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Knowsley Council leader: ‘We won’t sell the borough’s parks’

The leader of Knowsley Council has confirmed he intends to drop proposals to sell 10% of the borough’s parks.

The council had previously agreed to sell 17 parkland sites for development in order to raise £40 million.

Councillor Graham Morgan now plans set up a charitable trust to manage them in the future.

The proposals, which came as a result of a £1.3m funding shortfall in the parks budget, attracted substantial feedback from the local community.

In November last year, the council’s cabinet agreed to work on proposals to establish a charitable trust to manage the borough’s green spaces from April 2019, which is when council funding for the service was due to run out.

Councillor Graham Morgan

It was proposed that the trust could be established through the sale of 10% of the borough’s green spaces over a 15-year period.

This could create a £40m endowment, the interest from which could be used to manage and maintain the remaining 90% of the sites “forever”.

Councillor Morgan says: “The message from local communities has been loud and clear on this issue – they value our parks too much to lose them.

“With this in mind, I am going to take forward a proposal to reinstate the £1.3m of council funding for the parks and open spaces budget from April 2019.

“We will still have to make savings to balance our budget, and that is not going to be easy, but we know that our residents want us to look elsewhere.”