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Council looks to sell Country Park

Published: Tuesday 5th December 2017 at 15:30

Council looks to sell Country Park

Suffolk County Council are looking to sell Brandon Country Park to a third party in order to save the council running costs of £50,000 per annum.

At a meeting on Tuesday 5th December at SCC it was decided that they will look into the possibility of transferring the lease subject to the following terms:

  • Commitment to ongoing use of the site as a Country Park, in the longterm.
  • Provision of a range of events for all members of the community.
  • Use of the Engine House (a newly restored pumphouse building in thepark) as a community/volunteer facility, as well use for corporatebookings, and to meet requirements of the Forestry Commission lease.
  • Ensuring access to the park for vulnerable & under-represented groupse)Support public health objectives around exercise and healthy eating.

Suffolk County Council have said "Following divestment of the Council’s other countryside recreation sites and Country Parks, Brandon Country Park is now the last of the Council's Country Parks to bemanaged in-house.

"This means the Council's costs, in managing Brandon Country Park, are relatively high, as the Council no longer has a number of Country Parks and countryside recreation sites, across which the Council can share management costs and enjoy economies of scale.

"As such the Council has a park manager and park team in place to only cover this one site. The net council budget for running the park is £50,000 per annum (down from £74,000 in 2014/15).

"In a time of austerity, it is important for the Council to focus finance and staff on core priorities and for the Natural & Historic Environment team, as part of the Strategic Development division, the focus is Inclusive Growth. Other more local organisations, with portfolios of similar sites, are better placed to manage the Country Park and provide an improved more locally-accountable service."

No final decision has yet been made to sell Brandon Country Park and this decision will only be made once the viability of such a plan has been looked into further.

Victor Lukaniuk, Suffolk County Councillor for Brandon, told BrandonSuffolk.com "I attended meetings Monday and Tuesday this week regarding the sale of Brandon Country Park, I was seeking assurances that the Park will continue in the present format so the people of Brandon and beyond can enjoy the present facilities. Suffolk County Council gave me those assurances.

"On the 6th December the Cabinet voted to proceed with the process of finding a buyer for the Park, there will be several months of negotiations before they make a decision and if a suitable buyer is NOT found it will remain in SCC ownership of that I am sure.

"In an ideal world perhaps a more local authority could step forward and purchase the park  which is about 32 acres, this would include the tea rooms and gate lodge.

"If this transpires I will be seeking an assurance that Brandon Country Park remains in public ownership for at least 20 years."

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