Clare: Decision looms over future of country park
THE future of one of Suffolk’s historic country parks is to be decided this week.
The county council is considering two proposals for the management of Clare Country Park, which contains the remains of a 13th-Century stone castle keep and an old railway station, and is a popular spot for tourists.
The park, set up as a town amenity in 1971, is owned by Suffolk County Council and managed by St Edmundsbury Borough Council. However, because of cuts to its budget, the county has asked for interested groups to some forward with proposals for managing the park to secure its long-term future.
Talks with Clare Parish Council and interested groups have taken place since last November.
Yesterday, Clare Parish Council and the Clare Country Park Users group both presented separate proposals to the county.
The Friends of Clare Country Park – a group set up last year to come up with a management plan – withdrew their bid on Monday following a disagreement with the rival splinter group. A county council spokesman confirmed that two groups had put forward plans, which were now being considered.
He added: “We have received both presentations and we expect to have a decision by the end of the week.”
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Under the town council’s proposal, it would take over the freehold of the park’s buildings to keep it in public ownership.
It would set up a trust which would enter into a contract with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to manage the green areas of the park. Maintenance would be financed by revenue from parking and rents.
The users group wants to employ a park ranger and create a railway exhibition in the station’s old goods shed.