In order to meet the new Council Vision, a strategy which focuses specifically on our parks and greenspaces is highly desirable. This is to ensure that future decisions concerning the management, maintenance and development of the service and its existing greenspace assets is driven by guiding and well-established principles and is supported by robust consultation with valued stakeholders.
[Councillor Goodheart redeclared his Personal Interest during this item]
Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Environmental Services & Strategy Manager introduced the Parks & Cemeteries Manager, who presented the report to Committee. He explained that following the adoption of the new Council Vision, the parks and greenspaces service had taken some time to reflect on how best to meet the relevant Vision themes, which were identified in the Committee report. They felt the drafting of a Parks and Greenspaces Strategy to be critical in setting a clear direction for how the service should be managed going forward. The strategy’s principal focus was on Arun’s own parks and greenspaces. This was important because it put more strategic focus on the value of parks and greenspaces already owned by Arun, thereby laying the blueprint for future management, maintenance and development of the service and its greenspace assets. They proposed to establish and consult on seven key strategic outcomes which were contained within an overall framework, illustrated in the Scoping Report. The strategy would review existing operations and management of the Parks and Greenspaces Service, as well as put in place the mechanisms needed to review how Arun’s parks and greenspaces were used by the public and to implement any necessary changes to meet the outcomes. The strategy would develop practical actions and solutions to deliver the strategic outcomes.
The Parks & Cemeteries Manager explained it was proposed that future Service Delivery Plan indicators were set in place to monitor performance and delivery of the strategy. They would also look to external partners to monitor progress. There would be extensive consultation with valued stakeholders throughout this process, recognising the huge contributions volunteers, concessionaires and community groups had to offer. It was likely that a series of focus groups would then be arranged to determine how to deliver the strategic outcomes. They anticipated presenting a full draft to Committee within 18 months, and there was a draft timetable set out in paragraph 4.8 of the report. He explained that by having a clear strategy built around key outcomes, the service would be able to operate in a modern, dynamic and more engaging way than before. It would establish a more robust pathway to decision making, and it would bring Arun in line with peer authorities.
Members then took part in a question-and-answer session and the following points were made:
The recommendation was proposed by Councillor Chace and seconded by Councillor Bicknell.
That the development and drafting of a Parks and Greenspaces Strategy as per methodology and structure set out in the scoping report, be approved.