Parks will be removed from the control of councils and run by charities under plans backed by the National Trust to stop them closing and falling into disrepair.
Earlier this year MPs warned that parks risked returning to the neglect of the Eighties and Nineties because of budget cuts, with many facing the threat of closure.
As a result local authorities are considering plans to fund the maintenance of parks through charitable donations in order to keep them up and running.
Newcastle City Council is the first local authority in the country to consider handing over its public parks to someone else to run.
The proposals being pursued in Newcastle, which come in the face of cuts to the council’s park budget of more than 90% over seven years, could be adopted by cash-strapped councils elsewhere.
A charitable trust set up with the sole purpose of running the parks would be free to pursue sources of funding that are not available to a local authority while the council would retain ownership of all of the sites.
The National Trust has been advising on the plans while a £237,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop them was awarded on the basis that the findings would be made available to other local authorities that might want to do something similar.