Liverpool City Council announces ambitious plans to protect all parks in the city forever

Liverpool City Council will retain ownership of the green spaces and continue to be responsible for the maintenance of all the parks. Credit: Anthony Beyga

Liverpool City Council has revealed plans which will mean no park in Liverpool can ever be built on or sold off.

The protection prevents the outdoor areas from being built on or sold off and covers 100 of the regions popular parks and green spaces, all adding up to 1039 hectares.

The current acting Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Wendy Simon, will make the plans official on Friday 19 March at the Cabinet meeting. 

She said said: "Liverpool is blessed to have so many stunning green spaces, and this new initiative means we can ensure everyone has access to free, local outdoor spaces for sport, play and recreation, forever.

"The health, wellbeing and community benefits these locations deliver are priceless, demonstrated so clearly during this pandemic where they have become such a central and important part of our lives.

"And the benefits aren't just health related. Access to green spaces improves our neighbourhoods, tackles climate change, supports education and economic growth and they frequently become the stage on which we host many of our hugely popular cultural celebrations.”

The council’s project is in partnership with the Fields in Trust charity.

The acting mayor says the collaboration is ‘groundbreaking’ and classes the scheme as a ‘forward-thinking approach’ to protecting Liverpool’s parks.

"We welcome this pioneering commitment by Liverpool City Council to recognise the proven physical and mental health benefits of local parks.

"These are valuable places; places where we can all move, breathe, run and play.

"We need to champion and support these precious spaces by protecting them for future generations to enjoy. Because once lost, they are lost forever."

Liverpool City Council will be the first local authority to take on this task and adopt this vision. The landmark decision also supports the vision that every resident will live no more than ten minutes away from high quality green spaces.

This new commitment will protect green spaces in every one of Liverpool's 30 wards which will remain as green spaces forever.

This is vital when, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 1 in 6 people in Liverpool (16%) have no access to a private or shared garden.

Examples of green spaces include:

  • A small neighbourhood park

  • A football pitch 

  • Play area

Basically, anywhere that allows people to exercise, play or relax and unwind. 

For the first part of the process, Fields in Trust carried out an in-depth strategic review to identify the spaces which have the most potential to improve physical and mental wellbeing across Liverpool.

It will mean 60% of the city’s green spaces, or 20 areas, will be protected in the first 12 months. 

By the end of the process, more than 1,000 hectares of land should be protected. 

Chrisie Byrne, Chair of Liverpool Parks Friends Forum said: "We are extremely proud to have been part of this historic moment in the history of Liverpool's parks, working alongside Liverpool City Council and Fields in trust.

She added: "Never before has any city council in the UK secured 100 per cent of its parks this way, and we hope that other cities follow Liverpool's lead to protect theirs for their communities.

"We would like to thank Liverpool City Council, Fields In Trust and Ian Byrne MP who have all helped us to bring this to fruition."

Through partnership work, this decision will secure the future of dozens of much-loved parks and green spaces across the city in a phased approach which aims to be completed by the end of 2023.