Green light is given by council for new community park plan

A PLAN to set up a body to oversee Combe Valley Countryside Park has been given the green light.

At a meeting of the council’s Cabinet on Monday (March 31), members agreed to explore the idea of launching a community interest company.

Cllr Emily Westley, the council’s lead member for leisure, who is also the Combe Valley Countryside Park’s management board’s chairman, said: “The future of local authorities’ funding for the park is becoming uncertain, so we need to develop plans which reduce the park’s dependence on this.

“In 2013 the park’s management board appointed Groundwork Trust to develop options for the future management of the park. This work was paid for by Groundwork Trust, which has drafted a new ‘master plan’ for developing activities in the park.

“This will form the basis for seeking grants as well as creating new assets within the park, such as a visitor centre which can then help produce further income.

“Groundwork Trust outlined three options that were available, and recommended the formation of a community interest company as the most effective way of taking the management of the park going forward.

“This is relatively straightforward and cost-effective to set up and run, gives flexibility, and allows us to safeguard funding and other assets.

“The aim is for the company to be self-funding from next year.”