Consultation launched on green spaces maintenance
16 October 2023
Cheshire East Council is inviting people to have their say on proposals for how green spaces are maintained – including plans that would support wildlife to flourish.
A consultation launched today (16 October) on a draft policy which introduces a maintenance framework for Cheshire East’s green spaces, including parks, sports playing fields, cemeteries, and green spaces within housing estates.
The policy proposes how and when each type of site will be maintained – such as how often grass is mowed, and shrubs and hedges are cut back – so that there is a consistent standard across the borough.
It would deliver opportunities to allow areas to naturally develop into scrubland as a form of rewilding and to enhance areas of no-mow, supporting biodiversity and the council’s pledge to make Cheshire East a carbon neutral borough by 2045.
As part of the consultation, the council is also seeking views on the recommendations from a review which identified more than 400 parcels of land the council is currently maintaining but is not registered as owning.
The council is proposing to classify these sites under three categories, including maintaining specific sites in line with the draft maintenance policy, and giving registered landowners and relevant town councils the option to fund continued maintenance activity.
Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee, said: “We’ve carefully considered which green spaces across the borough offer the greatest value to our communities, and have reflected this in the level of maintenance that’s now being proposed.
“It means that for some areas, such as outdoor sport areas, a higher level of maintenance is proposed, and some lower amenity areas would be maintained less and look more ‘natural’ and less manicured.
“We’ve also considered how in developing these proposals, we can support biodiversity and reduce our impact on the environment.
“For example, mowing some green spaces less regularly means the grass can grow longer, and the natural flora can flourish – providing areas for wildlife to flourish too.”
Cllr Warren added: “The standard of maintenance we currently deliver for certain green spaces across the borough is considerably higher compared to other local authorities in the region. This means that costs are considerably higher too.
“This is not sustainable, nor is continuing to maintain green spaces that we are not registered as owning.
“If the service is to continue to be affordable in the immediate and longer term, it’s essential that we now take a different approach, and I encourage residents to give their feedback on our proposals.”
The consultation runs until 24 November and can be accessed online.
Those taking part will be able to read the draft green spaces maintenance standards policy in full. They will also be able to view and lookup any specific sites and find out the proposed maintenance categorisation for these.
The maintenance policy – which only relates to the parcels of land maintained by the council’s environmental services company Ansa – is required to deliver essential savings included in the council’s adopted medium-term financial strategy.
The council is reporting financial pressures of £12.8m against its 2023/24 budget. Savings have already been identified to reduce this from £26.6m.
The feedback from the consultation will be reviewed before final proposals are developed. A further report will be presented back to committee for a decision to implement the proposals, which is expected to be in February 2024.
Subject to committee’s approval, the new policies would be in place from April 2024.
Anyone wishing to receive the survey or consultation material in an alternative format, or to submit their feedback in a different way, can do this by emailing or calling 0300 123 55 00.