Letter: Neglected parks

Sir: Your article on the report of the Commons sub-committee on the environment ("Britain's parks suffering from `terrible neglect' ", 6 November) gave the impression that English Heritage was responsible for the problems of England's public parks and that this was because it had not included them in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Public parks and gardens are not under-represented on the register. There are around 5,000 public parks in the UK, of which 162 are on our register, which only covers England. This is not dissimilar to the proportion of listed buildings.

English Heritage has seven staff constantly reviewing the register, upgrading and adding parks where suitable. This compares with 11 staff undertaking the same task on listed buildings. Given more resources, we could, of course, complete both tasks more quickly. As well as including the most historically significant parks in the register, we help local authorities draw up management plans, offer grant aid and were instrumental in persuading the Heritage Lottery Fund to set up its Urban Parks Programme.

England's public parks are suffering from a generation of under-funding and neglect by the local authorities. We will continue to assist whenever we can.

Sir JOCELYN STEVENS

Chairman, English Heritage

London W1

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