30 Jul 2021
It’s Love Parks Week! Our parks and green spaces have been a vital lifeline to many of us throughout the pandemic and many of our schemes have become a vital refuge and a lifeline for friends and family to gather. The importance of good physical and mental health has never been so important and access to quality parks and green spaces are crucial in maintaining a healthy body and mind.
The Landscape Institute (LI) recently published a new report: Greener Recovery – Delivering a sustainable recovery from COVID-19. Calling on the UK Government to use its upcoming Autumn Statement to announce a much-needed investment in parks and green spaces.
The Parks Alliance (TPA) published ‘Making Parks Count’ – the business case for parks setting out why they matter and why they are a ‘smart investment’. The case illustrates how parks in England deliver over £6.6bn of health, climate change and environmental benefits each year including £2.2bn in avoided health costs alone and are worth £140 per year to each urban resident. For every £1 spent on parks in England an estimated £7 in additional value for health and wellbeing and the environment is generated. The case clearly demonstrates that parks are a smart investment. Unfortunately, because these returns have never been properly understood, parks have suffered from years of under-funding and there remain gross inequalities in access to quality green spaces across the country. Making Parks Count presents the case for turning this around. We recognise the importance of the work being done by TPA and the LI as well as others.
Research relating to how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on children’s experience with nature undertaken by Natural England shows that when children reported spending more time outside since coronavirus, 91% said that being in nature made them ‘very happy’. 70% want to spend more time outdoors with friends when things start to get back to normal.
Throughout the pandemic Southern Green has played a leading role in delivery of investment of parks and open spaces, having designed and administered works at the following sites:
- Oxhey Activity Park, Watford - £4m
- Pearson Park, Hull - £3.2m
- North Marine Park, South Shields - £2.6m
- Garston Park, Watford - £600k
- Seaton Delaval Hall, Whitley Bay - £1m
- Hirst Park, Ashington – £2m
- The Canons, Mitcham - £4.5m
- South Cliff Gardens, Scarborough - £4.8m (work in progress)
- Queens Gardens, Hull - £4m (starting on site soon)
- Belsay Hall and Gardens - £1.5m (starting on site soon)
We are fortunate to play a part in refurbishing parks during the pandemic, helping to ensure that our parks and green spaces are designed to provide significant health, climate change and environmental benefits well into the future.