4 thoughts on “London National Park City – A Miserable Sod’s View

  1. Spike,

    I enjoyed reading this. As one of the people behind the campaign, I thought I’d drop in a few quick replies.

    It’s worth pointing out that the proposal is based on lots of conversations and consultation with lots of different people. It draws together a consensus of views – but it needs to go further and I know it’s not all right. While we campaign for political support, there is at least a year (if not many years) to improve the Charter upon the National Park City would be based.

    On the money… In the proposal we did compare the cost of running the National Park City Partnership to a school or one of the current National Parks.. but the way we arrived at the figure was to estimate how much funding we would need to run an effective organisation, delivering the core services with a representative in each London borough. It’s certainly an ambitious scale – but then making London a National Park City is an ambitious idea and it would be a shame to cut our cloth too small. Boris Bikes are sponsored to the tune of £7 million a year by Santander. While the National Park City may not have this kind of visible imprint in the city, it would not rely on the single revenue stream either. Corporate sponsorship will be one part of the revenue stream, but there are other services that it will be able to provide too. Ultimately the aim of the National Park City will be to grow overall demand for and investment in related industries – increasing the overall size of London’s green cake.

    On the issue of being a charity… We decided to delay the decision on if the Partnership should be a charity or not. It would certainly be a non-profit and asset locked organisation (a social enterprise of sorts), but between the many experts on our steering group and advisory board, there was a split on if the Partnership should be a charity. So, like all of the “Charter” this is open for consultation and we’ll take further advice. So yes, we’ve not made a decision yet.. and for good reason. What do you think?

    On power…. the Partnership must be a broad and welcoming organisation that can include both small community groups and multinational companies. What we must make sure, is that we create a structure in which power does not go to the largest and most affluent of these. We have a year or more to have a conversation and work out the best way to achieve a flat structure that is inclusive and empowering to all. The “Communities of Action” that we have proposed will help with this, as they will agree what goes into the “Bank of Good Ideas” and this will set the tone and direction of investment. This links neatly onto structure and I would be very pleased to hear your ideas on how you think this should work – we have time to get this right.

    What things do you think a National Park City Partnership should (not) do?

    Thanks,

    Dan
    @DanRavenEllison

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  2. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for saying you enjoyed reading the post. Unfortunately this makes me immediately suspicious as it places you in the small minority of people who have claimed similar (consisting mainly of my mum, and I suspect she’s probably lying). Firstly let me preface this by saying I am behind the notion of a National Park City, I think it’s a positive idea and with what I have written there is an element of playing Devil’s Advocate. More to the point, I find it much easier to write cynically than from a position of enthusiasm. I am, as always, hampered by my natural pessimism.

    My points are legitimate concerns, though, and I await to see something with a little more meat to it. It’s a great idea in principal, and I’m not surprised it is gathering large amounts of support. It’s one of those things, (see the RSPB’s #VoteBob movement) that it’s currently very easy for people in power to throw support behind because it doesn’t actually tie them to anything yet. The real test will come when you actually put forward some solid proposals.

    £4m does seem a large amount, that’s 160% of someone like the the London Wildlife Trust, who already do a lot of similar work. I’m not sure how relevant the examples of Boris Bikes, small schools or other National Parks are. I look forward to seeing the breakdown of exactly where this is going and also where it is coming from. As ever with something like this, there is the fear of ‘greenwashing’, particularly if the project ends up relying heavily on corporate sponsorship, as it seems it will, but that’s no different from any other such organisation.

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