Last say on Clare park and future

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Residents will get the chance to comment on plans to transfer ownership of their historic country park from county to town council next week.

A public meeting is being held at Clare Town Hall on Tuesday night to get householders’ views on the final proposal.

This year, Suffolk County Council is looking to finalise the community ownership of recreation grounds and country parks all over the county, as part of its austerity measures.

The Rodbridge picnic site, now called Melford Country Park, was taken over by Long Melford Parish Council last year. A community interest company called Open Spaces has been set up to run it.

In Clare, the plan is for the change of ownership of the park to take place before the end of March.

Keith Haisman, chairman of Clare Town Council and part of the working group negotiating with the county council, will chair the public meeting.

He said: “We always stated we would bring to a public meeting any proposal agreed in principle with Suffolk County Council for the transfer of the ownership of the park to the town council.

“This is intended to ensure the widest possible discussion of all the issues surrounding the park before entering into any final agreement.”

Proposals include turning the former railway ticket office, waiting room and office into a history and education centre, with the current visitor centre hired out to local groups.

The county council has agreed to carry out a number of repairs before the transfer, and to maintain responsibility for maintaining all the bridges and rights of way routes in the park.

The meeting starts at 7pm.