor condition. It is recommended that this site be ‘landscaped’ for seating and quiet relaxation, and the adjacent Deerbarn Park be the location of a new play area. Remaining sites require refurbishment, replacement of features reaching the end of their useful life, and the provision of new features to meet current demands. Priority 1: Browns Lane Allotments Deerbarn Park Killen Green Park Marian Park Netherton Activity Centre Playing Fields Ollery Green Playground Priority 2: Abbeyfield Park Buckley Hill Playing Fields Copy Farm Wildlife and Play Area Menai Park Pinfold Cottage St Monica’s Drive Park Southport There are forty six sites in this area, the condition of which vary dramatically, from high profile tourist attraction sites, to low profile parks and open spaces serving only a local community. Depending on the use the sites suffer from varying amounts of vandalism and misuse. Largely the sites listed are those requiring refurbishment, replacement of existing features which have reached the end of their useful life, or to create new features to meet current demands. In addition to this, Town Lane community woodland is listed to provide a use for the old tip site.
  12. 12. Priority 1: Bedford Park Birkdale Frontal Dunes Carr Lane Recreation Ground Hesketh Park Meols Park Rotten Row Town Lane Community Woodland Priority 2: Birkdale Sand hills Botanic Gardens Canning Road Recreation Ground Compton Road Park Crossens Community Park Devonshire Road Park Ferryside Lane Playing Fields Portland Street Playing Fields Preston New Road Recreation Ground Queens Jubilee Trail Russell Road Recreation Ground The Stray Waterloo Road Recreation Ground THE WAY FORWARD There are thirty two priority 1 sites listed within this strategy. Officers estimate the priority 1 sites would benefit from funding in the region of £11.8M {excl Crosby coastal park}. There are a further thirty seven priority 2 sites listed, requiring further funding totalling approximately £5.5M. This clearly represents a huge amount of work to develop schemes, seek community support, and deliver on the ground, and a process of prioritisation is required. The first step in developing the vision and attracting funding is to develop clear vision documents and development plan for each site in conjunction with the local users and community. These document have already been prepared for a number of our sites as follows: Derby Park, Bootle Centenary and Kings Gardens, Bootle Hatton Hill Park, Litherland Kirkstone Park, Netherton Rainbow Park, Melling Hesketh Park, Southport Crossens Community Park, Southport There clearly remain many sites which have not yet been developed in this manner. It is recommended that officer focus in the first instance on the following sites, where
  13. 13. the demand is great, the need for development is urgent, or the chance of drawing down funding is greatest: Liverpool Road Recreation Ground, Ainsdale South Park, Bootle Crosby Marine Gardens, Crosby Crosby Marine Park, Crosby Potters Barn Park, Crosby Victoria Park, Crosby Deansgate Lane Playing Fields, Formby Duke Street Park, Formby Lifeboat Road Recreation Ground, Formby Hightown Childrens Play Area, Hightown Hapsford Road Park, Litherland Mellanear Park, Litherland Marian Park, Netherton Bedford Park, Southport Carr Lane Recreation Ground, Southport Meols Park, Southport Town Lane Community Woodland, Southport Although this may vary from site to site, an average timescale to develop a vision plan and have this agreed by the community and Members, is usually 8-10 months. Clearly the above represents a huge amount of work, and is going to take some years to deliver. POTENTIAL FUNDING Funding is obviously the greatest factor in enabling many improvements listed within this strategy from moving forward. Clearly, the Council does not have all the resources needed to make these improvements and, like many other authorities in the country, will rely upon attracting funding from a number of external sources. The possible sources of external funding might include monies received through the planning process in relation to new development, or from other grant funding opportunities. The Council has been highly successful over recent years in attracting many millions of pounds of funding towards its parks and open spaces including Heritage Lottery Funding; Neighbourhood Regeneration; Single Regeneration Budget; Cleaner Safer Greener funding and the like. This strategy, in taking a long term view at where improvements are needed, sets out the range of possible improvements together with an estimation of the associated costs. There are no guarantees that the level of funding needed will be achieved but the strategy will serve as a ‘marker in the sand’ once agreed as to where monies need to be targeted as a priority.
  14. 14. PERFORMANCE INDICATORS In order to measure the progress towards the vision set out in this strategy, performance indicators are required. Appendix 3 includes details of those proposed at this time. These include those proposed by the Children’s Play Council for play, PSA 8 targets, quality of life indicators, those proposed for continuous improvement planning and monitoring under the new Grounds maintenance contracts and … SUMMARY This strategy has been produced to provide a long term (3 to 5 years) vision for improving our parks and open spaces and a framework for decision making and targeting resources in the future. It sets out a ‘shopping list’ of ideas of what possible improvements could be made, if and when funding becomes available, should local residents and park users agree. It is a draft document and we want everyone to share in shaping the vision, therefore if there are ideas contained within the document that cause concern, or ideas that people wish to put forward for inclusion because they are not there, or simply to support those ideas already laid out, then the opportunity is there for you to make those views known. The strategy once agreed via all Area Committees and the Cabinet Member for Leisure &Tourism, Councillor Lord Ronnie Fearn, will be reviewed each year as to progress made and whether changes need to be made to the priorities set. Details of the contact address for making your views known are as follows Leisure Services Department Magdalen House 30 Trinity Road Bootle L20 3NJ Or