COUNCILLORS approved an Open Space Strategy in Wrexham as part of biodiversity and decarbonisation plans.
A report into the strategy was deemed a “working progress” by Cllr Hugh Jones (Con), lead member for environment during the Executive Board meeting on Tuesday (December 12).
The strategy sets out the council’s vision and objectives for how they manage, use and protect open space assets now, and in the future.
The report looks at these assets in the context of a climate emergency, community benefit and improving “our physical lived-in environment” according to Cllr Jones.
A public consultation took place in July and August 2023 which Cllr Jones said: “I think it must be the only time that we’ve got at least 86% of the community who are on board in terms of our objectives; either strongly agree or agree with those objectives.”
Key themes identified in the consultation were:
- Improved routes to link open spaces together
- Mental health and well-being benefits of open spaces
- Community engagement, ownership and volunteer opportunities
- Change cutting practices to encourage re-wilding
- Improved Public Rights of Way signage
- Reduce litter in open spaces
- Look at removing fees for parking at Country Parks
- More dog waste bins
He added the report says that “this is the journey” they are on and that it “needs to identify where we need to up our game.”
He mentioned it was “interesting” in the response, saying that “grass cutting is incredibly emotional” and where they used to get complaints about grass not being cut, now some people complain that the grass is being cut.
He said: “It’s an attempt to try and ensure our open spaces are fit for purpose, are appropriate and meet the needs of the local communities.”
He added he was thankful to everyone who took part in the consultation and later said he was pleased to recommend the strategy.
During the debate, an issue was raised by Cllr Dana Davies (Lab) on behalf of Cllr Corin Jarvis (Lab) about the mention of more dog waste bins in the consultation, which has since been confirmed that it won’t be reviewed because of cost, and asked that it be updated in the report and at the public meeting.
Cllr Jones explained that an issue in terms of “specific dog bins is the cost relating to the disposal of the waste and therefore (they) decided not to extend those.”