As a national pastime every summer, National Picnic Week aims to provide picnic tips, picnic hotspots, and everything surrounding picnics to help the nation roll out their picnic rugs and embrace British summertime wherever you are.
Love Leeds Parks is a charity which supports community-led enhancements to public green spaces in Leeds. The Forum is represented on the Board of Trustees by Forum Chair, Lynda Kitching. The charity has been set up to enable local people, visitors and businesses to support our green spaces so that they can be enjoyed by this and future generations. The ‘Give a Little Back’ fundraising campaign will provide grants for community groups and targeted projects across Leeds. www.loveleedsparks.org.uk
o For non urgent issues and to pass on information, call West Yorkshire Police on 101. o In an emergency (if a crime is in progress or you think the offenders are near by), call 999. o To give information anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. o Specific information can be reported to local police using email@example.com
You can also use the WYP website which provides online forms and useful information https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/report-it Please be careful if you gather information, please keep your distance from offenders, please stay safe.
Plantlife tells us that ‘simply not cutting your grass this month can result in enough nectar for 10 times more bees and other pollinators! The highest production of nectar-producing flowers was on grass cut every 4 weeks.’
Parks and green space in general are protected by planning policy as set out in the core strategy and in particular policies g3 to g6. These policies not only seek to protect and improve existing green space but also provide for new parks and green space in areas where it is deficient or where there is significant growth. Many parks in the outer areas of the city are further protected as they form part of the greenbelt.
The Council has already participated in undertaking Fields in Trust ‘Deeds of Dedication’ for a number of parks and green spaces in Leeds, usually to coincide with national celebrative or commemorative events. Most notably this involved the designation of 8 sites (approved by Executive Board in 2012) as part of the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Fields’ scheme which celebrated the Diamond Jubilee, London Olympic and Paralympic Games and 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Whilst the fee for registration of the deed with the Land Registry may be small, there are legal costs and considerable officer time associated with establishing ownership, determining the land boundary, researching existing restrictions or covenants and then dealing with potential issues that may arise. Any decision to undertake a Fields in Trust Deed of Dedication must therefore take account of the cost involved weighed against the benefit that such additional protection could provide. In most cases if funds are made available then the preference is to allocate them to physical site improvements rather than incur legal costs associated with further protection.
The enormous value of parks and open spaces, which have provided life-affirming beauty, greenery, opportunity for exercise and space for quiet reflection throughout the lock-down, along with Forum members who work so hard to help keep them in great shape, has been recognised in the award of a ‘Local Legends’ virtual blue plaque by Leeds Civic Trust.
Chair of Leeds Parks & Green Spaces Forum, Lynda Kitching, says:
It is so heartening that the work of volunteers across the city is being appreciated. Many groups are emerging as restrictions are lifted, having figured out new ways of working safely, just glad to be together again. I must pay tribute to Leeds City Council’s Parks dept staff who are working at 65% capacity right now, but still managing to cut grass and do other essential work in our parks and green spaces.
We hope that people will continue to appreciate those green spaces of Leeds – perhaps join a Friends group in their area, or form a new group to help keep a piece of green space tidy and loved.
The Forum was nominated for a plaque by Garance Rawinski, who lives close to Leeds city centre:
I have been out and about on my bike checking out our parks – really good for those endorphins: Roundhay Park, Temple Newsam, Potternewton and Meanwood parks, Woodhouse Moor and Holbeck Moor. It’s been great since, although I knew of them, I’d never spent time in any of them on my own, able to snoop around and see more. What struck me most was what great condition almost all were in (mowed grass, bins emptied, beds tended). A joy actually, – it could have been a disaster with all the other things going on at the moment. So a virtual plaque was a suggestion from the heart. The wonderful parks and green spaces have kept me going over the past few weeks, and from what I see, many others have also been thankful for the care and attention given to them.