Countryside Services consultation 2016

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Purpose The county council continues to face an unprecedented financial challenge. Over the next five years to 2020/21 the council needs to make savings of 262m on top of those agreed within previous budget processes. This extremely difficult financial picture is the result of continued cuts in funding by Government, rising costs and rising demand for key services.

Based on current spending and forecast demand for services, the council will not have sufficient financial resources to meet its statutory obligations by April 2018, even if we no longer continue to deliver any of the non-statutory services. The council will need to rely heavily on reserves in order to set a balanced budget for 2016/17 and 2017/18.

The provision and maintenance of countryside sites is not a statutory requirement and it is proposed that Lancashire County Council ceases to provide this service in April 2018. We will be looking for new ways to manage the countryside estate and will be working with partners, other organisations and local people to explore a range of options to ensure that the key sites will continue to be available and well looked after for visitors.

The county council owns and manages a range of green spaces across the county. Countryside Services looks after sites including country parks at Wycoller (Colne), Beacon Fell (Preston) and Lee Quarry (Rossendale). Other sites include Crook O' Lune (Lancaster), Conder Green (Lancaster), Spring Wood (Whalley) and Marles Wood (Ribble Valley).

There are also many sites close to urban areas, the result of the county's land reclamation and tree planting programmes, eg Rowley (Burnley), Townley (Burnley), Woodnook Vale (Accrington), Preston Junction (South Ribble) and Fleetwood Marsh (Wyre). These green spaces provide the opportunity and incentive for physical exercise such as walking and cycling, with the associated benefits to the physical and mental health of the population.

There are over 90 sites across the county, which are listed in the document below.

In addition to day-to-day maintenance of sites, including dealing with litter and vandalism, the Ranger Service provides an annual events programme, environmental education for schools and other groups, supports over 100 volunteer rangers, provides trampers (all terrain mobility scooters) for people with disabilities or mobility problems at a number of sites, and provide advice and guidance to the many visitors.

We are seeking your views on the proposal that the county council no longer provides the countryside service and new ways of looking after the sites are found.
Subject Countryside services
Commissioned by Countryside Services
Geographic area All of Lancashire
Method Questionnaire - online
Questionnaire - postal
Consultation with General public
Date 04/01/2016 - 27/03/2016
Undertaken by Countryside Services

Project document(s)

Report(s)

Contact information

For more information about this research contact:

0300 123 6701

Email: haveyoursay@lancashire.gov.uk

Related information

If you are interested in taking over this service and/or its buildings then please complete the expressions of interest form for community ownership of assets and community service provision.
http://www3.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/consultation/responses/response.asp?ID=285