Wakefield Council’s park investment plans takes step forward

Wakefield Council’s first annual park users’ survey to gather views on people’s experiences of using local parks has now closed.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 1:43 pm
Updated Monday, 5th July 2021, 6:44 pm

Comments and ideas have been received from 1,300 people and Friends Groups on what the Council can do to improve local parks in the future to meet their expectations. The survey also spoke to people who do not normally visit parks to find out why and what would encourage them to do so.

Initial results show that people visit parks more than twice per week with Thornes Park and Wrenthorpe Park being the two most-used places. Residents also said that the parks were important to their health and wellbeing – 94 per cent said they were important for their physical health and 93 per cent said for their mental health.

Asked about features, nearly three-quarters of people said they wanted to see nature and wildlife trails and a near equal number expressed an interest in supporting their local ‘friends of the park’ group.

Thornes Park
Thornes Park

Coun Jack Hemingway, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “Parks and public open spaces have always been precious places for our communities, but this has become even more noticeable over the last year with visitor numbers more than doubling in some of our larger sites. The response to this survey confirms it, as nine out of every 10 people said visiting parks was important to their physical and mental health.

“I am also really pleased to see that nearly three-quarters of people have recognised the benefit of and asked for more nature and wild life trails. Our Investment in Parks and Public Open Spaces as well as our Climate Change Action Plan are both working towards enhancing green spaces for people while also creating more inviting and attractive habitats for nature.

“I look forward to reading the final report in the summer.”

The results are being analysed and expected to be published in the summer and integrated into the Investment in Parks and Public Open Spaces programme.

This year, six out of 10 people asked the Council to invest more money into parks and open spaces and this survey was the first step towards finding out precisely how that investment can be spent.

The council has this year allocated £1.5 million for creating spaces that are central to the health and wellbeing of communities and nature.