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Essex regional parks responds after Hillingdon Council paying for more than £200k a year for upkeep

Hillingdon Council and other councils pay hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for the upkeep of a park nearly 40 miles away

The regional park in Essex that is part funded by more than £200,000 a year from Hillingdon Council has responded to recent criticism of the scheme.

Lee Valley Regional Park, nearly 40 miles away from Uxbridge , is funded by cash from all London borough councils and other authorities to act as a “green lung” for London.

Hillingdon Council has come under scrutiny from UKIP for not doing more to stop the payments while they cut funding to children's centres and disabled school children's bus services.

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority has defended the scheme saying that the park is a regional, not local, asset.

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A statement from the authority said: “Lee Valley Regional Park Authority understands the financial pressures facing local authorities.

“In response to this, we have cut the levy paid through council tax, which partly funds our work, for the seventh consecutive year.”

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority runs venues from the London 2012 Olympics(Image: Google Maps)

The authority said the levy is around 88p per person in London per year and that it has been reduced by 6% in 2017/18.

London councils all pay to help maintain the 26-mile, 10,000 acre park on the other side of the capital because of the Lee Valley Regional Park Act 1966.

In 2017/18, Hillingdon Council will pay £255,315 to the park after a payment of £273,625 last year.

The statement from Lee Valley added: “The 10,000 acre park is a regional, not local, asset drawing seven million visits annually from across the levy paying region.

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“We have guaranteed the future of three London 2012 legacy venues for the entire capital, underwriting them and taking on their liabilities in perpetuity.

“Lee Valley VeloPark, Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and Lee Valley White Water Centre are busy, successful venues, continuing to increase their commercial income while at the same time hosting everything from community programmes to major international events.”

The park also said the number of visitors to the park has grown by 50% over the last five years.

UKIP criticised Hillingdon Council for not opposing the payments while cutting public services.

Hillingdon is in the process of cutting its children's centre budget by 41% by 2020, from £3.2million to £1.9million.

This includes the closure of two centres – one in Northwood and one in Hayes – at the end of March.

Leader of the council, Ray Puddifoot , said Hillingdon was a financially efficient borough.

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