Decision on town park

A DECISION on which group will negotiate with Suffolk County Council to secure ownership of Clare Country Park will be made this week.

Clare Town Council and the Clare Country Park Users group presented their bids, which were submitted two weeks ago, to the county council on Tuesday, with a decision expected on Friday.

The users group wants to employ a junior park ranger, based at the park’s station master’s house, while renting out the old station as holiday lets and renovating the goods shed to provide a new railway exhibition and room for community use.

Rental and car parking incomes would pay for the ranger under the group’s plans.

“The buildings would then be looked after from a heritage point of view,” said chairman Mike Graham.

The town council’s proposal would see it take over the freehold of the park’s land and buildings to keep it in public ownership.

It would set up a community trust, which would enter into a management contract with St Edmundsbury Borough Council for the green aspects of the park and use revenue from rents and car parking to pay for maintenance.

It also aims to upgrade the visitor centre so it can be used by community groups, such as the Scouts, and let the station master’s house out to tenants to raise more revenue.

Clare Town Council chairman Keith Haisman said: “Our plans are in keeping with the ethos of the country park and all activities that support it.”