Maintaining our green spaces

Our Green Spaces Maintenance Standards Policy was approved by the environment and communities committee on 1 February 2024, following a public consultation held in autumn 2023.

The policy will come into effect from 1 April 2024 and provides a framework for how we will maintain green spaces across Cheshire East, including parks, sports playing fields, cemeteries, and green spaces within housing estates.

View maintenance schedules and policy

You can lookup any specific sites you may be interested in, such as your local park, to find out how it will be maintained from 1 April 2024. You can also read the maintenance policy in full.

If you are unable to open the schedule above, you can also view the site schedules in Google sheets.

What maintenance is covered by the policy

The policy sets out how and when we will maintain each type of site – such as how often grass is mowed and shrubs and hedges are cut back, and the level of tree and flower bed planting – so that there is a consistent standard of maintenance.

We have considered which green spaces offer the greatest value to our communities and have reflected this in the level of maintenance we will carry out.

To support out carbon neutral ambitions, our policy supports biodiversity and reduces the impact of maintenance on the environment, such as through allowing some areas to ‘re-wild’, and mowing low amenity areas less often, which means the grass can grow longer, and the natural flora can flourish – providing areas for wildlife to flourish too.

The policy only relates to the parcels of land maintained by the council’s environmental services company, Ansa, and does not cover green spaces included as part of the adopted highway or the larger country parks. These have their own maintenance regimes.

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The maintenance policy will ensure that green spaces across the borough are maintained to a consistent standard, and so that we can support biodiversity and reduce the impact of maintenance on the environment.

The policy, which was consulted on in October 2023 and approved by the environment and communities committee in February 2024, is also required to deliver essential savings so that the service can continue to be affordable in the immediate and longer-term.

As a local council, we are experiencing ‘a perfect storm’ of soaring costs, rising demand, significantly reduced funding from national government, and uncertainty about national decisions and policy.

This means we must continue to look at how we increase income and reduce spending, so that we can protect essential services for those residents most in need.

Following a review, we identified more than 400 green spaces across the borough which we had been maintaining but are not registered as owning.

Following the approval of the Green Spaces Maintenance Standards Policy, from 31 March 2024 we will stop maintaining sites where it is now clear the council is not registered as being the owner.

We will also no longer maintain sites where the council is not the registered owner of the land and it is also not considered to be required for the safe operation of the public highway.

If you want to buy land which has previously been used and maintained as green space, open space, park land, highway verge or highway visibility splay – or any other civic or publicly maintained land or land with designated use – we advise you to proceed cautiously.

You should seek professional and independent planning, surveying, and legal advice about the true value of the land, and whether it can be used for any other purpose or be built on. You should also seek advice about whether it is likely you would be able to get planning permission for any plans you may have for the land.

If you choose not to seek advice and do purchase the land, you may find that you have paid more than the land’s true value, that you cannot use it for the purpose you had intended and could also find that you now hold a land liability and have a requirement to maintain it, including any trees that are on it.

You may also be responsible for any health and safety issues related to keeping the land open to the public and from a highway visibility splay perspective, and you could also find that there are statutory utilities running under it.

As a result, if you try to sell the land at a later date, you may find that you are unable to find a buyer.

If a footpath is not classified as a Public Right of Way, the council does not have a maintenance obligation which would otherwise override the ownership position of the land. It means it cannot simply ‘choose’ to maintain the land.

This is the case for a large number of informal footpath networks across the borough.

Page last reviewed: 09 February 2024