How is Lee Valley Regional Park Authority Funded?
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) is an independent statutory public body established by an Act of Parliament to run the 10,000 acre, 26 mile long Lee Valley Regional Park which stretches from the River Thames, through inner London and Essex to Hertfordshire.
The park comprises a unique mix of London 2012 legacy venues, heritage sites, places for cycling, walking, ice skating, horse riding, nature reserves, wide open spaces and riverside trails.
The Authority is community focused and commercially driven, generates over 60% of its £29 million expenditure by its own commercial and investment activities, maximising a range of opportunities in order to lessen the demand on council tax payers.
The rest comes from a levy on council tax payers in Greater London, Essex and Hertfordshire – which equates to 88p per person per year. The ceiling for the levy is determined by a formula set out in “The Levying Bodies (General) Regulations 1992” which is adjusted annually to account for inflation.
The levy helps to keep Lee Valley Regional Park’s parklands free and maintained to a high standard and its venues as accessible as possible. It also ensures that the park remains a regional attraction offering unique mixture of nature, sport and leisure facilities to the people of London, Essex and Hertfordshire and beyond. Each year it hosts 500 local, regional and national events and attracts seven million visits. Around 80% of visitors are from London, Essex and Hertfordshire, with the remainder from other places both nationally and internationally.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority has a statutory remit to develop and preserve leisure, recreation, sport and nature and so the money raised through the levy is directed to assets such as its eight Green Flag winning open spaces, three Green Heritage Sites and four Highly Commended Quest accredited sports venues.
It also helps to fund programmes for schools like the annual School Festivals where children from every London borough, and districts of Essex and Hertfordshire enjoy the chance to participate at the Olympic legacy venues for free.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s Levy Settlement: 2017/18
Following agreement by the Authority’s Executive Committee and the full Authority on 19 January 2017, elected Members drawn from across the region have approved a levy decrease of 6 per cent for 2017/18. This is the seventh consecutive year the levy has reduced and is significantly below the current rate of inflation. The total amount to be raised by the levy for 2017/18 is £10.2 million.
This amounts to 88p per head of population per year in the region (down from 95p in 2016/17). It is 42.9% of the maximum chargeable.
An influencing factor in this year’s Levy settlement has been the recognition that the contributing Authorities are under significant financial pressure and that the Regional Park is an expanding business and a key partner in the delivery of the Olympic legacy, having guaranteed the future of three London 2012 venues worth circa £200 million. These are Lee Valley White Water Centre, Lee Valley VeloPark and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, which are now all open to the public following transformation after the Olympics.
The Authority continues to seek all appropriate opportunities to maximise its commercial income from external sources, existing assets and services. In 2017/18 LVRPA expects to generate a further £18.4 million of revenue income which will offer a vital contribution to ongoing plans to enhance the scope and quality of the facilities and services we offer.
In 2017/18 the estimated gross revenue cost of running services and investing in Authority assets will be £29.4 million. The planned capital investment over the next five years will be £53 million which in itself will attract further external funding as well as creating jobs and opportunities for the wider region that the Authority serves.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s longer-term Levy policy
The Authority has developed a Business Plan for 2016-2019 and vision for the Regional Park as a world class destination for leisure, sport and recreation by 2020. Even though there are significant economic uncertainties going forward the Authority has reduced the levy to 88 pence per head of population in 2017/18 and aspires to reduce the levy in total by 25% over the four year period to 2020/21.