Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C


Clare: Town council votes unanimously to take over Clare Country Park after improved Suffolk County Council offer

22:07 13 August 2014

Clare Country Park

Clare Country Park


A west Suffolk park is back in the hands of the community after a last-minute intervention from Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee sealed the deal.


Clare Town Council voted unanimously tonight to take control of Clare Country Park from the county council, bringing an end to four years of wrangling between the two authorities.

Suffolk County Council (SCC) wanted to transfer the park back to the community and, as of last week, had offered the town council £230,000 to set them on their way - well below Clare’s valuation.

However, having attended a packed public meeting in Clare last week, Mr Bee managed to squeeze an additional £87,500 from the SCC coffers, with the overall £317,500 offer enough to convince the town council.

Keith Haisman, who has led the negotiation on Clare’s side, said: “I think it’s a significant improvement. I don’t think there’s anybody who could say this is not a fair and reasonable offer.”

The deal will see £230,000 paid up front, with payments of £50,000, £25,000 and £12,500 to follow over the next three years for the park to be run locally.

The town’s county councillor Mary Evans, who drew praise for her role in the negotiations, said: “I am delighted that Clare Town Council has accepted this very generous offer from Suffolk County Council.

“I have long believed the people of Clare, and not the county council, are the best people to run the park, as they know and cherish it.

“This funding package enables the trustees to take on the park and make a great success of running it on behalf of the people of Clare – I wish them every success.”

A board of trustees, headed by Geoffrey Bray, will now be set up to manage the park.

Those involved are confident of securing a seven-figure sum from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help fund the park’s renovation, while Mr Bray is targeting at least £32,000 a year from fundraising.

More than 80 people have already put their names down as volunteers.

Mr Bray said: “It’s not going to make it easy, but it’s going to make it a lot easier, this offer, I don’t think there’s any question about that.

“I think we can make a real go at it and I’m fully confident we can.”

The park contains the remains of a 13th Century stone castle keep and an old railway station, and is a popular spot for tourists.

The deal is the largest settlement SCC has ever offered for the transfer of an asset back to the community.

Had Clare rejected the deal, SCC had said it would invest a minimal amount in the park, only ensuring it complied with health and safety regulations.

SCC was also expected to raise the car parking charges and possibly sell the old station master’s house.



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Former Ipswich Town manager Sir Bobby Robson

Tonight sees the close of this year’s Sir Bobby Robson online auction which is predicted to raise more than £100,000 for charity.

Ipswich Crown Court.

A 67-year-old west Suffolk garage owner who sexually assaulted and raped three schoolgirls more than 25 years ago has been jailed for 19 years.

Some of the UCS Choir members who will be appearing on Songs of Praise on television

University Campus Suffolk’s new choir is to appear on BBC Songs of Praise

Felixstowe mayor Doreen Savage switches on the lights helped by Elise Gorski, Peggy Osborne, and Ash and Lila Tadjrishi.

It’s a problem faced by millions of families across the country every year.

Domestic violence reports increase

Domestic violence reports soared by 12% in Suffolk last year with more than 2,000 recorded incidents involving male victims, police have said.

The close-knit Smith family in 2006: Matt, Wendy, Nikki and Barry

It can be upsetting and lonely having a child with a disability, but Wendy Smith would rather shout about the many positives. Steven Russell hears how love and kindness trumps any anger and bitterness

Woman conned by bogus caller (Stock photo)

A Hadleigh woman who lost £2,500 in a police scam has warned others to be alert to the crime.

Members of the nursing team at Ipswich Hospital.

Carers and visitors of people being looked after at Ipswich Hospital will next month be able to spend more time with patients as new extended visiting hours are introduced.

She was last seen in the area of Downside Close in Ipswich.

A woman reported missing to police on Saturday has been found safe and well following a public appeal.

Part of Sue Brooks' photograph of pupils and staff at Fonnereau House School, Ipswich, in 1952. Are you in the picture?

I recently asked readers if they had memories of Fonnereau House School, Ipswich, which was in Fonnereau Road, close to High Street.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the Ipswich Star e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24