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  • Announcement to commercialise Lee Valley sporting and leisure venues will cut reliance on London taxpayers
  • Visitors from Hounslow have to fork out £39.45 per visit while Waltham Forest visitors pay just 60p
  • Lee Valley Park Authority should now set profit targets and become fully self-financing so investment can be protected for local parks

The Lee Valley Park Authority has announced plans to cut the money it takes from London taxpayers, by commercialising its major sporting and leisure venues, thereby increasing revenue from these assets.

The development comes following publication of the report, “London’s Hidden Charge: Ending the Lee Valley Tax”. The key recommendation is for the park to make more money from its assets and facilities, which for many years have been running at a loss. The report’s ultimate aim is for the park to become self-financing and ending its reliance on local taxpayers.

Author of the report, Conservative London Assembly Member, Richard Tracey, is now urging park bosses to set profit targets for the park’s facilities, and work more closely with local business, charities and community groups to make use of valuable expertise and fundraising opportunities.

Based on 2011/12 visitor figures, people visiting the park from Hounslow have to fork out £39.45 per visit, Sutton residents pay £23.55, while visitors from Waltham Forest pay just 60p.

Richard Tracey:

Richard-opinion“I welcome the Lee Valley Park management team making a commitment to run their facilities on a proper commercial basis. However, it is entirely reasonable for them to work up a business plan that means they no longer need to take £8.5million from London boroughs. If the park raised an extra £2.56 from each of its 4.7 million annual visitors, it would not need to rely on public funding at all. This cash could then be spent on local green spaces and sports facilities, such as the new park that is being developed in south London’s Wandle Valley. When both central government and local authorities have to ensure that everything they do wipes its own face, Lee Valley must do the same.”

Under a 1966 Act of Parliament, councils across London, Hertfordshire and Essex have to pay an annual levy towards the Lee Valley Park, which is mainly based in north east London.