Over the last few months, Leeds City Council has been looking at a number of options to tackle major financial pressures to establish a sustainable budget for 2023/24. As part of this, consideration was being given to the possible introduction of parking charges at its major parks along with some community parks.

After gauging public opinion and taking feedback into account, the council has now taken the decision not to proceed with consultation on this proposal for its 2023/24 budget. While the financial position remains challenging, we will now be able to propose a balanced budget to Full Council next month without the need to progress this proposal. We may need to revisit new income options in the future due to continuing budget pressures.

There are 63 community parks and 7 major parks in Leeds that are managed and run by the Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service. These green spaces contain a variety of facilities including playgrounds, sport pitches and gardens for local people to enjoy. In total, the service manage and maintain over 4000 hectares of lands. The parks & countryside budget figures for 23/24 are a net managed budget of £10.219m and the council is committed to spending over £39m on its parks and greenspaces over the next 12 months.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council's executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said: “We have a firm commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of people in Leeds and ensuring they have access to parks and greenspaces is key to that. The initial proposals that were scheduled for consultation with the public were to introduce modest charges for car parking at a number of our parks, which would enable improvement works to be carried out as well as contributing to the council’s budgetary pressures.

“However, having listened to the valuable feedback we have received from residents, we will not be progressing this proposal at this time. Nonetheless, the financial outlook for all local authorities remains challenging and further work will need to be done to identify further savings and efficiencies for 2024/25 onwards.”