Progress on delivering a Green Spaces Strategy for Watford for 2013-2023
Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
A report was received from the Environmental Services Manager (Parks, Open Spaces & Projects). The ten-year strategy had been adopted in November 2013.
Councillor Scudder introduced the report and described the strategy as a blueprint for green spaces across the town. The report before Cabinet was a progress update on what had been done since the strategy was adopted in 2013.
A short presentation was delivered by the Environmental Services Manager (Parks, Open Spaces and Projects). He highlighted the following:
- Watford Borough Council had outsourced parks and open spaces to Veolia and this was working well.
- The Council had adopted a strategic approach to parks which was something being promoted nationally as best practice.
- The Council had invested in allotments, play areas and parks.
The flagship project was the Cassiobury Park restoration.
- The vision for parks and open spaces was around quality and value
- With regards to allotments there had been an investment of £810,000 across 11 sites. The Council hardly received any complaints on the quality of allotments.
- Play – there were improvements made to many play areas in Watford and vandalism was very low.
- Parks – an example was given of Oxhey Park which had new steps. The entrance to Oxhey Park had been improved and there were new footpaths. There had also been community involvement with the Friends of Oxhey Park and Oxhey Park was now one of the cleanest in the borough. The park had received the Council’s fourth green flag.
- Another example was Callowland Rec. This had previously experienced some anti social behaviour (ASB) and was the only open space in the area. Improvements and investment had been made and the park now had a green flag and there was much less ASB.
A future green flag opportunity was Waterfields Rec as it
had a new entrance and was now landscaped which included some
- The Cassiobury Park restoration project was now at delivery stage. The project included a new Hub and the relocation of the bandstand. There were many activities in Cassiobury with the team which included Debbie and Tabitha. Activities included: bug hunts, young rangers, working in Whippendell Woods, bug hotel, green gym (which also included people with mental health issues), Halloween in Whippendell woods and Jive Swing dancing on the site where the bandstand used to be.
- A meeting had been held with Borras who had been appointed as the contractor. The project would follow a 55 week programme, which was due for completion in April 2017.
- Future plans within the 10 year strategy were to achieve more green flags (Waterfields and North Watford Playing Fields had been submitted). Also working with Veolia for a 9th flag possibly at North Watford Cemetery.
commented that Borras, the contractor
for the Cassiobury Park restoration, was a St Albans firm whose
Managing Director used to live in Watford and was very pleased to
be working on a project with a local connection.
The Mayor continued regarding future projects. She suggested opening up the river as she had been with a group of residents recently who were unaware of the river. There was more that could be done around riverside walks and cycle tracks.
The Mayor explained that the reason for all the investment in parks and open spaces was due to it being raised in consultation as something which the public were proud of and wanted to be good. She was pleased to hear about the reduction in ASB and vandalism. Previously the Mayor would get phone calls or e-mails on this issue but it was now very infrequent. As a former teacher, she felt that if you gave people ownership and high quality they would respect and value it. The Mayor praised the community involvement.
Cabinet thanked the Environmental Services Manager (Parks, Open Spaces and Projects).
notes the progress with the Green Spaces Strategy Action Plan as
appended to the report in Appendix 1.
- notes the progress on the Cassiobury Park project.
Report author: Paul Rabbitts
Publication date: 16/02/2016
Date of decision: 08/02/2016
Decided at meeting: 08/02/2016 - Cabinet
Effective from: 18/02/2016