London Borough of Camden: Parks Improvement District 2014

Shared Assets was commissioned by London Borough of Camden to develop a detailed proposal and business model for the UK’s first Parks Improvement District (PID) for nine central London squares and gardens. LB Camden wished to explore the potential to use the Business Improvement District regulations to secure additional funding for parks and green spaces from a levy on local business rates.

Shared Assets undertook a baseline analysis of each of the nine sites, bringing together and reviewing existing data, undertaking a condition survey for each site, interviewing local residents, businesses and institutions, and conducting a survey of park users. 

Three children walking through a busy, sunny park.
Image: London Borough of Camden.

After developing and reviewing a range of options for income generation, including consideration of residential levies, sponsorship, leases, concessions and events, 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. 

Outputs included a business plan, five year financial model, a staged implementation plan and recommendations for internal leadership and coordination.

Whilst issues of competition with existing Business Improvement Districts in the area have meant that the PID proposal has not been progressed, the work has resulted in the establishment of a Partnership Board which is following up on our recommendation for a more strategic approach to the management of the squares, and is exploring the potential for establishing a charitable trust to assist in their management.

This work was one of 11 Rethinking Parks projects funded by Nesta, Big Lottery and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

More information on this project can be found here.
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