A Freedom of Information Request by Pulse Politics has exclusively revealed that since the 2013/14 financial year, Preston City Council has closed down almost 10% of its recreational spaces.
The Council, currently facing major financial issues, has shut down 11 parks in the last two years, citing “larger parks being of better value” as the logic behind their closures.
The parks closed were smaller ones, which are more likely to be found in impoverished communities. The Ribbleton area, in the east of the city, fell victim to a closure. One of the most underprivileged in the city, Ribbleton has a 9.8% carer population, and 28.8% of the population possess no formal qualifications whatsoever.
Financial difficulties for families in areas such as Ribbleton often stop parents being able to afford public transport into the City Centre to use larger parks such as Avenham Park and Moor Park. Ribbleton does have a large park, but this backs onto a cemetery, and is not to the same standard that Preston’s ‘flagship parks’ are.
The parks budget at Preston City Council has dropped by over £200,000 in the last four years, whilst spending on housing in the private sector has soared by almost as much.