Resignations from the Landscape Institute

Resignation of prominent parks managers from Landscape Institute

7 June 2022,

Parks Management Association chair Paul Rabbitts, head of parks at Southend Borough Council, and two more senior parks figures have resigned from the Landscape Institute.

Rabbitts said that he, Ian Baggott, Eddie Curry, Chris Worman and Sue Ireland were invited into the LI by former CEO Dan Cook as Fellows to assist with the potential integration and introduction of parks management professionals into the LI, assisting with competency frameworks which Baggott and Rabbitts “spent many hours on, attending meetings, joining groups and liaising with the LI generally”.

However, “this was years ago and sadly there has been absolutely no progress”. Now, as well as Rabbitts, Baggott and Curry have also resigned.

Rabbitts told HortWeek: “They promised so much and delivered nothing for park managers. As a once qualified landscape architect who spent so many years practicing in the public sector, the LI never gave any value to those working in that sector – it was so private sector-orientated. It was really never going to be any different with local authority park managers. I never quite understood why they bothered bringing in the likes of myself, Chris Worman, Eddie Curry and Ian Baggott. With the staff resource they have compared to the Chartered Institute of Horticulture for example, nothing ever progressed and there were and continue to be countless excuses for inaction and delays. A few of us did so much more in establishing the Parks Management Association! Think what we could achieve with a single staff resource!”

In 2020 the LI took over the Parks Alliance, promising a home for the professional body. Horticulture Week set up The Parks Alliance in 2013 to fill a void left in campaigning for the greenspace sector. The LI subsequently set up the The Parks and Green Space Network as a “collaborative, inclusive body providing sector leadership for parks, representing and empowering the people that create, maintain, invest in, and use our green spaces”.

Rabbitts said the LI Parks Network is not well established: “The membership consists of a small number of parks professionals and primarily landscape architects. It has failed. I am now told that the parks/landscape management competency programme is now delayed by 12-18 months due to an operational infrastructure process. The LI brought n some of the most respected parks professionals into the LI to develop this and has ignored them for the last two years”.

The Landscape Institute was contacted for comment.