Working to protect and enhance the Lickey Hills and their environs
Very many thanks to everyone who managed to complete the online survey to register their views on the Councilâ€™s proposals to cut the Parks Dept budget by 20% in 2017/18. The survey was long and complicated and required much patience but hopefully the responses will encourage the Council to re-think their original proposals.
The LHS committee made every effort to register their concern about the situation. Letters appeared in the local free press and in the Birmingham Mail. Letters were sent to local councillors and we were delighted and encouraged to receive the support of Longbridge Councillors; Carole Griffiths, Andy Cartwright and Ian Cruise. Two public meetings were held in the newly refurbished community centre at Stirchley Baths. On both occasions, two LHS representatives spoke about the importance of the city parks (especially the Lickeys), the work of the Rangers Service and front-line staff and the massive support given by volunteers. Cllr Lisa Trickett who is Cabinet Committee and Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment, was present at both meetings. Cllr Trickett spoke passionately about parks and green open spaces and she was very aware of the work done by all park staff and the support given by volunteers. The Society was happy to support the efforts made by Sarah Royal and the team at the Birmingham Open Spaces Forum.
The consultation process is now complete and meetings will be held during February and we believe that an announcement about the Budget for 2017/18 will be made in March. We wait in hope to find out about the future for the Country Park, parks throughout the city and the outlook for the future of the Ranger Service and other front line staff.
A coalition of organisations in Birmingham is asking people and businesses to sign a pledge committing to protect the natural environment. Greener Birmingham have united to ensure that the natural environment remains protected at a time when budgets for parks, green spaces and the natural world are reducing.
Georgia Stokes, CEO of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country explained: â€œWe are incredibly fortunate to have an abundance of beautiful parks and green spaces in this city providing places for children to play, opportunities for exercise and for communities to come together, and homes for wildlife. We all benefit from the natural world even in ways we donâ€™t realise including absorption of carbon dioxide and improved air quality, soaking up excess water helping to prevent flooding, and multiple health benefits. Research shows just looking at a green space can help us feel happier and less stressed.
At the moment funding for these essential spaces comes from a small budget from the local authority which is reducing each year. Management of green space does have a cost but the return on that investment is great. We are asking Birmingham City Council to rethink the cuts to the budget for parks that will secure the essential roles of park keepers and rangers.â€
For further information and details on how to take the pledge visit http://www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/news/2016/12/23/greener-birmingham-pledge-natural-environment
You may have seen in the local media that in 2017/18, Birmingham City Council is looking to make cuts of over Â£78million and as a consequence, there is a proposal to cut the budget of the Parks Dept. by 20%.
At the moment these are only proposals - it's not too late to change the plans. The survey closes on 18th January 2017.
It is too early to say how the proposed cuts will affect the Lickey Hills Country Park and city parks in general but we do know that the following are likely:
In reality what might this mean?
Your help is needed to mobilise everyone to have their say on how important our parks and open spaces are, how they affect all our lives and how essential it is that we keep our Parks Staff. With over a half million visitors per year, the Country Park is clearly of important in the lives of many people.
As part of its consultation process, Birmingham City Council has asked for your thoughts on the proposed budget cuts and there are 2 ways to have your say:
Go To a Budget Consultation Meeting - Friday 13th January at 2.30pm â€“ at Stirchley Baths. Booking essential- www.birminghambeheard.org.uk
Fill in the Survey - How to do it - (theyâ€™ve not made it easy)
â€¢ Open the Birmingham City Council website - www.birmingham.gov.uk
â€¢ Follow link to https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/article/44/brumbudget17_have_your_say
â€¢ Give Us Your Views - Follow instructions to start the survey. You may need to give a Birmingham postcode.
Question 1 asks who you represent â€“ you can tick more than one box.
Question 2 asks for your 5 most important services â€“ please put Parks somewhere in the top 5
The committee of the LHS and many other organisations will be doing their best to get their voice heard in opposition to the proposed cuts and we would be grateful for any support that you are able to give.
Please make every effort to help prevent this happening to the Lickey Hills Country Park and all other Birmingham Parks and Open Spaces.
Mike Brooke â€“ Chair: Lickey Hills Society
© 2015 The Lickey Hills Society