A total of £11.7 million was levied from local authorities in the financial year 2012/13, including £8.7 million from London boroughs and this funding continues to make up the majority of the Lee Valley Regional Park’s income and expenditure. This is according to research done by Richard Tracey of the Greater London Authority Conservatives.
Since its establishment in 1967, the park has been funded by a levy on all London boroughs, together with the whole of Hertfordshire and Essex.
The Lee Valley Regional Park is a 26-mile regional park located in parts of north east London, Hertfordshire and Essex.
The park’s activities include regional sports centres, urban green spaces, country parks, nature reserves, gardens and heritage sites.
An average of 2.4 million Londoners visit the park per year, although visitor numbers vary widely across different boroughs.
Now London Assembly member Richard Tracey is questioning whether this guaranteed annual subsidy from council tax payers should continue.
Local authorities have increasing pressures on their finances, with competing priorities for their limited resources, whilst the Lee Valley area is remote to many London boroughs and their residents.
At the same time, the Lee Valley Regional Park has numerous sporting and leisure facilities, including some of the new Olympic venues that it is due to gain, with considerable economic potential.
Mr Tracey is making the case that it is time for the Lee Valley Regional Park to become entirely self-sufficient.
He thinks that within the next five years, the compulsory levy on local authorities should be phased out, with appropriate changes to legislation, and he thinks the park should become a self-financing operation.
2012/13 council tax levy by local authority:
Barking & Dagenham - £152,409
Barnet - £411,054
Bexley - £242,895
Brent - £282,493
Bromley - £384,879
Camden - £279,485
City of London - £17,419
Croydon - £370,774
Ealing - £343,607
Enfield - £317,008
Greenwich - £232,600
Hackney - £222,072
Hammersmith & Fulham - £229,923
Haringey - £249,710
Harrow - £253,044
Havering - £258,783
Hillingdon - £287,770
Hounslow - £251,783
Islington - £257,757
Kensington & Chelsea - £286,229
Kingston upon Thames - £181,351
Lambeth - £311,565
Lewisham - £255,940
Merton - £214,792
Newham - £221,148
Redbridge - £261,742
Richmond upon Thames - £258,361
Southwark - £287,183
Sutton - £212,852
Tower Hamlets - £260,761
Waltham Forest - £221,834
Wandsworth - £368,506
Westminster - £377,266
Total London - £8,764,992
Hertfordshire - £1,297,949
Essex - £1,536,474
Thurrock - £149,885
Total Levy - £11,749,300
Figures from Richard Tracey of the Greater London Authority Conservatives.
Here are your views on what you think of taxpayers outside the borough funding Lee Valley Regional Park:
- Kimberley Winter-Sullivan: What about a bit of both. Part Funding by the Tax Payer, Part funding privately? Ya never know, but one would think that by creating a joint working partnership, it may not only save money but may also improve the facilities at Lee Valley.
- Warren Scott: I would rather pay for this, that benefits everyone in the Area than that Abu Qatada
- Taylor Vande Zande Smith: Should the public decide, our money, our choice. If only it worked that way...
- Colin Simpson: It's not fair due to the current economic climate and with the cost of food plus electric and gas bills.
- Kaylie Mansfield: tax payers use the park so they should pay towards the park. My boyfriend volunteers his free time for the parks.