MP proposes funding changes for £10m Lee Valley Park
PUBLISHED: 15:29 23 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:56 23 February 2017
The funding of a 26-mile long park that passes through Stratford could change if a parliamentary bill is approved.
Lee Valley Regional Park is currently funded by all 32 London boroughs and runs from East India Dock to Hertfordshire, through seven local authority areas.
Now James Berry, the MP for Kingston and Surbiton, has proposed a motion that any local authority that is not part of the park should not pay for its upkeep.
Speaking in parliament yesterday, he said: “Let me be clear that I have no quarrel with Lee valley regional park; it is an excellent facility, enjoyed by many Londoners.
“My simple contention is that, at a time when councils are having to reduce their parks budgets, it is no longer justifiable for hefty sums to be levied on London boroughs to maintain a park that is miles away and seldom used by their residents.”
He added: “The opportunity to introduce this ten-minute rule bill is timely, because local authorities received their demand from the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority just before the recent recess, on February 10. The 2017-18 levy is £10,186,900.
“It is my contention that the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority should have its statutory power to levy charges on local authorities outside the area in which it sits removed.”
The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority was created by an act of parliament in 1966 to maintain the 10,000 acre area.
The park incorporates some of the sporting venues in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including the Lee Valley Velopark.
A spokesman for Lee Valley Regional Park Authority said: “Lee Valley Regional Park Authority understands the financial pressures local authorities are under.
“In response to this, we have cut the levy paid through council tax, which partly funds our work, for the seventh consecutive year. It is down 40 per cent - some £4.7m – in real terms over this period.
He said that the park had a “demonstrable policy” of increasing the amount of income from other sources and added: “The 10,000 acre park is a regional, not local, asset.”
Mr Berry’s bill is set to be read in parliament for a second time on Friday, March 24.
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