Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Department for Culture, Media and Sport in response to oral evidence session 16 October 2001 (PPG 24)


  At its hearing on 16 October, the Committee requested further information on local cultural strategies and in particular how many local authorities have such strategies, the extent to which parks, open spaces, sport and recreation were included in local cultural strategies and some examples.


  The Department issued guidance "Creating Opportunities" giving strong encouragement to Local Authorities to develop Local Cultural Strategies by the end of 2002.

  These strategies will help local authorities to express their own cultural visions and priorities in response to the needs and aspirations of local communities. They will provide a strategic overview, recognising the role of cultural services in tackling the wider objectives of social inclusion, regeneration, lifelong learning and healthier and safer communities.

  In terms of scope "culture" has a wide inclusive meaning. The guidance states that "`Culture' should be taken to include such activities as arts, sports, libraries, museums, heritage, archaeology, archives, architecture, crafts, children's play, reading parks, tourism, countryside recreation etc."


  The existence of a local cultural strategy is a Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI). The definition for the indicator is that the strategy should accord with the Department's guidance covering the wide range of cultural services indicated above.

  The returns for the BVPI 2000-01 indicated that 22 per cent of local authorities had completed their strategy and therefore those strategies should include consideration of sports, parks and open spaces.

  Many more local authorities are currently developing their local cultural strategies to meet the end of 2002 deadline. In a survey undertaken in January 2000, 242 authorities indicated that they were developing a local cultural strategy.


  The Department has not asked local authorities to forward copies of their local cultural strategy when published, but has seen a number. Examples from the strategies of Hounslow, Wigan, Nottinghamshire and Newham are attached at Annex A giving an indication of how sport, parks and open spaces are included.


  The Local Cultural Strategy must link with other plans and strategies as well as the strategies of partner agencies. One way many cultural strategies are achieving this is by taking a thematic approach, addressing non sectoral issues such as social inclusion, young people, healthy living and life long learning.

  The general relationship is likely to be an iterative one where the local cultural strategy informs and impacts on other strategies and which then in turn, inform and impact on future reviews of the local cultural strategy. The strategy is not set in stone and should be a "living" document. This is necessary as strategies develop at different paces.

  Where a partnership approach has been used to develop an area's local cultural strategy this should provide a group which can influence and advise the Local Strategic Partnership.

October 2001



  Newham's local cultural strategy "Reasons to be Cheerful" is a thematic strategy based on themes of the Council's corporate plan to be delivered through partnerships. The strategy sets out the ways in which culture contributes to the Council's vision for 2010 to make Newham a place where people choose to live and work. Examples of objectives/actions for sports, parks and open spaces from the action plan are as follows:

    —  to create a critical mass of sporting and leisure activity of regional significance in and around the Royal Docks; and

    —  review waterside access issues for walking, cycling, informal creation etc.


  Hounslow's local cultural strategy "Creating our Future Together" is a thematic and geographic based strategy, built on partnerships. It links with other council action plans on regeneration, community development, health improvement, lifelong learning, social inclusion, community safety, transport and sustainability. The strategy sets out objectives and actions within geographic areas linking them to the themes, indicating the partners involved and sets milestones. Examples of objectives/actions for sport, parks and open spaces are as follows:

    —  for regeneration—to ensure that the existing cultural provision in the Borough receives investment and improvement to meet the needs of the Borough residents by working with major public, voluntary and commercial organisations. This will include specific proposals for the redevelopment of libraries at Feltham, Heston and Chiswick, improvements to community facilities in Heston and Isleworth, new recreation buildings at Heston, commercial health suites at Feltham, Hounslow and Chiswick and new or improved parks and accessible open spaces such as Heston Park, Chiswick House Grounds and Gunnersbury Park;

    —  for health—to provide information and interpretation material for the Borough's parks and green chains to encourage walking; and

    —  for lifelong learning—in partnership with private sector business to extend the interpretation and information regarding the borough's open spaces, museums and heritage, utilising where appropriate volunteers such as the Hounslow Heritage Guides.


  Wigan's local cultural strategy "Northern Soul" incorporates a cultural charter for Wigan with six strategic priorities, based on increasing participation, access to information and enhanced communication, best use of exiting facilities and development of new ones, promoting the role of culture in personal development and community regeneration, developing a positive image for the borough, and focussing on the needs and aspirations of young people. Examples of objectives/actions for sports, parks and open spaces from the action plan are as follows:

    —  Increasing participation—develop innovative approaches to the development of cultural and sporting activities in areas of deprivation. Help people to get discounts at local sport, recreation and leisure facilities. Develop a Disability Sports Forum.

    —  Improve/new Facilities—development of new sports facilities in Leigh. Development of a parks strategy.


  The strategy for Nottinghamshire "Buiilding on Success" was developed through a consortium approach for the county, the city and all district authorities. It is thematic based around objectives for economic and social regeneration, life long learing, environmental sustainability and the development of physically and intellectually healthy communities. Examples of objectives/actions for sport, parks and open spaces are as follows:

    —  for environmental sustainability—to regenerate urban parks and country parks as cultural centres;

    —  for economic regeneration—to maximise the potential of the County's history and culture for tourism. To revise the county tourism plan and develop and implement a strategy for environmentally friendly tourism eg walking, horse riding, rambling and cycling.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 18 February 2002