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Agenda item


To review progress on the implementation of the Green and Blue Infrastructure (GBI) Strategy and associated action plan.


Ms Annie Heslop, Green Infrastructure Development Manager introduced the report and highlighted a number of key developments since the last report to the Board in progressing the numerous actions contained within the Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy. She advised that the future priorities included compiling park development plans for each park, increased marketing, improved website and an ecological review of key sites.


Members noted the success of the Park Ranger Scheme and queried whether it could be extended beyond the original BetterStart wards. In response, Ms Heslop advised that the Council was considering how the provision could be increased across the town through adapting the Ranger programme to urban parks and community gardens.


The Board highlighted particular areas of concern, where green space had been flooded and made unusable and potentially dangerous, particularly around Herons Reach and Marton Mere Nature Reserve.  Ms Heslop noted the areas highlighted and advised that a number of council services were looking at changes made by Marton Mere Caravan Park, following concerns raised by Natural England due to the potential wider impact on wildlife and the SSSI status of the site.  Ms Heslop also advised that the town wide Ecological Review that would be undertaken in the next 12 months would include a detailed review and development of a management plan for Marton Mere to ensure the space was managed correctly to maintain and enhance this ecological space.


The actions related to allotments were noted and in response to additional questions, Ms Lisa Arnold, Head of Leisure and Catering Services advised that allotments in Blackpool were currently self-managed and therefore the Council did not hold a list of registered interest. The allotment associations were constituted organisations and the Council worked with them to ensure robust processes were in place. If any new locations were identified within the town for additional allotments these would also be self-managed.


The Board discussed Stanley Park Lake in detail and the issues caused by the fast growing weeds. It was noted that the Council had been unsuccessful thus far in seeking funding to dredge the lake, which was seen as the only way in which the problem would be solved long term. The cost of dredging the lake was noted to be approximately £1 million and the timescale for the work was dependent on when funding became available and when the Council was successful in applying for that funding. It was noted that various angles would be explored when seeking funding included sports grants, historic, flooding and biodiversity due to the prominence of the lake. Members also suggested that the Council seek to utilise social value returns gained through procurement and development for the lake if possible and Ms Heslop agreed to explore this idea with the new Social Value Officer.


The issue of declining numbers of volunteers was also discussed in detail with ideas considered with a view to increase community involvement in the parks. It was suggested that a Parks Foundation would be a useful introduction in order to take responsibility for all open spaces without an already organised parks group in place in order to mobilise individuals.

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