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 and horse riding, nature reserves, wide open spaces and riverside trails.
The Authority, which has a philosophy of being community focused and commercially driven, generates over half of its £25 million annual funding 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 £0.98 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 near five 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 Lee Valley White Water Centre School Festivals where children from every London borough, and districts of Essex and Hertfordshire enjoyed the chance to raft the Olympic Standard Competition Course for free ahead of the Games.
School Festivals will be run at the Authority’s other two London 2012 venues, giving youngsters from London, Essex and Hertfordshire the chance to try cycling, hockey and tennis for free in world class arenas.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s Levy Settlement: 2015/16
Following agreement by the Authority’s Executive Committee and the full Authority on 22 January 2015, elected Members drawn from across the region have approved a levy decrease of 2 per cent for 2015/16. This is the fifth consecutive year the levy has reduced by this margin and is significantly below the current rate of inflation. The total amount to be raised by the levy for 2015/16 is £11.1 million.
This amounts to £0.98 per head of population per year in the region (down from £1.01 in 2014/15). It is 47.9% of the maximum chargeable.
An influencing factor in this year’s Levy settlement has been a growing recognition 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 facilities and services. In 2015/16 LVRPA expects to generate a further £14 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 2015/16 the estimated gross revenue cost of running services and investing in Authority assets will be £25 million. The planned capital investment over the next five years will be £12.4 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 2013-2016 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 £0.98 pence per head of population.