In 2016-17 we supported LB Enfield to develop a new parks and events strategy. The aim was to create a local policy framework (including permissions, licensing, fees and charges) for third-party events in borough-owned parks which maintained a sustainable balance between economic and community uses. Enfield’s parks and green paces vary greatly from village greens used for fetes and community events, to Trent Country Park which is used for large-scale ticketed events which contribute significant sums to the local economy – but also present challenges in terms of community impact. The council wanted to work closely with local residents and event holders to create a framework which provided transparency and greater predictability – for example so that local residents could know as long in advance as possible when and how many larger summer events would be held. Event holders also wanted a process which enabled them to know as early as possible whether they would be able to use a park, or whether they would need to find an alternative. Fees and charges also had to be transparent, fair for the type of use, and ensure larger commercial events provided proportionate financial benefit back to the borough.
To produce the strategy we spoke to dozens of stakeholders (including residents and park users) and gathered them together to co-design the strategy with ourselves and council officers. We also undertook research into approaches in other boroughs so that we could show stakeholders how Enfield’s strategy compared with current norms. We also gathered data on the number of events and wider economic impact, so that decisions could be informed by an accurate sense of scale. When concerns were encountered we took time to understand the root causes of those concerns and asked stakeholders for possible solutions.
The resulting strategy is one which provides greater transparency and predictability for all stakeholders, and which recognises the different geographic scales of Enfield’s parks and their different local contexts and identities. For example for the first time it now treats village and town greens differently to other open spaces to reflect their unique history and patterns of use. The strategy also ensures that those communities affected most by large events see income from those events invested locally.
From being commissioned to delivering a draft strategy – including detailed consultation and co-design – took 7 months, and Enfield were able to ratify and publish the strategy shortly after that.
The published document is available online on LB Enfield’s website.
Image: Grovelands Park centenary by James Cridland on Flickr