The future of Clare Castle Country Park in the hands of Suffolk residents
From Friday 3 February to Friday 24 February, local people will be able to submit their views and ideas to be considered.
Since November 2010, the county council has been looking to transfer the ownership and running of the park to a community or local organisation. Local residents will have a much greater say over how their services are delivered whilst the county council remains committed to ensuring that the best outcome for the community and the park is reached.
The Steering Group, made up from representatives from Clare Parish Council, Suffolk County Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, the National Trust, English Heritage, Clare Business Society and the Railway Society and the Friends of Clare County Park, has developed three options for the future of the park:
- St Edmundsbury Borough Council to take on the management of the park from the county council for a limited period of time, whilst the county council retains responsibility for buildings and castle remains. The borough council will then take on the ownership for the whole park once a sustainable use for the buildings is established
- St Edmundsbury Borough Council to take on the management of the park from the county council, as described in Option 1, and work with a community group to enable them to take over the running of the park in the longer term
- The community takes on the running and ownership of the park directly from the county council
There will be display boards at the visitor centre on the Clare Castle Country Park site from Friday 3 to Wednesday 15 February which for residents to view the options and proposals. On Wednesday 8 February, from midday, officers will be available in Clare Town Hall to answer any questions about the options proposed.
This will be followed by a public meeting from 6.30pm where Councillor Judy Terry along with councillors from St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Clare Parish Council and the Friends of Clare County Park will be on hand to answer any questions and discuss the proposals in detail. Local residents are invited to attend the meeting to ask any questions they may have.
All proposals for how the park could be run in the future need to be:
- financially self supporting
- ensure continued public access and stewardship of the historic and environment value
- have local support have a clear vision for the future of the park
“Often local solutions are more innovative and better able to meet local needs. As a community or individual, you may have many ideas as to how the park could be run differently in the future and we want to hear these ideas” said Councillor Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Greenest County. “I have been impressed with the level of commitment the community has shown so far through the Steering Group, and the involvement there has been in deciding how the country park could be run in the future. I am eager for this to continue.
She continued; "It's important to me that these assets remain available to the community - and we will continue to be flexible with our approach to ensure that this can happen. We are committed to the park’s long term future and are determined to ensure the park retains its rich and valuable heritage and remains a place that everyone can enjoy.”
All views will be considered in the formal decision making process the county council is required to go through when transferring properties.
Questionnaires, available at the exhibition, can be filled out or people can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01473 264786 or visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/consultations. The deadline for responses is Friday 24 February.