Wildlife and Grassland Strategy – Cheshire West and Chester Council
Managing grassland strategically
Wildlife and Grassland Strategy - Cheshire West and Chester Council
I have attached a recent document that was sent to all our Ward members, and will detail how we are making changes to the landscape here in Cheshire West and Chester, as a result of our recent Wildflower and Grassland strategy. We produced 45 bespoke packs for each of the Borough Wards, and asked Ward members to pick an area to change from a preidentified list. The phase 1 desktop exercise has been a great success, and we are now moving into the implementation stage. The packs will be updated each year, and Ward members asked to identify areas for change each year over the next 5 years. This is in conjunction with Chester Zoo, and there is more detailed info within the document. This strategy focusses on land managed under the responsibility of Cheshire West and Chester Council and aims to provide a framework for improving biodiversity and pollinator value of their land, whilst at the same time aiming to reduce management costs. It will also aim to raise awareness of the plight of pollinators and their importance (as well as biodiversity in general); provide advice around wildlife friendly gardening; highlight best practice and case studies; identify funding opportunities; and provide an action plan which includes working with partners and the community, to not only improve Council land, but also the wider area within the District.
In addition to the above, the Parks and Greenspace strategy was singed off at the same time. This strategy focuses on Parks and greenspaces being a vital part of the District providing spaces to help improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of residents and attracting visitors to the area. The State of the UK’s Public Parks suggests that in the UK 34 million people visit a park regularly but they are not a statutory function of the council, however most Councils provide and maintain them because they recognise how important they are. Maintaining and investing in these is getting more difficult as council budgets are tightening and getting smaller. Since 2010 the Council has seen a reduction in its budgets of more then £330 million. This means changing the way we manage our spaces in the future, for example, by working more with the community, increasing income from our parks and greenspaces, creating more partnerships and making our services more efficient. All this is to be done alongside making our spaces more attractive, innovative and sustainable. This strategy focuses on identifying needs and deficiencies of parks and greenspaces and which sites should be prioritised for improvement, in addition to considering income from commercial opportunities. We have also set a KPI to increase our Green Flag portfolio year on year.
The final strategy was a Play Strategy Review 2020-2024, which updated of the previous Play Strategy for public outdoor play and youth facilities across the Borough. Over the last four years the Play Strategy has supported the Council to gain £1.67million additional monies to match Council core funding and has facilitated 64 improvement schemes to take place. Work on the strategy will involve updating the qualitative and quantitative information in order to identify changes in coverage, and any gaps in what is currently provided and to report back on the effectiveness of Capital Investment in play since 2016. This strategy update will continue to support investment in our outdoor play and youth sites by attracting external funds.
If you would like more in depth data on the above, follow the link below and got to section 11, it has all the documents and comments from cabinet, plus an easy read version of actions/ outcomes.