Suffolk: Brecks Partnership to dissolve

breckland scene by Nick Ford

breckland scene by Nick Ford - Credit: Archant

A partnership that has brought millions of funding to Suffolk and Norfolk and helped establish the Brecks as one of the region’s most important wildlife sites is to be dissolved.

The Brecks Partnership will stop operating from next March after financial backing from local and county authorities in Norfolk were withdrawn, leaving Suffolk County Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council as core funders.

Although Suffolk leaders said they ‘remain committed’ to projects spearheaded by the partnership, there are fears that the dissolution could create a vacuum in The Brecks.

Speaking after decision, Neil Featherstone, partnership manager, said the dissolution would leave a vacuum in the Brecks. He added: “I am more than a little frustrated but this has been coming for a long time. There’s a general feeling that the Brecks is neglected and what we did was give the area a national profile,”

The move comes despite successful projects, including the raising of £3.3m for rural development projects, instigating a biodiversity survey established the Brecks as one of the country’s nature hotspots, and helping to bring in £213m in tourism revenue.

However the Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership Scheme, which is in the process of bidding for £2.1m of Heritage Lottery funding, will continue.

Lisa Chambers, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council and partnership chair, said the decision had been difficult.

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She added: “The brighter picture is the Breaking New Ground project, which will be there to support both Norfolk and Suffolk projects in the Brecks, if we are lucky enough to get funding for that.”