Project Reports

A Parks Improvement District in Camden

The Council’s proposal to establish a Parks Improvement District to cover 9 squares & gardens in London’s historic Bloomsbury was one of 11 projects funded as part of the ‘Rethinking Parks’ programme.

The issue for the London Borough of Camden, and a common concern for all local authorities, is how to maintain their parks and green space services whilst facing substantial budget cuts. As austerity continues to put pressure on budgets, Parks Improvement Districts (PIDs) have been proposed as a model for funding improvements in parks, squares and the wider public realm. The PID could be created using the Business Improvement District regulations and would secure additional funding for parks and green spaces from the a levy on local business rates.

Shared Assets was commissioned to develop a detailed proposal and business model for the UK’s first PID. We undertook a baseline analysis of each of the nine sites, bringing together and reviewing existing data, interviewing local residents, businesses and institutions, and conducting a survey of park users. We developed a detailed proposal for a PID based on a short term levy on local business rates. We calculated that a levy would provide sufficient income to enable investment in all nine sites in order to improve their potential for ongoing revenue generation, and to establish an endowment to create a long term investment income. 

 

"Shared Assets were extremely professional and very proactive in identifying the issues around the Bloomsbury Squares and providing recommendations on how we could tackle them. Their clear enthusiasm for the subject and finding solutions was very evident and their work has provided us with a comprehensive and sound basis for taking the project forward. I would highly recommend Shared Assets to prospective clients" - Shirley Blake, London Borough of Camden

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