The Herald is today carrying a story titled:

“Warning lack of investment putting public parks at risk”

At the heart of the story is a report by the Heritage Lottery Fund – State of UK Public Parks 2014.

The report is lengthy but there is a clear narrative in the conclusion and the associated press association copy:

“In addition to calling for continued investment by local authorities, the report also highlights the need for developing new ways of looking after and funding parks.” Press Association

New finance models and rethinking delivery
The future health and vitality of parks services will be dependent on developing new business models for management to complement those that currently exist.” State of UK Public Parks 2014 Conclusion

This is the second story pushing a parks-in-crisis narrative in as many months. The recent Evening Times article – City in cash plea to public to help parks – had its roots in a report for Nesta titled “Rethinking Parks – Exploring New Business Models for Parks in the 21st Century”.

Concerns that these reports are driven by the commercial interests that stand to gain most from the privatisation of public parks are shared in some in the comments following the Guardian’s story:

“There is an agenda behind this morning’s coverage on the BBC. Drew Bennellick was inviting “private investment”… and we know where that heads.

1: Invent a crisis
2: Cure it with a ‘private investment opportunity’”

This strategy (crisis narrative followed by market-based-solution) – a well-known lobbying/PR technique – has been used to considerable effect in the push to privatise the NHS in England:

“For the entire length of 2013, the NHS came under relentless attack on grounds of “quality” by politicians and the right-wing press, driving the privatisation agenda.” The Guardian

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