Outdoor art exhibitions, accordion musicians and more community allotments could become a feature of Croydon’s open spaces under a major review of how people use the borough’s parks.
On Monday the council’s cabinet decided to assess current and future demand for borough-run parks, from use of community sports pitches to attracting commercial bidders for local events.
This summer the council will spend four months using focus groups and surveys to ask park users, residents and community groups how they would like parks to offer more activities people want.
Feedback from this summer’s engagement will then be considered over the winter for inclusion in the council’s Parks and Green Spaces Delivery Plan. The council will announce details of this summer’s engagement timetable next month.
Croydon Council looks after almost 2,500 acres of parkland, including eight open spaces that hold the coveted national Green Flag status, as well as 15 directly-held allotments and sports facilities.
Initial suggestions in Monday’s cabinet report included giving volunteers a greater say in how parks are run, encouraging more people to get fitter in the borough’s open spaces, and exploring more ways to attract non-council funding.
Other ideas included:
• Marketing Croydon’s parks to commercial organisers of small-scale cultural events
• Finding more ways for community groups to run council allotments
• Allowing local residents to lease council-run sports pitches
• Creating an interactive map for residents to plan outdoor exercise
• Supporting volunteers’ bids for conservation project funding
• Reviewing the council’s ground and facilities maintenance contracts
“Croydon has 127 parks and open spaces covering a third of the borough, so we believe they should play a more central role in boosting everyone’s lifestyle, whether as a simple place to relax, somewhere to get healthier, or an opportunity to enjoy local culture and wildlife.
“We know that Croydon residents love our open spaces and we’re fortunate to have many parks volunteers and friends groups, so who better to involve in shaping the way they are used for decades to come? I look forward to having this conversation with everyone who shares the council’s ambitions to improve our award-winning parks and open spaces even more.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport