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Town council accepts extra £87k park offer

Keith Haisman from Clare parish councill are trying to save Clare country park for the town. ENGANL00120120131141457

Keith Haisman from Clare parish councill are trying to save Clare country park for the town. ENGANL00120120131141457

After four years of wrangling Clare Town Council has accepted the financial package made by Suffolk County Council for the town to take over Clare Castle Country Park.

Town councillors voted unanimously last week to accept the county’s offer after it came back with an extra £87,500.

At a public meeting in Clare the previous week, county council leader Mark Bee said it didn’t have any more money to offer above the £230,000 it had already pledged, plus another £30,000 for necessary works at the park.

But the county managed to come up with more – paid over a three-year period, with £50,000 next year, then £25,000, and finally £12,500 for the third year.

One of the town council’s main grievances had been the ‘unfair’ support Suffolk County Council gave to the park compared with Brandon Country Park, which received large annual subsidies.

Clare town councillor Keith Haisman said: “That made the offer fair and reasonable and gives us a good comparison to Brandon in equitable treatment, so it was a fair and unanimous decision.

“I’m guessing the previous offer would have become a split vote.

“I don’t know which way it would have gone but I know it would not have been unanimous, had it gone through it would have been with a heavy heart. This is okay, this is fair.

“We can go in with a good heart and a good spirit and make a go of it.”

The town council also negotiated the removal of a clawback clause, which would have seen the county keep half of proceeds should the railway buildings be sold.

A covenant is being put on the whole park, so everything in it would belong to the people of Clare.

A trustees group to manage the park for the town council will be formally set up and areas of responsibility defined. Town councillors still want St Edmundsbury Council to contribute towards the park from its £1.2m annual parks budget.

 

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