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Forest Heath will buy country park

Published: Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 10:00

Forest Heath will buy country park

At a meeting last night Forest Heath District Council voted in agreement to purchase Brandon Country Park from Suffolk County Council.

The 32 acre country park, which sees around 175,000 visitors a year, is currently managed by Suffolk County Council with £20,000 funding provided by Forest Heath.

Back in December Suffolk County Council agreed to 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 long term.
  • Provision of a range of events for all members of the community.
  • Use of the Engine House (a newly restored pumphouse building in the park) 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 groups
  • Support public health objectives around exercise and healthy eating

FHDC will pay £1 for the park but will take over the ownership and running which currently costs £50,000 a year. To help the transition Suffolk County Council will pay £25,000 for a year after ownership is transferred.

Victor Lukaniuk, county, district and town councillor for Brandon, said he did not expect members of the public to see any significant changes to the way the park is run due to this change of ownership.

Councillor Andy Drummond, Portfolio Holder for Leisure & 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 Brandon 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."

Forest Heath District Councillor 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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