Fears for future of Cannock Chase park in council cost-cutting plans
Fears have been raised about the future of Staffordshire’s parks following plans to cut costs.
Staffordshire County Council wants to share management of the region’s parks to save money on maintenance
The plans will be considered at a cabinet meeting next Wednesday after they were tabled by the Conservative-led administration.
Under the proposals, the council would still own the parks and green spaces but maintenance would be handed over.
In total, Staffordshire owns six country parks, nine local amenity sites and three greenways.
The country parks include Cannock Chase in Cannock and Chasewater in Burntwood, while other green spaces include Hanchurch Hills picnic site in Stafford and the Stafford to Newport Greenway.
Councillor Susan Woodward, leader of the opposition Labour group, said : "This comes down to government austerity.
“The county council is a steward of our open areas.
"The council hasn’t got the funding that it used to continue its level of work maintaining our parks.
"The devil will be in the detail and the council will have to look at each applicant on an individual basis. These areas are too precious to fall into disrepair and disuse.”
The council says it has been in dialogue over several years with various user groups and interested parties about how to improve the region’s green spaces in a cost-effective manner.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Our priority is to ensure our country parks and green spaces are well maintained, accessible and able to cope with increasing numbers who use them while retaining the qualities that make them special.
"We are retaining ownership of these sites, but we want to work with organisations to manage them in a financially sustainable way so future generations can enjoy them.”