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.
– London Assembly member Richard Tracey
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.