Plans to secure future of Brandon Country Park backed by councillors

David Falk, Brandon Country Park manager, and staff getting a healthy eating award for the park's Co

David Falk, Brandon Country Park manager, and staff getting a healthy eating award for the park's Copper Beech Tearoom last year. The 32-acre site is set to transfer ownership from the county council to Forest Heath District Council. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Plans to transfer ownership of a major country park in Suffolk – which sees around £175,000 visitors a year – have been backed by councillors.

Brandon Country Park is currently managed by Suffolk County Council with £20,000 of funding provided by Forest Heath District Council.

Both authorities have been in talks over the 32-acre site following the county council’s decision to transfer ownership of its parks and nature reserves to other organisations.

Forest Heath currently manages a range of parks and green spaces including Aspal Close Nature Reserve in Beck Row.

The district council said it sees parks as not only important in supporting the local environment and attracting visitors to the area but as part of its investment in supporting communities keep healthy and active.

The park has a range of walks and cycleways and also hosts a parkrun every week and a regular programme of guided walks and events throughout the year.

The district council will pay £1 for the park but will take over the ownership and running of the country park, which currently costs £50,000 a year.

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The county council will pay £25,000 for a year after ownership is transferred to help ease the transition.

Andy Drummond, portfolio holder for leisure and culture for Forest Heath District Council, said: “I am glad we have been able to work with the county council to secure the future of the country park for our communities.

“Parks are not just important in protecting our local environment and wildlife but vital in improving health and wellbeing. Brandon Country Park sees thousands of visitors each year and is a beautiful area of Forest Heath.”

The park has seen some recent investment from the county council, including significant improvements to the cafe.

David Bowman, portfolio holder for operations, said: “The councils have worked closely together and I was also pleased to hear the initiative has been backed by local Brandon councillors.

“It shows we are often best placed to work with local communities and deliver services such as this. Not only is it good that we can secure this country park but we are now working up a 10-year plan and looking at the further opportunities it brings to improve the offer at this great park.”

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