The real value of park assets

Parks are often listed on local authority registers of assets as having little or no financial value.

Anyone who has visited a garden centre knows how much trees, shrubs, paving and other landscape features cost. Stocking even a modest garden can set you back hundreds of pounds. So it may come as a shock to learn that most councils value public parks at just £1 each.

Making the invisible visible: the real value of park assets questions why parks are accounted for in a way that does not recognise their financial value. The report examines:

  • how parks are valued for local authority accounts
  • alternative accounting methodologies such as asset management planning
  • the complex relationship between the financial value of a park, its quality and the benefits for people
  • a simple mechanism to capture the wider value of a park to local people - park use as defined by visitor numbers

The report proposes a framework for valuation that gives examples of different assets, indicates where valuation information can be found and shows how to quantify and value these. It calculates the value of both Highbury Fields in Islington and Sefton Park in Liverpool as examples.

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