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Agenda item


To consider an update on work undertaken, future plans and performance of the Park Development Service.


Ms Lisa Arnold, Head of Leisure, Parks and Catering Services, and Ms Annie Heslop, Green Infrastructure Development Manager, presented the Parks and Green Environment Annual Report, which detailed the work undertaken, future plans and the performance of the Parks Development Service.


Ms Heslop informed the Committee that Covid-19 had demonstrated the importance of access to green spaces for leisure and recreation. The service had completed a number of projects during 2020/2021, including the re-opening of Anchorsholme Park which had been closed for five years, the footballing facilities at Fisher Field had also been reopened along with the Layton Recreation Ground.


The Park Ranger Service was also reported as having to change its model of delivery during 2020/2021 due to the restriction on face-to-face contact during lockdown. In order to encourage nature based learning and to help facilitate this with parents for their children, over 10k of printed packs with activities for children to engage with nature had been distribute to schools across Blackpool. The service also organised and ran online activities to maintain and encourage engagement during the lockdown period.


Work had also been undertaken to support the delivery of the Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy, including the development of the Tree Strategy. As part of this work over 4,000 trees had been planted in Blackpool during 2020. In addition to this Ms Heslop informed Members that officers would be creating Park Development Plans for each of the parks in Blackpool. These plans would review the existing individual offer and characteristics of a park and seek to engage the local community in determining what they wanted from their local green spaces.


The Committee queried why no budget information had been provided as part of the Annual Report. Ms Arnold responded that this information had not been supplied as the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown had meant the data was not comparable with previous years and was therefore of limited value in determining the financial position of the service.


Members also asked if details of where trees that had been planted by the Council could be provided. Ms Heslop replied that a list could be provided following the meeting. She added that initially the service had purchased smaller varieties of tree so that in the first stage more could be planted, but that a greater variety would be planted as the programme developed. It was also stated that the Council would look to plant more trees in the town centre in the future.


The type of trees being bought for planting in Blackpool was also discussed by the Committee. It was noted that in previous years diseases such as Dutch Elm and Ash Dyeback had been an issue. Ms Heslop responded that the Council had sought to purchase a wide variety of trees which would increase resilience against disease. She also stated that the location of planting would also inform the purchase of trees, for example those to be planted near to highways would be selected for their ability to absorb carbon.


The Committee agreed that a list of the locations of trees planted in Blackpool be circulated following the meeting.

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