Richmond Council is asking local organisations if they would be interested in managing their local green spaces on behalf of the Council.
Last year, as part of its efficiency programme the Council agreed to move towards commissioning services rather than directly providing them. There has also been a commitment to involve residents in the planning and delivery of services.
Currently the borough’s parks and open spaces are managed by a team of Council officers. As part of this new and pioneering approach the Council is exploring the possibility of entering into formal agreements with community focused local groups and organisations, which would see them take over the day to day management of specific sites.
This management could involve carrying out activities such as removing litter and weeding and planting throughout the year. Groups could also be expected to take on the role of being the first point of contact for the rest of the community and managing any events or sports bookings at each site.
Cllr Virginia Morris, Richmond Council Cabinet for the Environment, said:
“In the All in One survey last year, residents told us how much they value their local parks as the most important service the Council provides. And to reflect this, the Council has made a clear commitment to ensure the quality of the boroughs parks and open spaces remains high.
“In recent years the Council has made a significant investment to improve parks, ensuring that our open spaces are amongst the best in the country. However, we do have to consider more creative ways of providing our services that have a community focus. The priority objective of this approach is to ensure that our sites are maintained to a high standard whilst giving an opportunity to allow the community to actively manage some of our open space.
“At this stage, we would emphasise that we are seeking an initial expression of interest, which will not be considered as a formal commitment from either the group or the Council.
“This is a unique opportunity for local people to work directly with the Council and shape what happens in their local area.”