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AJ readers invited to put pride back in parks


In your editorial 'We should rationalise our open space?' (AJ 8.4.04), you rightly refer to problems associated with parks and open spaces.

Urban parkland is increasingly under threat of falling into decline because of lack of funding and care. Could a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of park owners, town planners, architects and financiers come to the aid of the urban park?

The challenge is to create, design, build, finance and operate in a section of park a tall, thin building that is appreciated, if not positively admired, by local and national stakeholders. A percentage of the rent from the building, perhaps 20 per cent, would be dedicated in perpetuity to the park. The balance of the rent would then be used to pay for designing, building, financing and operating the building, which would be let to residential, commercial or government tenants in accord with planning permission and demand in the market. In due course more than 20 per cent of the rent may be applied to the parkland after the cost of construction has been paid.

It is essential to success that the financial model works, stakeholders are satisfied with the scheme, the building is designed and built well, and there are rigorous controls to prevent funds being channelled away from the park to other uses. The arrangement, if successful, would provide our urban parks with simple, aesthetically pleasing and firm financial ground on which to flourish.

It would be interesting to hear from your readers who would consider participating in such an SPV. Please contact me at 26A Astwood Mews, London SW7 4DE, tel/fax 020 7370 3563, email nickbeyts@aol. com Nicholas Beyts, London

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