Call for self-funding park

The historical levy which forces every London council to fund Lee Valley Park - London Assembly member, Richard Tracey wants to see a change to make it self-funded

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GLA Conservatives' recommendations for Lee Valley Park:

  • The current lack of profitability in the park's key facilities should be reversed so they can make a full and proper financial contribution towards the running of the Park.
  • The level of income raised directly from the park's visitors should be increased to help with the park's running costs.
  • The park authority should work much more closely with charities, business groups and other community groups, creating partnerships wherever possible and amending its formal structures where necessary. This should include exploring new funding opportunities.
  • The park authority should begin work on a self-financing financial model with the aim of ending the compulsory levy from local authorities within five years. Parliament should also legislate to permanently end the levy within that period, with or without the co-operation of the park authority.

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Tracey: 'I see no reason why Lee Valley can't stand on its own two feet'

The Lee Valley Park is a fantastic asset and I see no reason why, financially speaking, it cannot stand on its own two feet.

Borough councils took over its funding when the GLC was abolished in 1986, but this has become an anachronism with bizarre financial consequences for boroughs.

For example the Park had 376,749 visitors from Waltham Forest in 2011/12 and the council contributed £224,309, making for an average cost to the borough per visitor of 60 pence.

Compare this to Merton and Wandsworth, which had an average cost per visitor of around £19.80. Merton had only 11,139 visitors but paid £220,206, and Wandsworth had 18,944 visitors and paid £375,162.

And in Hounslow, the average visitor cost was as high as £39.45.

Clearly this is an inequitable situation that cannot stand. The arrangement siphons off funds from boroughs where they could be spent locally and council tax payers could reap the benefit, or councils could cut their council tax bill.

For example, many of my constituents enjoy the emerging Wandle Valley Regional Park, and this could benefit from additional funds to become fully developed.

At the same time, this report shows that if the Park raised a little more money from its visitors, made better use of its facilities and explored new local partnerships, this contribution from council tax payers would no longer be necessary.

Therefore I am calling on the Government to change the law to end these funding arrangements and I recommend that the Lee Valley Park is given five years to become self-financing.

– London Assembly member Richard Tracey

Call to make Lee Valley Regional Park self-funding

London Assembly member, Richard Tracey today publishes a report calling for London boroughs councils to cease funding the Lee Valley Regional Park in five years with a view to making it self-financing.

The Park, which covers 26 miles from north east London to Essex and Hertfordshire, is part-funded annually by all of London's borough councils under a 1966 Act of Parliament, last year to the tune of £8.9m.

Richard Tracey is calling on the Government to change the law to end these funding arrangements and recommends that the Lee Valley Park is given five years to become self-financing.

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