We have welcomed the new grant scheme for establishing, restoring and renovating open spaces. Launched by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Pocket Parks Plus provides match funding to communities who want to create small spaces for local people to enjoy. Applications must be made by 25 January 2019.
The land can be any size up to 0.4 hectares and can be natural or formal, or a mixture. The grants are available via local authorities to community groups throughout England.
We believe strongly in the value of open spaces, however small, close to where people live, for quiet relaxation and refreshment, health and well-being. This initiative contributes to that goal.
The society encourages communities to gather evidence of use to register land as town or village greens: they need to demonstrate at least 20 years’ uninterrupted use without challenge before applying to register the land. But where such evidence is not available, there need to be other means of creating and protecting open spaces.
Pocket Parks Plus will enable people to create small spaces close to where they live, or to improve existing spaces; they might even be able to buy a piece of land and register it as a town or village green to protect it for ever and give local people rights of recreation there.
We are unclear whether designation as a Pocket Park Plus will protect the land in perpetuity. We hope that the MHCLG will clarify the status of the land, as it is essential that our vital open spaces are protected for all time.