The Parks Trust model
The Parks Trust, formerly known as Milton Keynes Parks Trust, was established by the Milton Keynes Development Corporation to own and manage, in perpetuity, the strategic open space in Milton Keynes. It took a 999 year lease of 4,500 acres and at the same time was given an endowment of around £20m. The endowment was mainly in the form of commercial property in Milton Keynes and the rental income is used to fund the Trust. Since then some of that property has been sold and other assets acquired both in Milton Keynes and elsewhere, to ensure that the Trust does not have all its ‘eggs in one basket’.
The Trust was established with a steering group in 1991 which became the Board when the company was incorporated in 1992. The chair of the steering group was John Duggan the managing director of a major property company who lived in Milton Keynes. The first Chief Executive was Brian Salter who played a major part in the establishment of the Trust. Brian, along with a number of the Trust’s early staff, transferred across from the Development Corporation. He led the Trust until his retirement in 2003 when he was succeeded by David Foster.
The Trust’s green estate now comprises around 6,000 acres of parks, meadows, river valleys, woodlands, lakes and the landscaped corridors which run along the main grid roads– about 25 percent of the new city area. As the city has continued to grow, new parks and open spaces are being established and transferred to the Trust with an endowment. The endowment sum that is required is the capital sum that we need to invest to generate the annual income to cover the maintenance costs each year in perpetuity.
The Trust is committed to maintaining its green estate to a high standard and to continually improve its quality. Many of the parks were built with the intention that facilities such as toilets, cafés and play areas would be introduced at a later date and over time the Trust is ambitious to provide such facilities and services.
It was always envisaged by the Development Corporation, that Milton Keynes would continue to grow and that the green estate would need to change and at times be reconfigured as the city evolved. A key part of the planning right from the start was to build in flexibility and make the city ‘future proof’ as far as it was possible to do so – the wide grid road corridors are an example of that thinking. The Trust considers that it has a responsibility to respond to changing circumstances of different generations and civic and national priorities and to help the city develop and grow.
For information on the Trust's latest accounts please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.