Our green spaces are highly valued by Elmbridge Borough Council and the community. They help us relax, play, keep healthy – mentally and physically, they help our children learn and they are what help make Elmbridge a great place to live. Which is why the Council’s 2030 Vision for the borough seeks to enhance our natural environment and highlights the importance of our green spaces.
As part of our commitment to financial sustainability we regularly review our sources of income, which are so important to our budgeting and to funding our services. This includes reviewing the range of income opportunities, and exploring whether there are good ideas from elsewhere that we could use in Elmbridge.
As part of this work on our green spaces we considered options such as hiring spaces for events, commercial activities on the recreation grounds and even charging for parking at our green spaces.
The report being presented to November Cabinet recommends that we do not charge for parking at our green spaces. The report also states that commercial activity and events, are not only well served by other key venues and locations in Elmbridge, but that these events would limit community access to our green spaces. Therefore, it is recommended that we do not take this forward.
We appreciate that while bigger income streams such as parking charges can be detrimental, smaller income streams can and do add value to both the parks and the community. In fact, our green spaces have brought £120K of additional income to the council, through amenities that enhance community enjoyment of our green spaces such as cafes, catering vans and sports club hire.
Cllr Simon Waugh,
Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Commercial Strategy