Types of Open Spaces


Policies Summarised

What have we done so far (2017-2020)?

What’s next 2020 -2023?

Parks & Gardens

1.      Encourage wildlife and habitats to thrive.

2.      Cityparks to operate more commercially.

3.      Park benches improved for greater accessibility.


1.      Increased wildlife locations and biodiversity through reduced maintenance practices. But also created specific features like the returning around 500sqm of meadow grass to the Coronation Garden in Preston Park.  Working with City transport to deliver over 1000 sqm of wildflowers in Valley Gardens Park. Worked with a number of Friend’s Groups to improve their local parks, wildlife and habitats (Queens Park, Withdean, Stanmer, St Anne’s, Moulsecoomb forest garden.)

2.      The slow transfer of sports assets to clubs and organisations will have already saved Cityparks around £100,000. In final negotiations with Kings College to lease parks building (COVID dependant) £10,000 revenue.  Ongoing income from sponsorships or roundabout approximately £6000/year.

3.      Two new bench designs have been tendered and commissioned since 2017 offering a vastly improved access for all. Seating which is higher, more upright and contains at least two arm rest.  Around 40 benches have been added to parks and streets across the city over the last three years.


1.      Less mowing of grass verges and cutting of hedges, more plants allowed to grow to full size reducing the disturbance to wildlife, ongoing.  New major water habitat creation in Wild Park £1.8 million investment from Highways England will be one of the city’s largest Sustainable Urban drainage systems 2021/22.

2.      Cityparks to explore car parking income for more sites 2021/22. Cityparks to partner with café business to reduce toilet and changing rooms liabilities 2021/22. Work with more sports organisations to lease assets - ongoing.

3.      Bench design tender for across the city worth over £100,000 of section 106 investment 2021/23.


4.      Optimise, rationalise and prioritise play across the city.

5.      Introduce more natural play features into playgrounds.

6.      New playground features to last for 15 years without maintenance or come with a maintenance package.

7.      Playgrounds to be designated Smoke free areas


4.      Few opportunities to change playground strategically as the primary challenge is maintenance.

5.      A limited number of wooden animals and carved benches have been added to sites. And contouring of the landscape is encouraging in all play tenders such as at Stanmer and Whitehawk.  However wooded fencing, bark and sand are a future maintenance challenge for Cityparks.

6.      All built site compliant to 15 years standard and are actively looking at warranties and contract’s where this looks it is not complying and will be challenged.

7.      Multiple smoke free signs added by the public health team to a number of playgrounds.


4.      We have undertaken a comprehensive review of our playgrounds and have identified that around 32 of them will need around £2.5m pounds of investment.  At the time of writing around three fifths of this income had been identified, mostly through section 106 but also capital and revenue income.  We will be going to Policy and Resources with a full paper about this in January.

5.      Stanmer Park is likely to have a significant wooden play trail installed if possible. All other new wooden features are to be specified so that the wood doesn’t touch the ground and sits on a metal foot or sleeve.

6.      All tenders will specify 15 years maintenance free requirement for play apparatus.

7.      Check with Public health team if they will continue adding smoke free signs.

Natural Green Spaces

8.      Promote conservation management of habitats.

9.      Encourage investment for public rights of way

10.  Continue to implement wildflower planting

8.      Management conservation ongoing across South Downes. Changing the Chalk programme. BHCC major Contributor to this multi-agency partnership project. Now in Development phase of HLF bid. Continued support of our Local Access Forum – with additional representation for disability access and equestrian access. A new Volunteer Path Warden Scheme, now with 80% coverage of the countryside rights of way network.

9.      64 countryside gates replaced.  3.7km of paths resurfaced at a cost of £169,516. Creation of a new bridleway at Hove Golf and a new footpath at Ovingdean Grange. ROWIP Road Crossing, Wilson Avenue / Roedean Road – new Toucan crossing and cycle path. The creation of urban green spaces, an access for all footpath from Brighton to Devils Dyke and new accessible volunteering and participation opportunities to increase people’s connection with the South Downs and contribute to improving their own health and wellbeing. 46 new waymark posts installed. New online Paths & Green Spaces access map on the council website.  Implementation of the England Coastal Path signage (grant of £12k) – currently underway.

10.  Establishment and management of bee bank. The main achievement is getting the polytunnel permanently sited at Stanmer for wildflower propagation and undertaking professional insect and plant surveying on the 19 existing bee and butterfly banks across BHCC. Polytunnel wildflower video created.


8.      Flagship project for the Living Coast Biosphere restoring 90 hectares of species rich chalk grasslands within the Southdown’s National Park. Waterhall site still being progressed for rewilding.

9.      Changing the Chalk Bid: new multi-user path links to Ditchling Beacon and the Devil’s Dyke. Stanmer Restoration Project – creation of a new circular bridleway route around the park. Three Cornered Copse – bridleway widening and resurfacing (Toads Hole Valley Development). Improvements to ped and cycle crossing of the Dyke Rd crossing of the A27. Surface upgrades of the existing multi-user paths: Falmer Rd and Ditchling Rd south. Highways England bids to improve A27 crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists. SDNPA ‘gateway’ signage on the urban fringe. Access path from Ditchling Road North to Ditchling Bacon to be develop 2022/23.

10.   Creation of 20 new areas of urban green space in The Living Coast using local Downland flora and introducing butterfly species. This project will work with volunteers to propagate wildflowers, and to plant and maintain the new green spaces created.  It will also connect with South Downs Seed Hub at RBG Kew / Wakehurst and new potential collaboration for Black Rock.

Outdoor Sports and Physical Activities

11.  Optimise outdoor sports and physical activities including skateparks and fixed gyms

12.  Invest in artificial pitches.

13.  Work with public health to promote health benefits.

14.  Promote the importance of open and play space health

15.  Support and engage with sports clubs to increase their responsibilities for the management of sports assets.


11.  Hove parks lights upgrade after many years. Saunders park multi use games areas improved with new fencing, new basketball back-boards and a funky new floor surface by local artist.

12.  Hove park artificial pitch completed.

13.  Ongoing work with public health as required.

14.  Work led by public health team ongoing.

15.  Estimated £100,000 saved through sports clubs taking on leases and assets.

11.  MUGA to be improved potentially in either, Moulsecoomb or Coldean between 2021/23. Potentially, new stake park identified for Moulsecoomb 2023.

12.  Need to identify location for new artificial pitches.

13.  Ongoing work led by public health

14.  Ongoing work led by public health

15.  Anticipate another £150,000 of saving made through new lease arrangement of assets transferred to sports clubs by 2022.

Small Grassed Areas

16.  To be managed as natural green spaces and to increase wildlife.

17.  New or modified small grassed areas to act soakaways where this doesn’t conflict with previous policy

16.  Reduce mowing to encourage wildlife has occurred at Hove Park, Benfield, Lagoon, St Ann’s, Preston Park. Reduced mowing was also trialled at St Nicholas Cemetery, but it had to be reversed following needles appearing in the long grass. Hove Cemetery reduced moving without impacting the visual quality of the space and therefore increased biodiversity and wildlife.

17.  Cityparks worked with Planning and transport colleagues to develop SCAPE Sustainable drainage solution for Carden Avenue and Norton Road.  Reduced grass cutting in parks mentioned and on grass verges have assisted in slowing storm water enter the ground.



16.  Trial proposed for Stanmer and Hollingdean are to change grass verges into wildflower areas increasing biodiversity 2021/23. Cityparks will continue to identify grassed areas to increase wildlife and biodiversity.

17.  All the new grass areas converted into wildflower space and meadow grass assist in slowing the impact of rainwater/storms.


18.  Continue to work with the allotment Federation to become more self-sufficient and wherever possible and practical.


18.  Cityparks met with the Federation on a number of occasions to talk about the service. BHAF successfully led on a campaign to raise donations from plot holders which attracted over £5,000 each year. Cityparks invested £15,000 to reduce leaks at two allotment sites in 2017/18, we worked with BHAF and housing  to investigate recycling guttering for plot holders, we offered water butt for plot holders and we explored with councillors water catchment opportunity’s on large buildings near allotments. We also installed a new water system at East Brook Farm.


18.  Work with BHAF and other stakeholders to revitalise develop an Allocations Policy providing greater transparency.  A consultation with plot holders and non-plot holders is being sought through committee. Progress on repairing the  water infrastructure.

Cemeteries and Churchyards







19.  Site to be managed closer to natural green spaces where this doesn’t impact the visitor experience.


19.  Reduced mowing in Hove cemetery creating attractive wildflower areas and increasing biodiversity. Reduced mowing was also trialled at St Nicholas Cemetery, but it had to be reversed following needles appearing in the long grass. 

19.  Work with bereavement service to expand biodiversity and wildflower areas. Working with St Nicholas Church to light building and provide much need handrail up to church on steep path 2021/22. Working toward Woodvale cemetery becoming a Green flag Standard Park 2022/23


City-wide Challenges & Opportunities


Policies Summarised

What have we done so far (2017-2020)?

What’s next 2020 -2023?


20.  Continue investment for control of Elm disease.

21.  Trees to be recognised as a Strategic infrastructure asset.

22.  Use water porous material around trees instead on non-porous surfacing materials.


20.  Filled the vacant position for head of Arboriculture. Invested in consultant to inspect the trees across the city generally to bring service up to statutory standards. Completed tree inspections in all major parks. Contractors brought in to manage out- break of Elm disease in February 2020. Information campaign started to raise the profile of the Elm disease. Worked with Network Rail and surrounding Local Authorities to minimise the impact from outside of the city’s boundaries. Utilised contractors to assist in keeping the disease under control.

21.  Ongoing work with planning to ensure trees are properly represented to compete for Community Infrastructure Levy. Cityparks also secured capital investment to remove street tree stumps and replant new trees. Cityparks provide The Campaign for Rural England with the concept for ‘Plant your Postcode’.

22.  City transport are leading on the use of water porous materials around street trees and have done so at a number of sites such as Valley Gardens, Vouge Gyratory and on Sommerhill Road near St Ann’s Wells Garden. 


20.  Ongoing. There is a concerted effort to develop the Arboricultural in order to increase capacity. Several new positions have been approved and tree planting officers have recently been appointed. The increased capacity of the team will enable a greater focus on preventative work to conserve trees and improve resilience of our tree stock as well as introduce new trees and woodlands.

21.  Ensure we work closely with planning to submit our tree proposal for the Community Infrastructure Levy. This investment will ensure we increase our canopy cover across the city and vary the diversity of our tree species for greater disease resilience.

22.  Continue to work with city transport and on projects promoting water porous materials around trees, which also reduce the risk of Elm tree roots raising up the pavement and tarmac.

Health and wellbeing

23.  Biosphere promoted more to support health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities.


23.  Worked with new Biosphere officer to promote the Living Coast.  Invested in Rights of Way projects to encourage greater walking in the south Downs. Invested in new Stanmer gates to assist public access.  Biosphere embedded into the Stanmer main maps to join the links between the South Downs and the City.  First Biosphere bench carved from tree trunk created at Hollingdean Park promoting local nature creepy crawlies. Worked closely with Special Educational Needs and Disability children and their families to secure enclosed quiet space for them during COVID lockdown in St Anne’s sensory garden, East Brighton tennis courts and East Hill Park walled garden.  Created two new accessible toilet cubicles at Saunders and Dyke Road Park.


23.  Five to ten more benches at Stanmer to be carved from wood promoting the environment, wildlife and heritage.  All of these are to form part of a growing city-wide network to encourage walking 2021/22. Interpretation lecterns at Stanmer to include wider environmental narrative about water, wildlife and animals. Working with Highways England and the south downs to deliver the £1.8m drainage garden to Wild Park 2021/22.  Ambitions to work with GP clinic in Whitehawk, Vale Park and St Anne’s to promote social prescribing volunteering in the local park 2022/23. The dialogue has started for this ambition.


24.  Support the progression of Brighton & Hove’s Historic Built Environment Conservation report 2015.

24.  Completed ten-year plan of heritage projects for Cityparks. Commissioned three conversation management plans for St Nicholas Churchyard, Preston Park and Queens Park. Presented the Draft Tree Strategy to a collection of conservation people in the city.  Restored shelter and the wildflower Centenary Garden in Preston Park and improved access for all through it. Worked with Bereavement Service and local BME organisation to celebrate historic figure at Woodvale Cemetery which made national press. Worked with volunteers, public and specialist to recorded oral histories of people who lived and worked around Stanmer Park.


24.  Complete Stanmer Park. Consider undertaking Lottery applications for: St Nicholas churchyard tombstones 2021/23, all of Preston parks historic features 2022/23, Woodvale cemetery as a park, Queens Park waterfall area and historic features, Tarner parks lookout tower. Potential lottery application needed for the Traditional Agricultural buildings which are now needing significantly more investment to restore 2022/23. If all of the lottery bids were successful, this would be around £10-15m of new work to manage.

Anti-social behaviour

25.  See Brighton and Hove Community safety Strategy 201/20

25.  Ongoing work with Community Safety and the Police to address ASB in parks. 


25.  Continue to work with related services to tackle drug use and ASB in parks.

Litter & Dog fouling

26.  Adopt the national strategy on litter being produced by government in England.

26.  Cityparks are working with city clean to review the optimum emptying of parks bins by the services. Large 1100 litre bins trialled at the Level for mechanical truck emptying but note, these larger bins attract unwanted domestic and commercial waste.


26.  Ongoing review of waste in parks.  Trial to locate the three recycling bins on the sea front in parks to be progressed 2021/22.  Await review of role of environmental enforcement officers and field officers to maximise the effectiveness between the differing officers.


Public realm

27.  Integrated design approach to be adopted for the development of streets linked to parks and open spaces.

28.  All benches to meet minimum design standards for equitable seating, promoting accessibility for the widest range of users.

29.  A general principle of tarmac as the preferred material for parks and streetscapes where water porous surfaces are not feasible.


27.   City Transport working with Cityparks have added a number of improve crossings to parks such as around St Anne’s Garden and East Brighton Park and the new Valley Gardens scheme.

28.   Most new seating in parks and on streets is complying to the Cityparks design guide standards which are in line with Transport for London’s standards.  The guide is also being used by some housing officers.

29.  Surfacing materials across the city are still a little mixed between slabs, tarmac, resin bound gravel and other porous surfaces.


27.  Cityparks continue to work on large scale projects with officers in Estates, and transport to deliver integrated design solutions.

28.  New bench tender to be commissioned in 2021/22 valued at over £100,000 worth of benches for the city. Anyone will be able to sleep on them if they choose.

29.  Need to reduce the use of paving slabs in parks to minimise where weeds between the gaps joins.


30.  Seek to apply the councils volunteering strategy into Cityparks to create an appropriately resources sustainable quality volunteering experience for residents and visitors.

30.  Worked closely with communities’ team and Community Works to develop Volunteering Plus website in 2018.  Worked closely with the City in Bloom and others to guide the creation of the Green spaces Forum. A service created to be the go between for Friend s of Parks group wanting to talk with Cityparks.  The forum has been so successful Cityparks have seen an 80% dropped in inquiries from Friends’ Groups. Worked with multiple Friends Groups across the city to deliver a varied range of interventions such as the Friends of Withdean Park, East Hill Park, St Anne’s Park, Queens Park and many more.


30.   The range service to secure the correct software and electronic equipment so they can monitor their activities further 2021. Work closer with allotment site reps so they feel better supported by Cityparks for their incredible service 2021/22. Develop active Friends of Stanmer Park group to support the management of the estate like is achieved at a National Trust site. The development of a volunteering programme linked with GP clinics for social prescribing 2022/23.

Delivery Models and Resources


Policies Summarised

What have we done so far (2017-2020)?

What’s next 2020 -2023?

Parks Foundation


31.  No policy

31.  On hold due to capacity and potential costs of overheads against potential to raise money.


31.  Could be revisited when there is additional capacity and improved economy.

Parks Trusts

32.  Citywide Parks Trust of Individual Parks Trust

32.  Discontinued

32.  Discontinued

Sponsorship Advertising and donations

33.  As part of 2020 financial strategy to mitigate impact of savings, develop a well-rounded progressive sponsorship and advertising initiative.


33.  Sponsorship conversations have been limited with few significant opportunities for parks to progress.  However, roundabout sponsorship has continued attracting around £8,000 per year for Cityparks. Cityparks worked with City Transport to look at advertising billboards on their land. The report concluded that there were very few sites of real value. Allotment holders have donated around £5,000 for the last two years towards the service which was a scheme led by the Brighton & Hove Allotment Federation.


33.  Cityparks will continue to look for sponsorship, advertising and donation opportunities through the course of its work.

Development funding

34.  Maximise opportunities to fund opens spaces form developers’ contributions

34.  An extensive programme of section 106 funded projects have been delivered in the last ten years.


34.  The parks projects team is to be expanded to enable the progression the S106  projects more rapidly.  Cityparks will place bids for CIL funds. This came into force from October 5th 2020. Use section 106 to match fund lottery projects for Preston Park or St Nicholas Churchyard.


External funding

35.  Grants and awards

35.  Cityparks continue to apply for and secure small, medium and large awards when it can. Stanmer Park will be our largest sum at £3.5m, but smaller grants have also been secured.


35.  Cityparks are considering undertaking Lottery applications for: St Nicholas churchyard tombstones 2021/23, all of Preston parks historic features, Woodvale cemetery as a park, Queens Park waterfall area and historic features, Tarner parks lookout tower. Potential lottery application needed for the Traditional Agricultural buildings which are now needing significantly more investment to restore 2022/23. If all of the lottery bids were successful, this would be around £10-15m of work to manage.  They are also looking at Historic/Highway England large grant for Stanmer potentially worth several million.


Open Spaces Hire

36.  To support a review of fees and charges for the hire or open space and other commercial activity.


36.  Buildings and spaces for mobile businesses in City Parks are available to rent generating an income towards the maintenance of parks infrastructure . There has been an impact on income level as a result of Covid.



36.  Cityparks are still examining how and if we can charge professional dog walkers and professional fitness trainers that are increasingly using our space commercially.  A previous attempt to do this before the Open Spaces Strategy under a voluntary donation scheme not successful so we will approach this area with caution. Cityparks are looking at temporary mobile food units hiring spaces in parks such as coffee, ice-cream and sandwich bars 2022/23.

Finance and Asset management

37.  Cityparks to work towards full cost recovery, invest to save, adoptions, asset reviews and asset transfers.


37.  Cityparks recently invested £160,000 of section 106 money to bring a café and toilet back to life in Saunders Park, and made the café in Dyke Road Park made fully accessible to wheelchair users for the first time. Both of these schemes generated greater revenues for the council, reduced our ongoing maintenance of toilets and improved the toilet provision for all.  We have been working closely with sports clubs to transfer the management of assets over to them.  At present around £100,000 of savings have been made and a further £150,000 is predicted over the next 24 months.  A traffic regulation order has now been completed for Stanmer Park which will allow Cityparks to charge for parking at our largest park for the first time.  This is the backbone to the 7 million pound restoration investment that is taking place at Stanmer and anticipates to see an annual income of £600,000 per year from car parking.  To achieve this, the current 300,000 car visits per year would need to pay on average £2 per visit. Cityparks have been working with the estates Team and housing to identify any small-scale development opportunities in our parks typically of disused buildings.


37.  The ongoing transfer of sports assets to sports clubs will continue over the next three years. We are exploring the options of introducing car parking charges in more ty parks to assist in paying for the growing infrastructure cost and investment required such as playgrounds and tree planting. Cityparks have identified at least five café owners where we could take the same approach as Dyke Road park and transfer the maintenance of toilets to the owner, increase their floor space, increase their rent and invest our section 106 money to create a stronger quality business offer for the public.

Partnership and Collaboration

38.  Build more formal partnerships with the private, public and third sector organisations

38.  At Stanmer Park we are building a formal relationship with Plumpton college as part of the restoration project.  Cityparks are building a relationships with other organisations who are have an interest in having a presence in our City Parks.  We are working with the south Downs National Park Authority and Highway England to implement 1.8 million pound wildlife scheme in Wild Park. Our rights of Way officer are working with the South Downs and National Trust to improve links through the downs. We are working with the Forestry Commission to manage the Woodland at Stanmer park and have approach the Sussex Wildlife Trust and RSPB regarding our section 106 planting programme.


38.  At Stanmer Park we are seeking to work with 5-10 local schools to carve tree truck into seating depicting the wildlife and heritage of Stanmer. As above we will be working with around 5 cafes to develop their premises in partnerships.  This could also lead to potentially new revenue streams for parks 2021/23. We continue to build stronger relationships with active Friends groups and support them in raising money for our parks.  We hope to work closer with GP clinics to promote social prescribing. We look forward to a clear stronger working relationship with the Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation, we will continue to work with friend groups to deliver wildlife enhancing schemes across the city, we will work with the Plant Your Postcode organisation to increase tree planting in the city,  we will tender large contracts for playgrounds, gate, benches, planting, paths etc. which should provide us with competitive rate s and new longer term partnership with suppliers and service providers, we will work closer with the Green Spaces forum who have done an excellent job in supporting Friends of Parks over the last 3 years.