The Land Trust Model

Management of green spaces, particularly within residential property developments, is something of a controversial issue. A quick search on Google (or the search engine provider of your choice!) reveals numerous examples of where stewardship arrangements have gone wrong. These issues can be caused by any number of factors but common ones often include poor legal set up, excessive service charges or poor management.

When it does go wrong it has a detrimental impact on these new communities, the mental health and wellbeing of residents and property values.

So how do we make it work? How do we deliver against wider policy aims, treat residents fairly and transparently and deliver added value?

What is the key to our success?

We establish partnerships. With communities. With landowners, developers and local authorities. Working with these stakeholders we identify appropriate solutions for managing our green spaces for the long term and in a way that delivers maximum community impact.

Working with the community and our passionate and hardworking managing partners encourages emotional ownership and a sense of pride in the place where they live.

There are three elements to getting this right:

  • Funding
  • A plan to add value
  • Expertise

Funding can come from a range of different sources. The key for us is to have a long term secure funding stream so that we can have a sustainable plan for how we look after our sites.

  • On multi-phase developments the legal framework should be established before the first land or property sales, otherwise the set up could be unfair to some residents and may not provide adequate funding for all management costs.
  • Long term management should be priced at the design stage so that you know it is going to be affordable for the residents of the new community.
  • Think about the interim build out phase – looking after this space while homes are being developed attracts potential buyers and also helps to build community ownership and deliver wellbeing benefits from the very outset of the project.

You must have a plan to create added value. Delivering the public open spaces is not the end game – the real benefits come from how the spaces are used. We proactively deliver activities on all our sites. Examples of these include parkrun, health walks, Forest Schools, volunteering activities and seasonal events. Our spaces encourage biodiversity net gain and support local understanding of the environment. There can be financial benefit too with our green spaces raising the value of property prices. Our communities also enjoy improvements in their wellbeing.

Getting the right expertise in place is the final piece of the puzzle. Involving communities is at the very heart of what we do and we believe is the quickest way to encourage people to care for and take pride in their local open spaces. However it is crucial that this is married with the skills and expertise of our excellent managing partners. Many of these public open spaces have varied and complex requirements such as SuDS, contaminated land or areas set aside for environmental enhancement or biodiversity. It is unrealistic to expect a community to take ownership and liabilities for these issues which is why the work of our Managing Partners is so valued and important.


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