Labour’s Controversial Parks Proposal

Labour’s Controversial Parks Proposal

Labour’s Controversial Parks Proposal Unveiled

 

Kim McGuinness, Labour councillor for Lemington, has admitted that there has been “a notable decline” in the quality of play areas in Newcastle since Labour took control of the council and that it is now “policy to remove play equipment rather than replace it”.

The solution suggested by Cllr McGuinness was the creation of a local park tax.

In her evidence to a Parliamentary Committee, Cllr McGuiness said: “Residents who live close to a well maintained parks benefit from quality green space on their doorstep and increased property prices. A local tax could be targeted at these beneficiaries and the income earmarked to local parks to fund maintenance.”

Car Parking Stealth Tax

Labour councillors very quickly realised that local people would not tolerate such a charge and they are now proposing to hive off the parks to a new arms length body.

One of the sources of funding for this new parks trust will be a massive 920% hike in the revenue from car parking charges at local parks. A new 50p per hour charge at 20 sites will bring in £153,300.

Labour’s park trust will control almost all of the parks, play areas, denes and green spaces local people use across the city. It will also take control of allotments, and introduce a 10% increase in allotment rates.

Doing Less for More

The parks trust will have charitable objectives but, like any organisation, it will need paid staff and infrastructure to support itself.

Council documents reveal that this will cost £282,805 with the trust’s Chief Executive alone costing a whopping £86,783. These infrastructure costs will outstrip the parking stealth charge and allotment rate increases.

Campaigner for Newburn and Woolsington John Gordon said: “Having failed to deliver a local park tax for people living next to a park, it seems Labour will instead raise money from people who have to travel to the nearest park!

“Their new stealth tax will be a kick in the teeth for local families and flies in the face of their claim that they want everyone in the city to enjoy local parks.”

Sign our petition to keep the parks public:

Rethink plans for a parks tax

We, the undersigned, call upon Newcastle City Council to drop its present proposals for the future of Newcastle's parks and green spaces.

Under these proposals, the so-called Charitable Trust Model, £500 per year would be charged to any fitness group using the parks and new members of the parks workforce would have lower wages and reduced pension rights. The new company will employ a well paid chief executive and require other infrastructure to run an organisation. In effect, this is privatisation by the back door.

The proposal includes a plan for a stealth charge on people who have to use their car to get to the closest park. Instead of charging people for living close to a park, this is a local parks tax for people who have to travel to a park.

We believe that all available funding should be put into the maintenance and development of the parks not a chief executive and other infrastructure to run an organisation. We demand that the council suspend its plans for a local parks tax regardless of whether it is aimed at people who live near a park or have to travel to it. Our parks should be retained as a universal service not based on the luck of bus routes or ability to pay to park.

We call upon the council to adopt a model for the future maintenance and development of the parks and green spaces which is more in harmony with public accountability and democracy.

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Which Parks Will Be Affected?

The following sites are all included in the scope of the parks trust:

Principal Parks

  • Armstrong Park
  • Elswick Park
  • Exhibition and Brandling Parks
  • Heaton Park
  • Hodgkin Park
  • Gosforth Central Park
  • Jesmond Dene including Jesmond Vale
  • Leazes Park (including Hoyles Intake)
  • Nuns Moor Park and recreation areas
  • Paddy Freemans and Castle Farm
  • Walker Park

Neighbourhood Parks & Allotments

  • Benwell Nature Park
  • Christon Road
  • City Stadium
  • Fawdon Park
  • Gala Field
  • Harbottle Park
  • Iris Brickfield
  • Kingston Park West
  • North Kenton Park
  • St. Lawrence Park
  • Summerhill Square
  • The Quarry South Gosforth
  • The Spinney
  • Waverley Park
  • Westerhope Park
  • Allotments (51 hectares)

Countryside Parks & Allotments

  • 3 Hills Havanna Nature Reserve
  • Big Waters Nature Reserve
  • Denton Dene South
  • Percy Pit
  • Sugley Dene
  • Tyne Riverside Country Park
  • Walbottle/Throckley Dene (including
    Walbottle Brickworks)
  • Walker Riverside
  • Ouseburn Park

Recreation Grounds

  • Allendale Road
  • Blakelaw Recreation Ground
  • Broadway West & Redhouse Farm
  • Brunswick Recreation
  • Coxlodge Recreation Ground
  • Denton Dene North
  • Denton Dene South (Scotswood Sports
    Centre)
  • Dinnington Recreation Ground
  • Fossway Recreation Ground
  • Hazelrigg Recreation Ground
  • King George V
  • Kingston Park East
  • Manor Park
  • Mckendrick Villas
  • Millers Dene Recreation Ground
  • Norwich Place
  • Swan Hunters Recreation Ground
  • Throckley Recreation Ground
  • Valley View

 

Allotments – updated 19 August 2017

  • Benton – City Stadium Allotments Association, City Stadium
  • Benwell – Benwell Allotment Association, Benwell Lane
  • Benwell – Benwell Homing Pigeons, Conhope Lane
  • Blucher – Blucher Allotment Association, Blucher Terrace
  • Brunswick – Brunswick & Hazlerigg Allotment Association, Walter Street
  • Byker – Lemington Street Pigeons, Lemington Street
  • Byker – St Michael’s Allotment Association, St Michael’s Road
  • Byker – Stephen Street Allotment Association
  • Byker – Walker Road Permanent Allotment Association
  • Cowgate – Greenhill View Allotment Association
  • Denton Burn – Denton Dene Allotment Association, Off Denton Road
  • Denton Burn – BCT Allotment Association, Burnopfield Gardens
  • Elswick – Gloucester Road Allotment Association, Normanton Terrace
  • Elswick – Tweed Street Allotment Association
  • Fawdon – Coxlodge Allotment Association, Kenton Road
  • Fenham – Denton Bank Allotment Association, Ancroft Place
  • Fenham – Fenham Model Allotment Association, Fenham Hall Drive
  • Gosforth – Beaumont Terrace Allotment Association, Christon Road
  • Gosforth – High West Jesmond Allotment Association, Woodthorne Road
  • Gosforth – Rectory Road Allotment Association
  • Gosforth – Ridgewood Terrace Allotment Association
  • Gosforth – Salters Lane Allotment Association
  • Gosforth – Three Mile Allotment Association, Great North Road
  • Gosforth – Triangle Allotment Association, Ilford Road
  • Gosforth – Woodlea Gardens Allotment Association
  • Grange – Norham Road Allotment Association
  • Hazlerigg – Brunswick & Hazlerigg Allotment Association, Strawberry Terrace
  • Heaton – Armstrong Allotment Association, Crompton Road
  • Heaton – Iris Brickfield Allotment Association, Rothbury Terrace
  • Heaton – St Gabriel’s Allotment Association, Ivymount Road
  • High Heaton – Thropton Terrace
  • Jesmond – Highbury South Allotment Association
  • Jesmond – Little Moor Allotment Association, Ilford Road
  • Jesmond – Stotes Hall Allotment Association, Jesmond Dene Road
  • Lemington – Lemington Allotment Association, Union Hall Road
  • Manor Park – Fairways Allotment Association
  • Newbiggin Hall – Newbiggin Hall Allotment Association, Etal Lane
  • Newburn – Blayney Row Allotment Association, Blayney Row
  • Newburn – Westmacott Street Allotment Association
  • North Heaton – Craster Terrace Allotment Association, Craster Terrace
  • North Heaton – Duxfield East & Duxfield West Allotment Assocations, Duxfield
  • North Kenton – Sheringham Avenue Allotments Association
  • Sandyford – Chelmsford Grove Allotment Association, Chelmsford Grove
  • Sandyford – Greenwater Pool Allotment Association, Ouseburn Road
  • Sandyford – New Heaton Invitation Flying Club, Jesmond Vale
  • Sandyford – Premier Allotment Association, Jesmond Vale
  • Sandyford – School House Allotment Association, Jesmond Vale
  • Sandyford – Woodbine Terrace Allotment Association, Jesmond Vale
  • Walbottle – Dene Terrace Allotment Association
  • Walbottle – Richmond Terrace Allotment Association, Grove Road
  • Walker – Branxton Crescent A Allotment Association & Branxton Crescent B Allotment Association, Branxton Crescent A & B
  • Walker – Hexham Avenue Allotment Association, Hexham Avenue
  • Walker – St Anthony’s Allotment Association
  • Walker – Walkergate 3A Allotment Association, Wellbeck Road
  • Walkergate – Keebledale Pigeons, Keebledale Avenue
  • Walkergate – Walkergate 3B Allotment Association, Scrogg Road
  • Walkergate – Walkergate Hospital Allotment Association, Benfield Road
  • Walkergate – Whinneyfield Road Allotment Association
  • West City – Skinnerburn Road Pigeons
  • West Denton – West Denton Allotment Association, Longstone Square
  • Wingrove – Moorside Allotment Association, Fenham Hall Drive

Individual Sites:

  • Walkergate – Alderwood Crescent (plots 1 – 3)
  • Walker – Back Byker Street (plots 1 & 2)
  • Walker – Birch Terrace (ind rear of 11 & 12 and plots 1 & 2)
  • Lemington – Dene Gardens (plots 1 – 6)
  • Newburn – Dukes Cottages (plots 1 & 2 and ind)
  • Gosforth – Ebba Walk (plot 1)
  • Gosforth – Glanton Wynd (plot 1)
  • Gosforth – Hadricks Mill Court (plot 1)
  • Coxlodge – Hutton / West Street (plot 1)
  • Newburn – Percy Terrace (plot 1a, 1b, 2, 3a, 3b, 5 – 10)
  • Byker – Thorne Terrace (plots 1 & 2)
  • Byker – Wellbeck Road (2 plots)
  • South West Denton – Wallington Drive (plot 1)
  • Byker – Tweedy Terrace (plot 1)
  • Gosforth – Kielder Way (plot 1 & 3)

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