10th July 2017- By Laura Sharman
Plans to transfer the responsibility of parks and green spaces to a charitable trust in Newcastle would save the council £110m over a 125-year lease agreement.
A new report into the proposal has revealed that the trust would need £9.7m to help maintain the parks for ten years until they become self-financing.
If the plans are approved, it would make Newcastle the first council in the country to transfer its parks to a charitable trust. The council’s cabinet member for culture and communities, Cllr Kim McGuinness, said:
‘‘Although the parks and allotments would be transferred into a Trust, we can reassure people that the council wouldn’t be walking away or selling off the city’s parks as they would still be in public ownership.”
‘’We are the first local authority to attempt this approach. The support, guidance and advice from the Heritage Lottery Fund, National Trust and Social Finance shows how highly regarded this project has become.’’
The council will consider the report next week and, if approved, officers will be asked to work on the financial testing of the model and an implementation plan.