Frequently Asked Questions
This section answers some of the questions we are asked about the land we own and our business in general. If you're looking for the answer to a question about landscaping, vegetation or how we manage our land click here.
1. What areas of the city is The Parks Trust responsible for?
The Trust has 999-year parkland leases on the larger parks and green spaces in Milton Keynes. The freehold belongs to Milton Keynes Council. These areas include: Campbell Park, Ouzel Valley Linear Park, Great Linford Manor Park, Ouse Valley Linear Park, Linford Wood, Howe Park Wood, Shenley Wood, the Loughton Brook, Broughton Brook and Caldecotte Brook Linear Parks, Elfield Park, Stanton Low Park and the canalside broadwalk. The leases require the Trust to keep and maintain these areas for the benefit of the public. No major changes to the leasehold/freehold can be made without the full agreement of both Milton Keynes Council and the Trust.
The Trust also holds leases for parks and play areas within housing estates built since 2010, including Broughton Gate, Oxley Park and Tattenhoe Park. The Trust will take on more parks and play areas in the city’s growth areas, such as Brooklands on the east side of the city and Fairfields and Whitehouse on the west side, as these are developed.
In 2015, the Trust bought the freehold of the Linford Lakes Nature Reserve from Hanson Ltd in order to secure this important wildlife site for the benefit of Milton Keynes.
The main parks we are responsible for are shown on our parkland map.
The Trust also has 999-year leases on most of the city’s 'V' and 'H' grid road corridors; the freehold belongs to Milton Keynes Council. These leases require the Parks Trust to keep and maintain much of the landscaping along the corridors but allows the Council to use any of the land for transportation purposes. Under this arrangement, the Council is responsible for all roads, paths, bridges and underpasses in the corridors, for the grass verges immediately next to the carriageways and for the landscaping on the roundabouts and central reservations. The Parks Trust is responsible for the tree and shrub plantations and any grass areas on the grid road zones further back from the highway verges.
The Trust has 125-year leases on Caldecotte Lake, Willen Lake north and south and Furzton Lake. These leases require The Parks Trust to keep the land around the lakes as parkland and manage its use for recreational purposes. The freeholder of the lakes is Anglian Water who retains responsibility for the flood control structures.
The Trust owns commercial properties in Milton Keynes including some local shopping centres, shops, industrial units, office blocks and miscellaneous properties. The income from renting out these properties helps The Parks Trust pay for the upkeep and maintenance of its parks.
If you need to check whether The Parks Trust owns a particular piece of land please contact us via email@example.com with the location of the land marked on a plan.
2. What areas of the city is the Trust not responsible for?
Generally, the Trust is not responsible for:
- Landscaping in and around housing areas and commercial properties – these areas are usually the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council or the Parish Council or private land owners
- Highway verges alongside roads and landscaping on roundabouts and central reservations. These are the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council as Highway Authority.
- Street trees in Central Milton Keynes and within housing areas. These are usually the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council.
- Tongwell Lake, Mount Farm Lake, Blue Lagoon or Emberton Park. These are the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council.
- Sports pitches (except Campbell Park cricket pitch, Wolverton bowling green, and the football pitches at Tattenhoe Park). Most sports pitches are the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council or the local town or parish council.
- Golf courses
- The Grand Union Canal and towpath. This is the responsibility of the Canal and River Trust
- Some of the land and hedges along the V4 Watling Street (Milton Keynes Council), the land along the A5 (Highways Agency), railway (Network Rail) and the motorway (Highways Agency).
- Most children’s play areas, which are the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council or the local town or parish council. The Trust is responsible for the play area at Willen Lake and those in Broughton Gate, Oxley Park, Tattenhoe Park and Kingsmead South.
3. Can the Trust’s land be sold or built on?
The Trust has a general presumption against selling or building on its parks and highway corridor land. We may occasionally consider disposing of areas under certain circumstances – this is explained in more detail in the Trust’s policy concerning the acquisition, disposal or development of land.
Most of the Trust's land is held on 999-year leases from Milton Keynes Council and the Trust could not sell or develop any of this land without the Council's consent and vice versa. This is additional to any planning consent that would be necessary for any development. The charitable objective of The Parks Trust is to provide, maintain and equip green spaces in and around Milton Keynes. Therefore, if any of our land was ever sold, all of the receipts would have to be spent on furthering that objective.
We believe in working responsibly with local partners and stakeholders to respond to the changing circumstances of different generations in a fast growing and dynamic city. From time to time the Trust is approached about giving up a piece of land. Whenever this happens we follow the process set out in our policy concerning the acquisition, disposal or development of land. Of course, any such development could only occur with the Council's consent as freeholder and with planning permission.
The Trust remains committed to:
- increasing the overall amount of parkland in Milton Keynes and
- ensuring that the quality of the city's green spaces and environment is enhanced over time.
4. How did The Parks Trust acquire its parkland and will it be responsible for more land in the future?
Our original portfolio of parkland and grid roads, covering about 2,000 hectares, was transferred into the Trust’s care via the grant of 999-year leases by the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (the agency that established the new town of Milton Keynes) in 1992 or soon after. Since then, the Trust has acquired, through the grant of 999-year leases, various additional areas of parkland either from the Homes and Communities Agency (which became Homes England in 2018), Milton Keynes Council, or private developers. Today our parks and green spaces extend to about 2,500 hectares.
In most cases, the Trust’s parks and green spaces were established as part of the development of the city, either during its original new town development phase or in relation to subsequent phases of growth in the city’s various expansion areas.
In 2015 the Trust purchased the freehold of the Linford Lakes Nature Reserve from Hanson UK. This was made possible by the Trust selling to Hanson UK, with Milton Keynes Council’s consent, the mineral reserves (sand and gravel) beneath the Trust’s land next to the River Ouse at New Bradwell. The extraction of the mineral reserves from the land at New Bradwell has also enabled a new wetland wildlife area (lake and marshy grassland) to be created at the site, helping to enhance the Ouse Valley Park for biodiversity.
The Trust has been nominated to take new areas of parkland and green space from developers in the city expansion areas on the east, west and south east areas of the city. This nomination is at the discretion of the developers of those areas. We are actively seeking to encourage all developers who are obligated under planning agreements to provide new parks and green spaces in their developments to transfer these areas to The Parks Trust.
5. Will the Trust sell land for house or garden extensions?
Our policy is not to sell land for private house or garden extensions. We believe it is not in the wider interests of the city for the green estate to be sold piecemeal or fragmented in this way.
6. Does the Trust allow memorials in the parks?
Within certain areas of its parks The Parks Trust is happy to consider having benches with plaques on, individual trees and even a specially commissioned piece of artwork in memory of people but we do have a few rules to avoid problems in the future and ensure that our parks are kept looking good and uncluttered:
- In all cases we will want to discuss the requirements with the people wanting to place the memorial.
- We have to agree what type of memorial is to be installed/planted and its precise location.
- We do the installation/planting and recharge the cost.
- We cannot allow people to then decorate or add to the memorial. We appreciate some people want to place favourite cuddly toys, football shirts or even add flowers or plants to their memorial, particularly on special days, but unfortunately, we cannot allow this. Any items placed at the memorial will be removed by our contractors.
Some parks have already reached capacity in the number of benches found within them and you will be advised of this when making your initial enquiry.
7. Who should I report unauthorised encampments to?
If you see any evidence of unauthorised encampments on our land please report this to Milton Keynes using the following online form.
Outdoor Learning related questions
8. Can I book a school trip to your parkland?
We run a range of sessions for school groups. Information and a link to our enquiries and booking system are online. If you cannot find the information you are seeking, please contact the Outdoor Learning Team on 01908 233600 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Schools can also use the Parks Trust land independently, but you will need to contact our events team to arrange a license.
9. Can you give a talk or organise a walk for groups of adults/community groups?
We may be able to offer this. Information and a link to our enquiries system is online. If you cannot find the information you are seeking, please contact the Outdoor Learning Team on 01908 233600 or email: email@example.com
10. Do you work with the Duke of Edinburgh scheme?
We have two youth programmes that can contribute towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
- Youth Explorers is a programme for 11-14 year olds. This can contribute towards the skill section of DofE. More information can be found by clicking here.
- Youth Rangers is a volunteer group for 14-17 year olds. This can contribute towards the volunteering section of DofE but please be aware that this group meets on a monthly basis so you will need to check suitability with your DofE provider. More information can be found by clicking here.
Unfortunately, we do not offer bespoke activities for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme due to the other commitments of the Outdoor Learning Team. If you would like to run your own event for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme on Parks Trust land, please see our information on hosting an event in our parks.
11. Do you offer work experience placements?
Unfortunately, no. We are not able to offer this due to the other commitments of the Outdoor Learning team.
12. Do you run sessions/ can we book for Birthday Parties?
Unfortunately, no. We are not able to offer this due to the other commitments of the Outdoor Learning team.
Volunteering related questions
13. How can I volunteer?
The Parks Trust has a flexible and varied volunteering programme with many roles to suit your interests and experience. Depending on your time and availability we can find an opportunity for you. We provide uniform, equipment, training and travel expenses to all our volunteers with several ‘thank you’ events throughout the year. For more information on our volunteering opportunities please visit the dedicated volunteering section on our website.
14. Where can I volunteer?
The type of chosen volunteering activity impacts the parkland you can volunteer at. Our Ranger role is the most flexible role should you want to visit different locations each time. Please see the various volunteering roles in our dedicated section for more information.
15. When can I volunteer?
Although our roles are fairly flexible, it largely depends on the type of activity you are interested in. Please see the various volunteering roles in our dedicated section for more information and to register your interest. You will be invited to an initial induction meeting with our Volunteer Co-ordinator to establish your role, any further training and site inductions necessary before volunteering.
16. Corporate Volunteering – How can my organisation get involved?
We have various groups task from litter picking that can be undertaken all year round to Himalayan balsam bashing in a short summer window. Please visit the corporate volunteering page for the types of activities we offer and how you can get involved.
Events related questions
17. Can I host my own event in the parks?
We welcome requests for groups, organisations and individuals to host their own event or activity in our parks. Information about hosting events can be found in our Get Involved section or contact the Events Team on firstname.lastname@example.org
18. Do you allow fitness licences to operate in the parks?
Yes, we have numerous fitness licensees operating in several of our parks. For information see our licenses area.