“Us” is not the Southampton Common Forum’s Management Committee -
“Your Common -
The demographics of Southampton are changing; official figures show that the City population is rising fast, from 239700 in 2010 to 249,500 in 2015 and it is projected to rise to 259600 by 2020. As well as total numbers, the age distribution is also changing and pressure on housing stock means that many more City residents are, and will be, living in flats with little or no personal amenity space. As a consequence, open public spaces are becoming increasingly important in meeting social, leisure and basic health / fitness needs for ever larger numbers of City residents and those spaces need to evolve and adapt to meet these needs. At the same time, local government funding is being squeezed hard and many local authorities, including Southampton, are needing to make drastic cuts to service provision. Unfortunately, parks and open spaces fall within non-
Southampton is not alone in facing this problem, it is recognised, both at governmental level and by national lobby groups, that parks are under real threat (see RHS box for recent data).
This is where Southampton Common Forum fits in. In February 2016, local resident associations adjacent to the Common and allied local groups with a historical interest in The Common joined forces to establish the forum as a community voice to represent all Common users and to work with Councils to explore, develop and realise the new ways of funding and managing The Common which are needed in today’s economic climate, ensuring that The Common remains a cherished place in the hearts of Southampton residents for generations to come and is managed to appropriately meet those needs.
The Forum’s Management committee have identified 3 initial priorities to develop to kick start this process:
The Forum’s Management Committee can’t do this alone, we need help from you; sharing your thoughts and ideas with us through public meetings, online surveys and the such like, spreading the word about the Forum to raise awareness, membership and representation and directly volunteering to help on steering groups and in practical projects. We need both “bums on seats” and “bums off seats”, working with us on the ground.
Please do get involved, in whatever way you are able to
Strategic Plan for The Common
In December 2018, Southampton City Council adopted a new Strategic Plan for The Common, which was largely driven by the conclusions of a large survey of Common users undertaken by SCF and launched at our February 2019 Public Meeting. The final draft incorporated feedback from both SCF’s “early view” consultation exercise and Council’s own public engagement exercise and provides a bold and exciting vision for the future of The Common (more).
The state of the Nation’s parks
In 11th February 2017, the House of Commons Select Committee on Communities and Local Government published its report on its enquiry into the state of the nations parks. The report flagged up to Government the serious effect that cuts in local government spending were having on the state of the nation’s parks and the knock on adverse affect this was having on the delivery of core government policies especially those related to health.
Find out more about the enquiry here.
Read the submitted evidence here.
Download the final report here.
In 2016, the Heritage Lottery Fund commissioned its own survey and report into the state of the nation’s parks. This showed a growing deficit between the rising use of parks and the declining resources that are available to manage them. It concluded that, without urgent action, the continuing downward trend in the condition of many of our most treasured parks and green spaces is set to continue and that new ways of working and generating income and shared learning and collaboration are needed to support those who manage public parks. New ways of funding and managing public parks are needed to avert a crisis.
Copyright © Southampton Common Forum -
Copyright © Southampton Common Forum -
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