As an early proponent of urban greenspace and its inherent value for urban living, Newcastle has been a been strong supporter of the Future Parks Accelerator programme, which Greenkeeper is also supporting, since its establishment.
The city’s Parks & Allotments Trust was set up in 2017, to support all greenspace provision, its ongoing enhancement and maintenance, as well as secure future investment to maximise local benefits. As such Greenkeeper was a perfect fit to support these ambitions and generate a clearer understanding of the baseline value being created and was commissioned to deliver a full baseline assessment of the city’s greenspace in late 2019.
Newcastle is an inherently green city with public spaces accounting for 15% of land within their administrative boundary. Countryside parks account for 58% of this greenspace, with principal parks (25%) neighbourhood parks (7%) and allotments (11%) delivering the balance.
The baseline assessment undertaken through Greenkeeper found that across all these spaces, Newcastle currently secures:
£11m visitors per annum
4m of visits are by Newcastle residents
(freq. of visits by av. Resident)
0.9 times per month
(av no of visits per resident)
But Newcastle’s greenspaces benefit a wide community, with 60% of predicted visits being made by people living outside Newcastle.
Having established these baseline visitor numbers, Greenkeeper can then asses the value these spaces are individually and collectively delivering.
£233m per annum
(gross benefits to communities)
£229m of which are health benefits
(physical health and wellbeing)
£21 av. value secured per visit
When looking more closely at the top 10 greenspaces, which secure some 76% of all visits, each is home to average of 6 amenities, including toilets, cafes, playgrounds and sports facilities. Neighbourhood Parks do however account for circa 10% of total greenspace benefits and visits and therefore have a hugely important role to play in delivering greenspace immersion for local residents.
Looking more specifically at environmental features, Newcastle’s greenspaces capture some 1,600 tonnes of CO2 per year, with 70% of this occurring within the Trust’s countryside parks, due to the level of tree cover found here.
But when you look at the return on investment Newcastle’s greenspace trust is securing the story becomes even more compelling:
With all this information in hand, the next step for Newcastle and specifically the Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust is to identify and evaluate how greenspace interventions can achieve their wider objectives as a city. How can investment help achieve greater health value? Where should this investment be targeted to maximise value and reach those communities who are making least use of existing greenspaces? What degree of return on investment may be possible? The offline Greenkeeper services can be used to inform each of these questions and develop a business case and strategic greenspace strategy which maximises the Trust’s opportunities and provides an evidence base to support investment.