Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 14°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Clare: Confusion over future of country park

11:14 14 May 2014

Clare Country Park

Clare Country Park

Archant

The future of a picturesque west Suffolk park remains in doubt after it was claimed there were still “some uncertainties” to overcome before a deal can be reached.

Clare Town Council has been negotiating with Suffolk County Council for years about taking over Clare Country Park, with the county council submitting its latest prospective deal in the past few days.

The town council will be handed a lump sum to take over the park’s ownership and maintenance, although town council chairman Keith Haisman said it would have to “go back and clear up some uncertainties” before any deal could be struck.

It comes after accusations of double standards against Suffolk County Council over Brandon Country Park.

The county council performed a U-turn over the park last year, deciding to continue managing it despite initially trying to pass it on – leaving many in Clare wondering why the county cannot keep Clare’s country park on its books.

A council spokesman last night said handing over the parks “was a case-by-case process”, and that retaining Brandon was found to be “cheaper and more efficient” for the council.

It marks the latest twist in the saga that has been ongoing since 2010 and involved councils, groups from Clare as well as the National Trust and English Heritage.

Mr Haisman said: “We’ve got the right headings, but we’re not sure if the numbers are right – we’ll have to go back and clear up some uncertainties.”

The 38-acre park housesClare Castle, more than 1,000 trees, footpaths, railway bridges and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery.

Mr Haisman also told last week’s annual town meeting the council was preparing a bid for a “seven-figure” sum from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

About Brandon, he added: “Between some arrangement between Suffolk County Council and Forest Heath, West Suffolk, they seem to have a nice, brand new country park. That’s what’s happening in Brandon, and we put the question ‘if Brandon, why not Clare?’ We had a bit of an answer, but not satisfactory. It remains a bit of an issue for the town council.”

Talks between Brandon Town Council and Suffolk County Council over Brandon’s country park broke down in December 2012, with Suffolk County Council now owning and running the site, supported financially by Forest Heath.

A spokesman from Suffolk County Council said: “When we went through the divestment process for Suffolk County Council-owned parks and picnic sites, this was not a cut-and-dry approach, we took each site into consideration when deciding its future. This was a case-by-case process.

During the divestment process and after looking into Brandon Country Park, it worked out cheaper and more efficient for us to keep ownership of the site than to hand it over to anyone else.”

Mr Haisman said he hoped a public consultation would be launched 
about the proposals within the next month.

1 comment

  • Suffolk County Council pushed Long Melford into accepting all the costs to run Rodbridge park. Now their parish chairman Peter Turner says running the park is "a struggle." Negotiations with SCC in Ipswich are very one-sided, they have millions to spend on legal resources when parish councils struggle to find a few thousand pounds to pay for expert advice.

    Report this comment

    Steve Kimminau

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The Freeport Braintree retail complex

A multi-million pound proposal has been put forward to expand a mid-Essex shopping centre creating up to 100 new jobs.

Part of the illegal shipment of cigarettes discovered at the Port of Felixstowe by Border Force officials.

Border Force officers have foiled the biggest ever attempt to smuggle cigarettes into the UK after uncovering more than 11million cigarettes at the Port of Felixstowe.

Flossie the bunny, who got separated from its owner at Stansted Airport

Staff at Stansted Airport have taken to social media in an attempt to reunite a lost toy bunny with its owner.

Earl Soham. Credit: Mike Page.

Owners of an east Suffolk business centre are looking to convert some of its older buildings into residential use – while finding new sites for those being displaced.

Officers have issued a photograph of a man they would like to speak to following an alleged assault, which took place in woodland in Bentley last month. Pic: Suffolk Constabulary.

A man in his 70s was assaulted by a group of men riding trail bikes in an area of woodland in Suffolk.

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock, minister of state responsible for digital policy, gave a talk on broadcasting at the Radio Academy’s Radio Festival at the British Library in London. Pic: Matthew Hancock.

A Suffolk MP delivered a masterclass in public speaking today by refusing to be distracted by a bizarre distraction at a radio industry conference.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24